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Maintenance of a CPU's guts


Vadrosaul
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I negligently left my computer uncleaned for a year. So yesterday my monitor started to glitch on me, distorting the screen whilst I was playing Mass Effect. Hoping it wasn’t the monitor, I cracked open the CPU and beheld the dust bowl that caked the CPU and the vidcard. I blasted those clean using compressed air.

 

After cleaning it of dust thoroughly, I was surprised that not only did the processing run smoother, but the framerate was easily on avg. 5-10 fps greater.

 

Being less technically knowledgeable than an educated computer geek leads me to ask some general maintenance questions:

 

- How often should one clean out their CPU innards?

- Are liquid cooling systems worth the trouble? Are they dangerous should they leak (beyond the obvious water on circuits)?

- How about getting an improved CPU fan. Is that worth the price for the performance improvements it would garner?

- Do any of these options contribute to safely overclocking to higher degrees?

- Are these newer, meatier CPU’s (duals & quads) and vidcards (hamburger sized PCI-E’s) attracting more dust than older models did in the past?

Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!
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(FYI, the term "CPU" should only be used to refer to the processing chip plugged in to the motherboard inside the computer case. When referring to the computer as a whole (but excluding peripherals like monitors, keyboards, mice) I sometimes use the term "box". "Computer" also works. Some people use "hard drive", which is wrong since the hard drive, like the CPU, is a separate component within the box. :) )

 

- How often should one clean out their CPU innards?

Whenever it looks dusty. Maybe once a month. Depends how dusty the room is, too. (My carpet sheds like a woolly mammoth and I used to keep the computer on the floor and not clean the insides for months. I don't necessarily recommend doing that, but it still worked fine, wasn't a big deal.)

 

- Are liquid cooling systems worth the trouble?

No. Unless you can't get the temperature down within the safe operating range, but that should only happen if you overclocked it a heap anyway.

 

- How about getting an improved CPU fan. Is that worth the price for the performance improvements it would garner?

If you're overclocking, sure, it could be. It might also be quieter; stock CPU fans tend to be horrid little buzzy pieces of crap.

 

Personally I've never been bothered. Installing a new CPU fan/heatsink combo generally involves carefully scraping all the thermal paste gunk off the CPU (and then replacing it), which sounds like a pain. Then again, I don't overclock.

 

- Do any of these options contribute to safely overclocking to higher degrees?

Heat can be a major problem when overclocking, so yes it can. You need adequate cooling to keep your CPU in the safe range, and overclocked CPUs generate more heat.

 

OTOH overclocking can also cause instability due to other factors, such as pushing the hardware beyond the specs it was designed for, so you can't necessarily expect to be able to overclock more and more just by adding more and more cooling. Some CPUs have more "headroom" for overclocking than others.

 

- Are these newer, meatier CPU’s (duals & quads) and vidcards (hamburger sized PCI-E’s) attracting more dust than older models did in the past?

Not that I know of.

My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.
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I go through a bunch of cotton swabs every couple months or so, twirling those suckers to nab all the dust wads out of the CPU heatsink, all the fan blades everywhere (including on/in the vid card), etc. It sort of satisfying, in "Gross! Cool!" sort of way.

 

Anything with a fan will gather more dust than average of course, but otherwise newer bigger vid cards may get more dust than older smaller ones but only because they are actually bigger for more dust to gather.

 

(And I call it the "case", or just the "computer", but yeah, never the "CPU" as that is strictly for the main processing chip)

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I'm not very tech savy compared to most of the people on this forum most likely. But I'd say that overclocking is a bad idea. The amount of damage you can cause is not worth it. It would be a better idea to simply buy a completely new cpu.

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I negligently left my computer uncleaned for a year. So yesterday my monitor started to glitch on me, distorting the screen whilst I was playing Mass Effect. Hoping it wasn’t the monitor, I cracked open the CPU and beheld the dust bowl that caked the CPU and the vidcard. I blasted those clean using compressed air.

 

After cleaning it of dust thoroughly, I was surprised that not only did the processing run smoother, but the framerate was easily on avg. 5-10 fps greater.

 

Being less technically knowledgeable than an educated computer geek leads me to ask some general maintenance questions:

 

- How often should one clean out their CPU innards?

- Are liquid cooling systems worth the trouble? Are they dangerous should they leak (beyond the obvious water on circuits)?

- How about getting an improved CPU fan. Is that worth the price for the performance improvements it would garner?

- Do any of these options contribute to safely overclocking to higher degrees?

- Are these newer, meatier CPU’s (duals & quads) and vidcards (hamburger sized PCI-E’s) attracting more dust than older models did in the past?

 

Depends if you have tile every 6-12 months. Carpet every 3-6 months.

 

I don't think Liquid Cooling is worth it because you have to keep adding water. Also the hoses tend to break etc. Plus it's nto cheap.

 

The bigger the fan the less noise it makes and the less dust it will create. It's only worth it if you need to cool down your CPU more.

 

I don't recommend overclocking anything. It just shortens the component's lifespan.

 

They don't necessarily attract more dust. What a good case will bring is filters so that the dust does not come inside as much. I got one on the side and at the bottom. It traps the dust and when I clean the inside it is no where near as dusty as a case that is 50$ cheaper. Plus it has LED display of HDD temp, CPU temp, and system temp.

 

If you want less dust a better case is the way to go and also 120mm fans which are bigger and make less noise. This is the case I have.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16811146038

 

It's huge though. Might be able to find one a little smaller and less expensive with filters.

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After cleaning it of dust thoroughly, I was surprised that not only did the processing run smoother, but the framerate was easily on avg. 5-10 fps greater.

 

Huh. I've been wondering why I've been getting lower FPS than I should lately...maybe I should try blasting everything with air too.

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Huh. I've been wondering why I've been getting lower FPS than I should lately...maybe I should try blasting everything with air too.

 

If your case overheats, a modern (intel) CPU will itself throttle down and indeed give you lower performance.

 

All other components will either run hot (memory, power supply, graphic card, mainboard) or they will fail - often spectacullary. (With digital components, it is usually a works-or-broken type of failure)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Bah, it was a hot day up here, so in my delirium I called everything the CPU instead of tower, which is what I call the case.

 

I usually don't overclock, and when I do it's only slight steps. I've been recommended this big strong fan to keep temp's down.

 

Thanks for all the input :)

Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!
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