TIP: Cool running computer

by DerfX - 5/21/08 4:00 AM

In Reply to: PC Hardware Sticky! ****PLEASE READ**** by ikjadoon

With todays modern processors and high speed, running cool is more important than ever. I found an easy way to drop my processor core temp almost ten degrees and anyone can do it.

I have an Intel P4 3.2 GHz and it ranks as one of the hottest running processors out there at full load. It cranks out a whapping 103 watts of power and you can just imagine what it would be like to put your hand on a 100 watt light bulb after it had been on for a while. Fortunately, Intel uses a throttling mechanism to slow itself down if it gets too hot to help prevent some of the catastrophes you hear about. But still, building this machine required a special case with ducting to allow outside air to be drawn in by the processor fan for optimum cooling. I know many of you will have similar setups even if the system is an off-the-shelf model.

What if figured out was that we dont pay enough attention to just where we place our computers. Mine sits on a shelf beside my desk and is pretty much open all around the front and back. I figured it was getting plenty of fresh air. What is noticed was that near the back of the computer, where several case fans exhaust the computers internal air, a very warm cloud of air was forming when-ever I was using the system extensively. With some investigation, I noticed that it was from this warm cloud that my processor intake was drawing its source of air. If you start out with very warm air, it doesnt matter how fast its moving, its only going to get hotter.

What I did was take some cardboard and some masking tape and designed myself an external duct that I just taped to the side of the computer, over the intake of the processor fan. I made sure the internal area of the duct was plenty big enough to allow for an unimpeded air flow to the processor but it directed the air from out in front of the computer where the air was generally 15 or so degrees cooler than the cloud of air behind the computer. I noticed right away that my CPU temps had dropped dramatically.

Its real easy to tape together some kind of duct that will direct the air any way you want it and maybe more important, just think about where you put your computer. Know that somewhere, usually in back, your computer is going to exhaust a bunch of hot air and you dont want the air your computer is trying to suck in to come from anywhere near that. Just positioning your computer right could make it run a lot smoother and happier and you would be surprised how often just running cooler can correct many speed or crashing problems.