In the world of industrial heavy machinery and construction vehicles, the concept of preventative maintenance means the simple practice of replacing worn out components and other parts before a machine fails. The moving parts of the machine are cleared of dust and dirt, and the internal cavities of the machine are also kept free of roaming dirt.
Of course, this all starts to sound familiar to seasoned personal desktop computer owners – PCs are smaller and easier to fix, but they can also benefit from similar preventative maintenance. Of course, there are less moving parts and components inside the case, but still a bit of extra care has visible results on performance.
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Take thermal paste, for example. A compound paste of metal particles and a holding agent, this gel forms a bond between the raw metal of the central processor and the copper heat sink which draws the heat out of this powerhouse component. This gel is often subject to decay, and can easily be replaced after a few years – speeding the heat transfer rate between processor and heat sick, meaning the component actually works faster.
Another point of interest is the CPU fan’s heat sink itself. A cross between a fan and a ninja star, the heat sink is usually silver and composed of some often quite sharp fins (watch your fingers) which work to dissipate heat. The fan’s air flow can however suck a lot of duct between these fins, which clogs up the system.
Dust and moving parts often clash. in computers, fans are the most common moving part, and suck most the dust out of your home. Wherever you find a fan in your computer, do a bit of research and see if it’s possible to remove and replace the component easily. Once you master this technique, you can perform easy preventative maintenance on your machine – and the results are obvious.
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When playing games or running multiple applications the first thing you notice after a good PC spring clean is a little more speed – particularly if your graphics card and RAM are more powerful than your processor. Often that type of ‘bottleneck’ means a drop in speed from the processor can have a far more pronounced effect on performance.
This type of maintenance also prolongs the life of components. Once in a while you may want to switch out parts entirely, but in the meantime this process helps the parts you do have, particularly the moving parts, stay in the best condition possible. Also, hoover the dust and other garbage from out of the bottom of the PC case, every few months or more. Trust us.
PC Cleaning Guide from PC World.com
Thermal Paste Guide from Hardwaresecrets.com