Keeping your cool (Desktops)

Every watt of electricity that goes in to a computer will end up being converted into heat somewhere along the line.

As computer chips get smaller, the internal wiring is thinner and packed more densely, so they become more sensitive to heat.

The most common way of cooling a desktop computer is with a fan. The principle is simple and well known: cool air is sucked in the front, and moves through the computer to the back, taking the heat with it. Unfortunately, in a lot of offices and homes you will find computers placed on the floor. This is a particular problem with carpeted floors – as people walk past, dust particles are kicked up and sucked in to the computer. Over time, the dust will choke up the fans and cooling ducts causing the computer to overheat.

Overheating is a reasonably common cause of computers running slowly or crashing, so for best computing performance (and to extend the lifespan of your computer) we do recommend computers always be placed on desks, and have the fans checked and cleaned regularly (once per year at a minimum).