Heat In, Heat Out

We’re at the back end of the 130nm generation of processors. That means the processors are running about as fast as they’re going to get. It also means the equipment is running hotter than it ever did for this generation of processor.

But this article isn’t about fans and heatsinks.

Something people often forget is that a fan doesn’t actually do the cooling, air does. If the air the fan pushes is cool, the fan will do a good job. If the air is hot, the fan won’t do a good job.

Now that summer has arrived, for those of you with computers in places that are not air-conditioned, as the room temperature heats up, so will your equipment. If the temperature in your room goes up 5C, that’s pretty much how much the temperatures in your computer will go up, too.

If you’re near the edge, that can make the difference between your computer working and not working. Have I seen this happen? Rather often.

What To Do?

First, you need to realize that this could be happening to your computer. People who start expeiencing this kind of failure start doing things like increase the voltage. That only makes matters worse.

No, if this happens to you, you either have to:

  • Get the air being sucked into your computer colder or
  • If you can’t, slow things down until room temperatures drop.

    Here’s one (OK, maybe it’s a little extreme for you) example of how somebody handled this situation.

    The point is not to tell you what to do, but to illustrate a principle so you can figure out what you can do to improve your situation.

    It may be as simple as moving your computer to a cooler part of the room, or by an air vent.

    You may find that just taking the case off can get the job done.

    Even if you can’t find a better cooling solution, at least you know what the problem probably is. Slow down your machine for a while and realize your problem is like a bad haircut; it will eventually go away.


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