How to Keep your Computer Cool

Whether you're a gamer or regular user, your computer's components are at risk of overheating if temperatures aren't kept in check. Here are nine cost-effective ways to keep your computer cool. 

Keep away from vents and windows

Consider where your computer is situated — is it in a particularly warm place? Make sure your computer isn't near a heat vent or a window with direct sun. Sometimes changing the location of your computer can help keep it cool.

Give it some breathing room

Take a look at where your computer is positioned and remove any obstacles that restrict airflow. For best performance, you'll want to leave two to three inches of space on all sides of your computer. Also, take a look at your computer desk – if your computer is in an enclosed space such as a drawer or cabinet, it faces an increased risk of overheating.

Close the case

While it might seem counterintuitive, an open case on a desktop computer doesn't help regulate internal temperatures – it actually does the opposite and restricts them. A closed case reduces the impact of dust and debris on the cooling fans. Too much dirt can make the fans slow down or quit working altogether. Cases are designed for effective air handling, and with fans and proper air intake, you can maintain the reliability of your computer's components.

Cat sneaks into an open computer.

Clean the fans

Dust and dirt can wreak havoc on the first line of temperature defense: the fans. When you open your desktop computer case, you should be able to find several fans: one on top of the CPU, one inside the power supply, and perhaps one or more on the front or back of the case. Power down your computer and use a canned air duster to remove the dirt from each fan. Don't use vacuums when cleaning because the static they produce often does more damage than heat.

Upgrade the CPU fan

The CPU is arguably one of the most sensitive (and expensive) components inside your computer, and it has the highest potential to overheat. Most CPUs come preinstalled with lower-end fans that are engineered to cool your processor just enough to keep it running—and nothing more. For this reason, you'll want to consider upgrading to a better CPU fan, which can help keep CPU temperatures down. Keep in mind, however, that your CPU fan can cool only to the lowest temperature in your case, regardless of how well-designed it is.

Add a case fan

Upgrading your CPU fan is a start, but adding case fans to desktop computers can also be a big help. Because performance-enhancing memory and graphic cards generate a lot of heat, case fans can help increase airflow to your components by attaching to the front and back of your system. Many of our Ballistix® customers opt to install two case fans: one to move cool air into the PC and another to move warm air out of the PC. If you decide to add case fans, make sure that the intake and exhaust levels match. If you install an 80mm fan in the front of your case and a 120mm fan in the back, the differential will create dead air and negative pressure, leading to an increased potential to overheat.

The inside of a computer, including a computer fan.

Check the power supply fan

A PC's power supply has an integrated fan; if you don't have a case fan, the power supply fan is the only thing pushing hot air out of your system. If it's not working properly, your system will heat up quickly. If your power supply fan isn't working, replace it as soon as possible.

Get a water cooling kit

For gaming systems with high-end CPUs and overclocked components, often the fastest fans can't keep up with the increased temperatures. To solve this problem, many gamers opt for water cooling kits as a way to cool the CPU. In a water cooling kit, a pump cycles cold water down to the CPU in self-contained tubes, then pumps the water out of the system where it can be cooled before returning to the CPU for additional cooling. If you're comfortable performing a technical installation, water cooling kits are safe and relatively affordable. Read more about upgrades you can make to your gaming rig. 

A water cooled computer.

Take extra precautions when overclocking

While overclocking can maximize the performance of your components, it also pushes your computer's capabilities to the limit, which almost always results in higher temperatures. If you're overclocking with Ballistix Tactical Tracer or Ballistix Elite modules, you can use our custom Ballistix M.O.D. utility to monitor temperatures in real-time. Regardless of how you're overclocking, make sure you take additional precautions to improve your system's cooling ability.

It's not hard to keep your computer cool, and with a few simple steps you can quickly have your system running at a more sustainable level than it was before. By taking action now to cool your PC, you'll save money and increase the longevity of your system.

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