Beat the Heat!

During these hot muggy days of summer we know to drink plenty of water, protect ourselves from too much sun, and avoid over heating that comes from to much exercise or work. If we don't then heat exhaustion or stroke can strike and in some cases cause death! Did you know that excess heat can kill your computer too? In fact over heating is one of the most common causes of computer equipment failure.

Today's modern computer is packed with more and more powerful devices. We all want faster performance and more toys like video cards, 2nd hard drive, sound cards, modems, TV tuners, wireless cards and more. Chip designers like Intel and AMD have also been packing more and more power into smaller and smaller spaces. Hard drives have also gotten physically smaller while storing more data and spinning at higher speeds. Adding all these new features means that more electrical power is needed to run all these devices. All this adds up to more heat being generated by computers than ever before. Computer designers have countered this trend by adding heat sinks (small radiators) and fans of all sizes to keep devices cool. Often a new computer will come with 4 or more fans all busily blowing cool air on sensitive chips, and power supplies.

Problems start when these cooling devices stop working well or are prevented from doing their job. Computer chips can actually melt within minutes of a fan failure! Heat can shorten the life of a hard drive causing it to burn out in under a year.

A computer that quits abruptly with no warning is often the first symptom of a heat related problem. It may start up after "resting" for a while and run fine until "boom" it shuts down again. Too many of these "crashes" and it will finally die for good.

Quick Tip-Bits: Keep your PC clean both inside and out. One of the biggest problems is dust and hair buildup on vents, fans and heat sinks inside the computer. Just like your TV screen your PC will attract dust and a thick blanket of dust can cover everything inside in as little as 6 months! NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to suck dust out of a computer! Vacuums create static electricity and static can kill it quicker than heat! Use compressed air to gently blow dust out of every crack, crevice, and hole.

Don't store your PC in an enclosed space like a cupboard if at all possible. If you must, make sure that there is plenty of room for air to circulate in and around it. It has been reported that overheating computers have started fires inside of cupboards!

Don't cover your PC with papers or devices, or block any of the fans/access holes.

Don't store the PC in direct sunlight or near devices that radiate heat.

PCs love air-conditioning but if that is not possible point a fan directly at the PC while it's in use and avoid using it during the hottest part of the day.

Turn off your PC when you are not using it. This not only lets it cool off but will help keep our planet green and cool as well.

If you feel your PC is suffering from heat stroke call Dean Hancy at PC Bits.

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