PCs hate heat. It’s the No. 1 cause of system failure. The hotter a system, the faster microchips and hard drives will fail.
It must be hot outside. My email box is burning with questions about heat and PCs.
The answer is simple. PCs hate heat. It’s the No. 1 cause of system failure. The hotter a system, the faster microchips and hard drives will fail.
It’s only getting worse. High-power chips produce more heat. All those extra USB peripherals you’ve attached produce heat. And then there’s you, sweating at the keyboard, radiating heat.
Life only gets worse for laptops. Most have no cooling fans and rely on convection cooling through vents. None of them do a good job of this.
Not all of us have air conditioning. Those who do don’t run it cold enough to make much difference (65 degrees).
Your desktop’s fan is its front-line defense against heat. Make sure it’s working, and clean all that dust and dirt from its grate. If it’s failing, replace it. Installation is fairly simple. Search the Internet for your system model.
Note that computers on the floor collect more dust. Systems under desks may have impaired ventilation.
The fan draws air through the system. Look for the front vents and make sure they are clean. If you have a room fan, point it at these vents, not at the rear fan.
Laptop cooling fans are proven beneficial. They can extend the life of your system. Prices range from $10 to more than $100. The cheaper ones are simply a fan or two in a pad you slip under the laptop. Most are powered by USB off your system.
More money will get you more features including built-in sound speakers and extra USB ports.
Be sure to shop carefully. I’ve seen the same pad selling for prices ranging from $18 to $30.
Microsoft’s Notebook Cooling Base is $29.99 suggested and $17.67 street. It will cool a desktop or a laptop and includes height adjustments.
The Targus Chill Mat comes in soft Neoprene rubber and is comfortable in your lap. It has dual fans for better cooling, $30 suggested, $23 street.
Targus makes a hybrid cooling pad, the HeatDefense. It contains a crystalline compound that turns to a gel when heated, removing heat. It turns back to a gel when the system is off. These are $30 suggested and $12.75 street.
Note: The street price is Amazon.com’s. Thank you to Jerry Golding and others for suggesting this column.
Contact Jim Hillibish at firstname.lastname@example.org.