HACKHUNTERS [color=#585858]SPSC
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[size=18pt]December 2009, LESSON 5

SP (Speed Performance): Video Card Maintenance

Running COOL and QUIET

Keeping your video card running smoothly.

So you've noticed that the fan on your computer has been making lots of noise lately, or you perhaps have notice some odd things happening when playing your favorite game, like the monitor all of a sudden going into sleep mode.

The problem could be that dust has collected in the intake of your video card. Pictured here is an ATI brand card showing how the air flows through the card to keep it cool. You want to focus on the intake end as that is where dust will collect and hamper the flow of cool air.

Notice these little louvers (picture below)?

They are designed to dissapate heat. Like the fins on a window Air Conditioner, heat travels through the metal and the extra surface area as it is exposed to air allows for the heat to releasse itself into the air more effectively and quickly. The problem with the fins is that it also allows dust to easily clump up and block the air flow.

NOTE: If you can't see the fins, and it looks like there's a sponge like material... and in your mind you're thinking this is probably there to filter the air... what you are probably looking at is a real build up of dust. Poke it to see if it falls apart. If so, it's dust.

What to do:

Taking a small plastic stick, like the cover for a pen, along with the suction of a vacuum cleaner, one can easily clean all the dust that has collected here over the months.

What happens if you ignore keeping it clean of dust? My guess is that your video card will eventually burn out, or the monitor will all of a sudden shut down.


Tip of the month

HINT: Looking at the fan blades, if you notice dust collecting on them you can expect 20 times more dust on the louvers, it's time for a cleaning.

TIP: If you don't have a small nozzle on your vacuum, try holding a finger over half of it. This will increase the vacuum pressure on the other half allowing it to suck that dust away.

CAUTION: If you don't know the safety steps to installing and taking out a video card, read the manual that came with your card or look it up on the internet.