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 Post subject: Dust
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:30 am 
Computers get dusty. Inside. No surprise - any box sitting in a dusty corner sucking air through a fan would gather dust over time. Last week, one of my machines took the process to it's logical conclusion.

A few months ago, I took some old parts and built an HTPC. It recorded TV, played DVDs etc. The usual HTPC tasks. The case (and power supply) used in this machine I owned for a better part of a decade. The case I cleaned every time I swapped the guts of the system. Power supply just sat there. Last week the machine started making the usual noises. "Dust in a fan, it will pass" I told myself, as I do every time this happens. Then the machine shut down. I opened it up and sure enough - the processor fan sucked in enough dirt to clog solid. Heatsink was hot enough to fry eggs. Processor was cooked.

I took this event as a sign that it's time to get a proper HTPC case. I was planning to do this for good while anyway. The power supply I decided to keep. It worked well enough for me all these years. Then I had a thought - in my old system, the processor fan sucked air right from the exhaust of the power supply. If processor fan got clogged, power supply must have been a bit dusty. I decided to clean it up before putting it into a new case. Most of the dust fell out as I was opening the PSU. These are the lefovers...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:56 am 
Well, in all honesty, I hope you're considering replacing that.
Two reasons: 1. new power supplies are a lot more power efficient so you end up lowering the power used by your computer by as much as 25%. 2. Judging by the build-up of crap in that PSU, it doesn't have long left, as something is going to fail and depending on the quality of the PSU, once it fails, it could take the rest of the system with it.

There are two things people ignore when it comes to computers: 1. To clean the dust out, which will sooner or late, as in your case, cause component failure. If you're lazy, open up the side of the case and use a hoover (although make sure you open the little air vent on the pipe so the suction isn't too strong), or use a brush or something similarly soft to clean out the machine. Just be aware of static which can kill the components. 2. Spending money on a quality power supply, as not only will they last longer, but they generally use better components that means that they draw less power (these days you should look for PSU's with the 80 plus marking on them) and they also have better protection circuits that prevents components inside your system to get damaged in case if a failure in the PSU.


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 Post subject: Re: Dust
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:30 am 
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Crion wrote:
...in my old system, the processor fan sucked air right from the exhaust of the power supply...

The PSU in my media PC draws air in from outside the case and also vents air outside the case so choice of the right case is important. And yes, modern PSUs are typically much more efficient and quieter as a result.

Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:02 am 
I do clean the dust out of my machines regularly. Just not out of PSUs. And this PSU was one of higher end models back in the days, but indeed maybe time to replace it.

P.S. and yes, the shiny new HTPC case has dedicated fans to provide airflow over the CPU, with PSU fan blowing air outside.


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