With so many fans and components in your system, I'm sure many of you have a good amount of fans and cooling products within your box. These fans are great, but after a good amount of time, things seem to slow down. The amount of air going in and out of the case is diminishing. Temperatures in the case are actually going up!
Common problem with some users (I can feel the flame coming...) is that you don't have time to CLEAN your system! That's right, slapping all those fans and huge heatsinks into your box and leaving them there to do your evil cooling work will not cut it. Over time, dust build-up can cause a real damper in your system stability.
Case in point, this guide has been brewing for quite some time now. I have purposely let my system (P3 700 @ 1.02GHz w/ Alpha p3125, Full Tower Antec KS188) collect dust and hair over time to prove this point. After a grueling 3 months of use, it was time to clean this bad boy out. Temperatures have been hitting the high marks, since it is summer time, this is definitely not something I want to continue happening.
Want to see something scary? This is the result of continuous 24/7 use on my Alpha heatsink.
That's right, I'm a dirty little person. I let my heatsink succumb to such disgusting depths of cooling. No air is passing through that 'sink right now! Hot air is being trapped and has no where to go. Heating up the chip in the process. Something had to be done.
I finally un-hooked the power and disconnected everything. The computer hasn't been turned off for the past 3 months, so this is something new. Carried it over to the living room, wide open space is needed, unless you plan on enjoying the nice dust balls in your small enclosed room. If you can, take it outside! Enjoy the sun and clean your computer at the same time.
What we first did was take care of the fans and grills on the outside. Namely the back, top and the front intake and exhaust fans.
There we have it, our rear exhaust fans (2 X Sunon 80mm) have taken a serious beating with the dust stick. The grills have been coated with dust and grime! Our solution, take it apart and clean it.
Take the grill and fan out and wipe them down. Most of the dust should just come right off. It may be easier if the towel was slightly damp, but that's up to you.
Our next step is the top exhaust fan. Follow the same routine, unscrew it and wipe it down. A good idea that I came up with, while your cleaning this, if you are stuck inside the house, take your vacuum and have it on a low setting. Have it suck next to the fan or grill while your cleaning it. It picks up all the un-necessary dust that falls off the towel if there are any.
That's the view from the 120mm front intake. With such a huge hole in the front, a lot of dust and hair can be sucked in. Fan filters do help, but they also decrease the amount of air coming in. Do the same as the others, unscrew it and have a blast with it using your towel.