Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Computer won't work properly :-(

This is a more technical thing I'm gonna talk about now. Yesterday, I did a complete overhaul of my computer; in the sense that I cleaned up all the cobwebs that had been created on the various components like CPU and motherboard by certain 'spidery' creatures.

The main source of congestion was dust particles collecting on the CPU fan, and the Display card fan. What effect does this dust have? At first, you like me might think that it just spoils the aesthetics of the internals of the computer, but that is not the case! Surprised? You'd better be. Well, here's the deal. The dust formed on the CPU fan, and the heat dissipator[usually made of Aluminium, or some good headt conducting of Aluminuium] makes the dissipation of heat into the surroundings that much more difficult, so the CPU keeps getting hotter, and can burn if it becomes too hot. I use an AMD processor, so it does not turn off if it becomes too hot as compared to an Intel CPU, which powers down the computer to prevent damage to itself.[I have burnt out an AMD CPU this way, so trust me on this]. The official docs. say that anything <= 70 degreesC is a 'safe' operating temperature for the AMD CPU. The temperature should not cross 90 degreesC, when they mention that the junction breakdown takes place, and you are doomed! However, I have once operated the CPU at 120 degreesC [just for a few seconds though] without it being damaged. [Don't try this at home kids!].

Getting back to the point, if the CP gets too hot, and I started peforming CPU intensive tasks such as encoding wav files to mp3[using lame on Linux], the OS would just hang[because of the overheating], and successive reboots would not help bcause the heat would have not yet dissipated till the computer gets back up. Thus, the computer would also sometimes stall in the middle of a reboot. I began to suspect the temperature quite early on, but I got down to do the cleaning up much later on. When these things became commonplace, and I found it hard to even read .pdf docs on the computer because of constant hanu ups, I decided to open up the computer and do the cleaning myself. And you won't believe the results I ot after cleaning up the internals. The max. temp. of the CPU dropped from a 72 degreesC to a cool 61 degreesC[a drop of about 10 degreesC], which is always a welcome change. I no longer experience such hangups even when perfroming CPU intensive tasks continuously, such as interperting large perl scripts, and encoding music at the same time.

I shall describe in a later message[in detail], how I acuallly got about cleaning the internals of my computer.

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