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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Ruff_Hi's Avatar
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    I have a dusty desk top. It is a dust magnet. I also have a slightly dust attracting house (hardwood floors, 2 dogs, no grass in the back yard, etc). When my desktop gets dusty (on the inside), my graphics card starts to complain (monitor flickers on and off - very annoying and hard to get the fine mouse control that I like ). So - what can I do? Put it in a bit plastic bag and seal it in? What about a large perspex box (and seal it in)? Any other suggestions?
    (Location Australia, then UK, but now USA. Heart, outlook, attitude, etc always Australian)
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  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='Ruff_Hi' post='769660' date='07-Apr-2009 22:54']I have a dusty desk top. It is a dust magnet. I also have a slightly dust attracting house (hardwood floors, 2 dogs, no grass in the back yard, etc). When my desktop gets dusty (on the inside), my graphics card starts to complain (monitor flickers on and off - very annoying and hard to get the fine mouse control that I like ). So - what can I do? Put it in a bit plastic bag and seal it in? What about a large perspex box (and seal it in)? Any other suggestions?[/quote]
    Canned Air
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    [quote name='Ruff_Hi' post='769660' date='08-Apr-2009 03:54'][/quote]
    Presumably your graphics card is complaining about getting too hot because the dust is acting as heat insulation.
    As part of the principle "the best way to optimise something is not to do it at all", is there a way you could filter the air being drawn in? You may need larger fans to draw the air through, though.
    Alternatively, can you direct another internal fan onto the graphics card to cool it?
    Or buy a graphics card which is better cooled?
    BATcher

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  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger Ruff_Hi's Avatar
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    Thx guys. I use the canned air approach now - but would prefer the dust not to get in there. This is my graphics card ...

    256MB nVidia GeForce 7900 GS (pic is not my actual card - just an image I found that looks similar)



    It appears to have a fan right on top of it. I think the main problem is the air intake at the front is basically open with no good filter. Will my machine get too hot if I put some form of linen (or similar) material over the air intake?
    (Location Australia, then UK, but now USA. Heart, outlook, attitude, etc always Australian)
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  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    [quote name='Ruff_Hi' post='769670' date='08-Apr-2009 06:01']Will my machine get too hot if I put some form of linen (or similar) material over the air intake?[/quote]
    You betcha! Covering up an air opening will trap more heat inside the box. First of all, you need to "observe" the card when the machine is on to make sure its fan, and any other fans in your box, are STILL WORKING. Dead fans are almost impossible to spot without opening the box.

    Sounds like you may have a flaky graphics card if the fan isn't the problem. I would imagine it would take a LOT of dust to cause the symptoms you described.

  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='769671' date='08-Apr-2009 17:13']You betcha! Covering up an air opening will trap more heat inside the box. First of all, you need to "observe" the card when the machine is on to make sure its fan, and any other fans in your box, are STILL WORKING. Dead fans are almost impossible to spot without opening the box.

    Sounds like you may have a flaky graphics card if the fan isn't the problem. I would imagine it would take a LOT of dust to cause the symptoms you described.[/quote]

    I think there's a bit more to it than that. If you create a larger air intake then you are going to have more air (and without filtration, presumably more dust), and when people install hardware that guzzles more power I am left to wonder why they don't increase the ventilation to go with it. Location may also be significant. That means more than just drilling holes in the case; don't forget that louvers provide a type of 'dust umbrella' 24/7 whether the machine is on or off.

    This takes us to the question of whether or not you are running the computer 24/7, or if you shut down, say, overnight, since there will be a significant difference in temperature and in the electric fields which we seem to recognize as a factors.

    In industry the heat sink is in many applications preferable to a fan, or is used in conjunction with one. If any physically hot portion of your device is grounded then all you have to do is make it is make the bare metal ground lead a substantial one that conducts both electricity and heat really well. Aluminum is good. Ground it to the case and the ground lead will drain the heat to the case by conduction. That's not quite the same as having an extruded aluminum heat sink with flat black finish and all that, but it's the same principle.

    It would be a useful test to simply remove the cover to the case and see how the computer performs without the case. If it works, then replace it with a cage and a mosquito net.)

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger Ruff_Hi's Avatar
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    I typically leave it running for a few days and then turn it off for 1 or 2. When the screen starts flickering, I take it out side and blow canned air through it - sometimes I get lots of dust out - sometimes not much.

    I was listening to Click and Clack the tappent brothers the other day and they had someone who was living in Alsaska near the recently erupted volcano - they suggested putting a stocking over the air intake of his car to cut the dust intake into his engine.

    Sure a car isn't a pc, but maybe that is an idea. The other option is that I go with a liquid cooled system (next time!). Edit: doh! liquid cooled will still be dust prone.
    (Location Australia, then UK, but now USA. Heart, outlook, attitude, etc always Australian)
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  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    The air intake on a car engine serves an entirely different purpose than the air intakes on a PC case. On a car it aspirates the engine and filtering it will only have a minor effect on performance. On a PC it cools it and cutting down the airflow through the case will have a disasterous effect on the entire system.
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  9. #9
    Bronze Lounger
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    Talking

    [quote name='Ruff_Hi' post='770330' date='14-Apr-2009 01:32']I typically leave it running for a few days and then turn it off for 1 or 2. When the screen starts flickering, I take it out side and blow canned air through it - sometimes I get lots of dust out - sometimes not much.

    I was listening to Click and Clack the tappent brothers the other day and they had someone who was living in Alsaska near the recently erupted volcano - they suggested putting a stocking over the air intake of his car to cut the dust intake into his engine.

    Sure a car isn't a pc, but maybe that is an idea. The other option is that I go with a liquid cooled system (next time!). Edit: doh! liquid cooled will still be dust prone.[/quote]


    I was beginning to warm to this topic when I came to realize the extent of it and wonder if I could make it pay. The answer was 'No', but stop and think: there are readers all over the world, computers are sold all over the world, and anyone who wants to build a computer that will work almost anywhere and that can be marketed worldwide has his work cut out for him. Visitors to this forum have a place where they can swap ideas about how to make their own computers work well in peculiar conditions. If manufacturers read it too, this is a great place to look for beta testers.

    Ambient temperature and conditions are those surrounding the computer itself. If we exclude the electrical variables that can cause trouble and stick to temperature and dust, with which we began, then Where in the world are you? Are you at the Equator or at one of the Poles, or somewhere in between? What is your elevation? Are you at sea level or on a mountaintop? If you have a workstation on the seashore, is there a problem with salt spray shorting your circuits? If you are at a significant altitude, the air may be thinner but you will require less cooling. If you are on the rim of that active volcano, then doesn't that ash ruin everything? If you are in the rain forest of the Amazon, does the humidity compound the heat? What is the ambient temperature of the computer, and how much does it vary by season? If it overheats, is there a cooler spot to place it?

    For dust, visit dustcollectorexperts and all of the links from it. This, I think, is a fine example of a manufacturer's web site, and it is educational. The link to Electrostatic Air Cleaners is of interest because it might help explain why electronic devices attract dust in the first place. See also Electrostatic Precipitator.

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger
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    [quote name='peterg' post='770408' date='14-Apr-2009 02:14']... Where in the world are you? ... <snip> ... For dust, visit dustcollectorexperts and all of the links from it.[/quote]
    His profile says he's in New York, New York.

    Thanks for that "dust collector" link. (I think)

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