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Dust inside (tm) - What's the longest period you haven't blown dust out of your computer(s)?


UCyborg
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I usually try to clean mine every month or two.  I can tell some good stories of other computers I've opened up, worst being one I opened up to work on that ended up taking a can of duster to clean up after I dumped a big pile of dirt out onto the floor in the process of moving it to work on.  A guy I used to know that ran a computer shop ran into much worse from stories he'd tell me of things not involving simple dust...

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  • 1 month later...

Posted (edited)

Thanks for sharing your experiences everyone, will definitely attend to it more often now. Actually, was going to do it at the later point this summer, but did it today instead.

Yesterday, ethernet port just stopped working in any other but 10 Mbps mode, forcing higher speed in the network adapter settings would just leave it showing network cable unplugged. Checked the cable with another device and it's fine.

So went through dust blowing today and it's fine afterwards. It wasn't even as dusty as last time. I wonder if it's possible that CMOS reset was actually what fixed it.

Edited by UCyborg
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Hi @UCyborg, good to hear your success. For me blowing out dust isn't adequate, everything gets pulled and reseated. Often a crimped cotton swab with alcohol to get inside contact points. Possibly dust or corrosion on the ethernet jack contacts fixed by re-plugging for a fresh connection. No idea but still good you're freshening up.

I've been putting off maintaining an ~25 year old, old-school stereo amplifier. It's never been opened and has lots of nice cooling slots (dust collectors) on the top cover. Should be interesting, that sucker puts out a lot of heat.
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Possibly dust or corrosion on the ethernet jack contacts fixed by re-plugging for a fresh connection.

I actually did that before cleaning, two times at least as I was testing the other cable. I don't remember seeing neither one ending up dusty for being in the port.


So thermal paste loses efficiency over time? Might be something to look into if so. Current one must be about a decade old.

I haven't stressed CPU at 100% in the longest time, no idea about the temperature on the proper load. I hardly do anything interesting anymore, so I guess the whole computer is a bit underutilized.

Edited by UCyborg
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Well then as you say, maybe just a good CMOS and system reset was all that was needed.

Me no expert, general consensus appears to be thermal paste drys out over time. Makes sense, it's applied moist and is repeatedly exposed to high termperature. On systems that haven't been refurbished in a few years it takes alcohol (solvent) and elbow grease to remove. Definitely in a 'drier' state than initial application.

My goal is to preserve hardware indefinitely so it's not worth taking a chance. Fresh paste is applied every few years, usually every 3-5, to avoid risking a gradual or sudden overheating event that may fry the processor. If the BIOS is equipped with temperature sensor alarms, these are activated too.

I have seen before where the heat sink becomes 'unglued' from the CPU, probably a combination of jarring and dried out paste, then it can no longer effectively dissipate heat.

Sorry to hear your life isn't interesting. Chin up, there's always a (computing) adventure even in messed up times. I've been a bad boy lately, staying up half the night working on various computing projects, always something to tinker and learn, never enough time during the day.
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3 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

1 - Me no expert, general consensus appears to be thermal paste drys out over time. 
2 - ...  to avoid risking a gradual or sudden overheating event that may fry the processor.
3 -  I've been a bad boy lately, staying up half the night working on various computing projects...

1 - Absolutely ! I'd say use a good thermal compound and change it once in 2 years it is enough if you don't game every day.

2- Aren't they suppose to throttle down the speed and/or shut down ? I'm not talking about CPU from the 80's , of course.

3 - Indeed you are ! You are supposed to play Spellforce , no ? lol

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2022 at 9:02 PM, UCyborg said:

So thermal paste loses efficiency over time?

I still have some leftovers of the thermal paste made in Czechoslovakia , lol. I'm afraid to use it on anything important , but is still works ! White colour , for transistors in amplifiers .

EDIT:

@UCyborg, yes , about 40 years old ...

Edited by D.Draker
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Thermal paste doesn't need to be wet at all. Its only function is to provide a path for heat to move from the CPU to the heat sink. So the fact that it is dry isn't a concern as long as that heat transfer is still occuring.

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I certainly have no issue with old thermal paste, for as long as it stays without having the contact broken with the CPU. I even have some decades old thermal paste on some things. While it is probably hardened like a rock, it shouldn't and doesn't cause me any issues unless i take the cooler off and put it back on.

