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Cleaning heatsink...


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#1
CelestialTeardrop

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I have a Dell Dimension 8400 desktop, and the heatsink and blower are in serious need of dust removal. I'm not really sure how to go about cleaning it without damaging anything accidentally. Does anyone know how this can be done?

I don't know if this is the right place for this, but does anyone have any suggestions for good hard-drive temperature monitoring software? I use Notebook Hardware Control for my laptop, but would like something for my desktop as well. Nothing complex, just to tell me the temperature of the hard-drive and maybe CPU load.

Thanks in advance.
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#2
Titan8990

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Dust is a major cause of overheating and I would recommend using the computer as little as possible until you get the heatsink cleaned out. The best things to use are cans of air. They sell at most office and computer stores for around $6. Whenever you blow directly on the fan make sure to hold your hard on it because manually spinning those fans have been known to kill them.

In some cases you may have to remove the heatsink. If you have a warrenty this will, in most cases, void the warrenty. If you have to remove the heatsink you will need clean it with isoperol alcohol and reapply thermal grease (hopefully you won't have to do this because it can be a bit tricky for first timers).

I wouldn't be too concerned with HDD heat. In the time that I have spent reading and helping on this website I have never ran into anyone with a HDD heat problem. Heat problems are typically CPU, RAM, or GPU. Speedfan is a good program for monitoring CPU and HDD temperature. You can download it here: http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php.

In some cases windows based programs are not compatable with the temperature readings of your hardware. In this case it best to check in the system BIOS (usually F2 or Del on startup)

Edited by Titan8990, 21 May 2007 - 01:55 PM.

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#3
CelestialTeardrop

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Thank you very much for the advice Titan8990.

The problem with Dell Dimension computers is that the fan is completely encased in plastic on the inside of the computer tower, and from the outside I can see it only through a metal grate, so I would have no way of preventing it from spinning.

Thanks for letting me know about speedfan. For some reason I had been under the (mistaken) impression that the hard-drive temperature was the main thing to look out for, mainly because it was usually quite higher than the CPU temp on my laptop before I got a notebook cooler.

edit: In case anyone out there is wondering how to remove the plastic case from a Dell Dimension fan, lift the side further from the back of the computer case up...the other side has hinges so the cover can't come off completely, but makes keeping the fan from spinning while cleaning a lot easier. One would think this would be easy, but the case sits pretty firmly in place and at first seemed like it couldn't be lifted.

Edited by CelestialTeardrop, 22 May 2007 - 08:25 PM.

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#4
CelestialTeardrop

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One more question: I just installed SpeedFan, but only one temperature shows up (hard-drive, labeled HD0), and I don't see a speed for CPU. Am I supposed to configure it to show the CPU temp, or should it show on its own?

Sorry for my novice-ish questions!
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#5
Titan8990

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What it shows depends on your MOBO. You will probably have to check through your BIOS. It has the disadvantage of not being able to check temps under a full load but typically from idle to full load a CPU won't raise more than 10C.

Edited by Titan8990, 21 May 2007 - 10:13 PM.

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#6
CelestialTeardrop

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Oh, I see. Thanks. :whistling:
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#7
Titan8990

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Would you mind reporting your temps?
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#8
CelestialTeardrop

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Oh, right; didn't realize I forgot to post them...

Before cleaning the dust the temps were in the 39-41*C range. After cleaning it's around 38-40*C, not too much of a change. At one point while the Norton Anti-Virus scanner was running it went up to 45*C, but did not remain there for long before dropping down.

These are the hard drive temperatures, since CPU temps are not detected on my system by speedfan.

Edited by CelestialTeardrop, 23 May 2007 - 11:16 AM.

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#9
Adebisi

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I have definately seen hard drives die due to high temps. People cram three of them close together in a smaller case RAID style, and the middle one starts to bite it fast. It does not happen a whole lot but it certainly happens when you subject your drive to temperates well above what the manufacturer states as the drive's max operating temp. I fixed a computer yesterday that had the hard drive running, and dying, it was reaching temps of 88C, crazy...

Anyway, I am rambling, just saying it can happen if you do install your hard drives like sandwhiches with no place for the heat to go.

Above someone asked about monitoring HDD temps, and I have a wonderful little program I use for that. It seems to work great with low overhead, but I do not have it running all the time, just now and then to check on things.

HDD Thermometer (freeware)

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#10
Titan8990

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Are you able to check your CPU temp in the system BIOS? I think CPU heat is what caused you initial crash when you were attempting to install that other temp monitoring program.
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#11
krmooo

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ive always liked this program found here....http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php :whistling:
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#12
CelestialTeardrop

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Titan8990,

After some research and talking with/writing to several people (including dell support), the reason for the crash during the installation of Intel Active Monitor was that it conflicted with my chipset, not system overheating.

Also, I am not sure how to check the temp in the BIOS...or how to get to the BIOS. Do I hit the DEL or the F2 key as soon as I turn the computer on? And what should I do after that?

Thanks.
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#13
Titan8990

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F2 and Del are common keys to get into the BIOS. Yes, you just press them when booting up (before window's splash screen). It is usually under "hardware monitoring" or something like that. I wouldn't be surprised if Dell didn't have an option but it's still worth a look.
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#14
CelestialTeardrop

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I just went through all the options and expanded every menu, but indeed Dell does not show the CPU temperature. :blink:

I don't think it's a problem (at least I hope it isn't) because I have not modified the hardware in any way, and the inside of the comp tower is now dust-free (admittedly, I panicked more than the amount of dust that was present was worth). So unless the hardware was damaged in some way by two or three improper shut-downs from power outages that my battery back-up didn't intervene in (and the fiasco with Intel Active Monitor freezing the system), it should be ok... I hope... :whistling:


Thanks to everyone for your replies, and especially to Titan8990 for sticking with me throughout this issue!
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