It was a scorcher for all of us here in the UK last week and while we may enjoy soaking up the sun, our PCs do not! At this time of the year, it is more important than ever to keep your computer and its accessories cool.
Your computer contains many components that all generate heat when switched on. But in particular, things like your central processing unit (CPU) and your graphics card can get so hot, they can not only cause damage to the internal parts of your computer, but in worst case scenarios- can cause a fire- and nobody wants a fire to break out in an office full of important stuff!
Prevent pricey repairs with our top tips on keeping your computer cool this summer:
- Keep your computer out of direct sunlight
If your computer is by the window, there’s the possibility of the sun glaring its hot rays on your equipment for extended periods of time. You know what happens to everything that gets left in the sun, it either burns, melts or gets extremely hot to the touch.
The same goes for your PC. It is not invincible, look after it by either closing the blinds or moving it to another area of the room that is out of the direct sunlight.
If you are using your laptop on your knee, on your bed or sofa arm, it is likely that you are blocking the escape of hot air being pushed out by the fans. It is best to have your laptop on a desk- if you’ve noticed under your laptop on each corner there are little rubber raised points, these are designed specifically to raise the laptop from the surface of the desk, to allow the hot air to release without getting trapped.
Desktop computers need breathing room so make sure you give every piece of equipment at least 3 inches of spaces between other devices to aid with the ventilation. Another important point, is not to stack your equipment on top of each other! This goes for computer towers, external hard drives and other accessories. These all get hot enough as it is, without the heat of other devices being transferred.
- Keep the temperature of the room at optimum level
Ideally, you want the room you are working in to be between 21-23 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, you are causing no threat to the internal components of your PC.
Keep in mind that even if you’re not using them, old servers and computers are still generating heat if they’re still plugged in and powered on. Make sure you unplug unneeded equipment to stop unnecessary heat from circulating and consider recycling old equipment if it is causing extra clutter in the office.
- Unplug chargers as soon as the battery is full
You may notice yourself when you have your laptop on charge, that it tends to progressively get hotter- and the same goes for our smartphones.
It is essential to remove the charger once your equipment has full charged. If you don’t then that means more electricity flow to the computer, and considering heat is a natural by-product of electricity, your laptop will just keep getting hotter and hotter.
- Don’t leave your laptop or accessories in warm cars
You wouldn’t leave pets in a vehicle on a hot day and the same goes for leaving laptops in there, too! Laptops and PCs are actually rather delicate machines, and can suffer major problems if they are left to bake at hot temperatures.
Most notably will be the damage to the CPU and also the hard drive, which can expand in the heat and fail. (Not good if all your work is stored on there, because if your hard drive fails you’ve lost all your files). If you absolutely have to leave your laptop in the car, make sure it is out of sight, switched off and in a shaded and dark place.
- Don’t force your computer to work too hard
There are some programs that will strain your PC more than others, generating more heat and eventually causing issues. Running programs for image or movie editing such as Photoshop and CAD suites can be highly intensive. The same goes for the latest 3D games as these are designed to push your hardware to its limits.
If you hear the fan working, that’s perfectly normal. If it’s constantly running at considerable, noisy speed, that’s a sign of overheating. On the flip side, if you don’t hear your fan working, this could actually be the cause of the problem! A broken fan can be the reason your system is too hot, so pay attention to your PC’s performance.
All computers are different in terms of the amount of heat they can handle, AMD and Intel both have maximum temperature ratings for their CPUs listed around 80C. If your CPU gets this hot, you’ve got some serious problems. Most people try and keep the CPU temperature below 40C at idle and below 55C at load.
- Look for dust
A lot of the time, in the land of technology, the cause of a problem can be so much simpler than you would think. Believe it or not, dust is one of the most notorious reasons a PC may be experiencing heat related problems.
There’s a fan on top of the CPU, one inside the power supply, and usually one or more on the front and/or back of the case- so plenty of opportunities for those dust bunnies to cause some havoc. To sort out the problem, just shut down your computer, open up the case, and use canned air to remove the dirt from each fan.
Remember not to use anything that can generate static as this is damaging to all electronics!
If your computer is really dirty, take it outside to clean or all that dirt will just settle elsewhere in the room, and it will eventually makes its way back into your PC.
- Use SSDs
Another great option for controlling heat is to begin replacing traditional hard drives with solid-state drives. Solid-state drives do not contain any moving parts and therefore operate at a cooler temperature than regular hard drives do.
As another important reminder, when it comes to servers, servers should ALWAYS be kept in an air conditioned room at around 16C. Servers are the heart of your entire network. If your server over heats, it is likely that all of your data will go with it- the result of this can be catastrophic.
Don’t ever let your server overheat, and just to make sure you aren’t left in that dire situation, we cannot recommend backing up your data enough, not just for security reasons but for circumstances such as hot summer days without appropriate ventilation.
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