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Posted (edited)

I checked the CPU temperature while running Prime95 for about 10 minutes. 51,5 °C is the max temperature it reaches, the max operating temperature noted in the specifications is 62 °C.

13 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

I have seen before where the heat sink becomes 'unglued' from the CPU, probably a combination of jarring and dried out paste, then it can no longer effectively dissipate heat.

Yikes, did it look subtle? And fixable by unmounting the cooler, clean the surface, re-apply the thermal paste, re-mount the cooler?

13 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

I've been a bad boy lately, staying up half the night working on various computing projects, always something to tinker and learn, never enough time during the day.

I had such nights as well, but now have to sleep and I get a bit too much screen time at work anyway. What happened to those nights?

@D.Draker
Wow, that's old.

@Tripredacus @i430VX
Yes, that's the impression I've got how it is (should be?) most of the time. But things tend to be falling apart with time in our universe.

Edited by UCyborg
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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2022 at 2:45 PM, Tripredacus said:

So the fact that it is dry isn't a concern as long as that heat transfer is still occuring.

A big concern is when it's too dry one could damage the GPU chip when trying to detach it.

EDIT:

I mean chips without metal cover plates.

Edited by D.Draker
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SpellForce is ongoing @D.Draker. Funny you should comment about the game's age @UCyborg, it's the most CPU and GPU intensive Windows game my old systems have ever run! Disabled almost every known Windows XP service known to man and the system now games better. Observation, don't play intensive games on a hot summer day, best in winter time to heat the house :)

Agree all, dry okay as long as heat dissipation still works, hence temperature monitor. The only other way i know to tell if the paste has lost contact is to remove the heatsink clasps and gently nudge the heatsink assembly to confirm it's still 'glued' to the CPU. This was the case described above, not sticking at all, no longer effective. Of course by the time the computer is stripped to this level may as well remove the heat sink, clean up the old paste and finish the job right.

Agree @D.Draker, older paste is generally harder to remove from precious hardware, especially if the previous owner was sloppy with paste application.
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Posted (edited)
On 6/7/2022 at 5:08 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

SpellForce is ongoing @D.Draker. Funny you should comment about the game's age

@Wunderbar98 , your tag doesn't work  . Perhaps it has something to do with your browser ? Oh , the game is young , thanks for reminding ... only about 19 - 20 years old. A perfect age for ones girlfriend.

Why wait for winter ? Just turn your AC on , problem solved , I don't ever switch it off . Helps to keep the paste intact. 

EDIT:

@Wunderbar98, you could also cover your windows with aluminum foil to block sun , esp. if your windows are big . Also , there should be some special coatings and foils at the stores. This will let the temps go down . Luckily I live in an old house and we have massive shields on the windows , and even so , I still use foils .

Edited by D.Draker
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Posted (edited)
Hi @D.Draker, the tags don't work from old non-JavaScript browsers. To create hyperlinks i manually need to paste the code myself to get it to show for others. Here minimal air conditioning is used to minimize energy use. Where i live there are plenty of months per year that require heat, then 'waste' heat from intense computing is welcome. In the summer i generally shift to reading, handhelds and low powered computing.

EDIT:
Hi @D.Draker. Thanks for the tips. We've installed reflective glass, use blinds and sewed extra-insulated curtains. My old house was better than this newer one, maybe an example of how we used to be smarter. Climate change has only been on the radar for decades.

It had nice, small windows, beautiful awnings over south-facing windows, geothermal cooling, large shady trees. Almost all neighbouring houses removed the awnings over the years to 'upgrade' the siding.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html
Edited by Wunderbar98
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On 6/7/2022 at 6:08 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

Funny you should comment about the game's age @UCyborg, it's the most CPU and GPU intensive Windows game my old systems have ever run!

I meant the thermal paste. :P

Not sure which game was the most demanding on the old PC, a number of them seemed that way since GPU was low-end and only DX7 compatible.

On 6/8/2022 at 4:03 AM, D.Draker said:

Why wait for winter ? Just turn your AC on , problem solved , I don't ever switch it off . Helps to keep the paste intact.

On 6/8/2022 at 11:43 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

Here minimal air conditioning is used to minimize energy use.

Fancy, I only have portable fans at home.

And a non-functional AC in the car. Family tricked me into believing it's not worth investing into repair/replacement since "you'll only have the car for two years". It's not as bad as thought it'll be though. I never go to sauna so I guess that's my sauna.:buehehe: No, wait, you don't have window in the sauna.

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