As it gets warmer this spring, your ambient room temperature goes up, too — at least if you have your furnace and AC set to reasonable levels — which means your computer has to work harder to get rid of the heat it produces, so the CPU doesn’t turn into a molten pile of goo. I didn’t know just how stressed my computer was till it started beeping at me as I was getting ready for bed the other night.
I followed my ears to my computer, which was trying to tell me that it wasn’t happy. The widget I run on my desktop said the CPU temperature was 70°C — a little on the warm side. After killing everything that was running, it still was too warm, so I shut it down to worry about it the next day.
The next day after I started up the computer the CPU temperature widget read 48°C — still a bit on the warm side. I popped open the case and noticed about a year’s worth of dust caked on the CPU cooler, not unlike the photo above. I shut down the system again and blew out the case with my trusty can of air. If I’d been thinking I would have done this outside.
After the dust cleared and I could breathe again, I restarted the computer. The CPU temperature now hovered around 32°C. Simply cleaning the dust off the CPU heat sink and from inside the case lowered the temperature by 16°C (29°F)!
The moral of this story is that dusting your computer now and again can make a huge difference in how cool it runs. So be kind to your computer — after all, it’s letting you read Toolmonger right now, isn’t it?
Thanks, eurleif for the great CC-licensed photo!