PC cooling questions

#1 Posted by imsh_pl (3295 posts) -

Hello duders!

For the past few months I've been suffering from my PC overheating. Lately I've managed to clean in from the dust but the difference is almost barely noticable.

It's gotten to a point where I can't play anything that's come out in the last 2 years without my CPU temperature getting to about 90 degrees celsius.

I have the following specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 @3GHz
  • GeForce GTX 275
  • 3GB Ram
  • Windows XP (I know, I know)

and playing Borderlands 2 on the absolute lowest settings caused my PC to heat up to about 90 degrees in about 5 minutes.

From what I've seen when I opened it yesterday I have a single fan covering the motherboard. A few months ago I moved my PC so it would get a decent airflow.

I suspect that I just have to either replace the old cooling fan or add a few new ones. So I have the following questions:

Do you think that buying an ordinary fan from a PC shop would suffice? If so, what would be its price range?

Would you instead recommend installing new fans?

Is the installation easy enough to do on my own? I'm no PC repair expert but I think I can handle a screwdriver pretty well.

Thanks a lot.

#2 Posted by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

Pour some water in your PC.

Just kidding don't do that. But I have seen water cooling cases for PCs. The water circulates through your PC in tubes and cools down your PC. I don't know everything about it, but its worth checking out.

That might be more expensive than fans, but it looks pretty awesome.

#3 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

@imsh_pl: Have you turn your PC on with the case door off to see if the fans actually work? You shouldn't be overheating all of a sudden like that unless you have some serious gunk jammed up in the heat sinks or something. Before getting new fans, I would take the computer outside with a bunch of compressed air cans (or some other means of blowing a lot of air) and start blowing out components like the PSU and around the heat sinks and the graphics card heat sinks/ fans. I use an air compressor that you use for things like nail guns or airing up tires with a shop style air blower attachment. I take my computer to the garage and just blow the hell out of it.

#4 Posted by imsh_pl (3295 posts) -

@Jams: I can definitely hear the fans working. But yeah I'll have to try the whole air can thing.

#5 Posted by AlexW00d (6234 posts) -

Also re-apply your thermal paste, maybe it just got all shitty.

#6 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1958 posts) -

Just replace your CPU fan. Almost anything in the computer store will work, just make sure it's designed for your CPU socket and motherboard size. Also, before you place your new fan on the cpu it is essential that you clean off the old thermal paste and reapply with new thermal paste, otherwise the fan will not effectively move heat away from the cpu.

There's plenty of video walkthroughs on youtube if you feel you need more guidance.

#7 Posted by EXTomar (4668 posts) -

Are you overclocking anything? The first thing I do when someone complaints their computer is constantly overheating is recommend resetting everything back to factory defaults.

Case fans are easy to install and come in two sizes and tap into the power supply. Double check you have more fans blowing air out than taking in.

#8 Posted by 49th (2726 posts) -

Damn, just realised I never replaced the thermal paste when I took my CPU fan off a few months ago. That was probably bad.

#9 Edited by Andorski (5268 posts) -

Just get a cheap 120mm Cooler Master CPU fan and install it correctly with the thermal paste (check Youtube for proper installation). If that doesn't work than the best solution is probably buying a new PC.

#10 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Andorski said:

If that doesn't work than the best solution is probably buying a new PC.

....No, unless everything in his PC is overheating and not just just his CPU.

#11 Posted by Andorski (5268 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

@Andorski said:

If that doesn't work than the best solution is probably buying a new PC.

....No, unless everything in his PC is overheating and not just just his CPU.

Guy is running around 4 year old hardware. No reason to throw in money and time to install hardware fixes when a modern budget build won't necessarily break the bank, will cause less hardware issues down the line, and give you a performance boost.

#12 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Andorski: If he wants one, sure. If he's just looking to keep his current rig working, telling him he needs to buy a new one is silly. It's an option if he's feeling a need for an upgrade, but not the only other option. Just replacing the CPU is one such other option. Insuring his case has proper airflow is also a good idea. Both cheaper and could easily fix the problem. If he comes to the decision to buy a new PC, awesome, and the community will be happy to help on the matter, but I find it's best not to just make such assumptions for the poster. If he has 4 year old hardware, there is probably a reason for that, and that reason probably hasn't gone away.

#13 Posted by ajamafalous (11957 posts) -

It's specifically your CPU overheating? I had the same issue a couple years ago; the thermal paste had worn away. I ended up buying an aftermarket CPU heatsink and installing it; haven't had any issues since and my CPU runs really cool.

#14 Posted by imsh_pl (3295 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

@Andorski: If he wants one, sure. If he's just looking to keep his current rig working, telling him he needs to buy a new one is silly. It's an option if he's feeling a need for an upgrade, but not the only other option. Just replacing the CPU is one such other option. Insuring his case has proper airflow is also a good idea. Both cheaper and could easily fix the problem. If he comes to the decision to buy a new PC, awesome, and the community will be happy to help on the matter, but I find it's best not to just make such assumptions for the poster. If he has 4 year old hardware, there is probably a reason for that, and that reason probably hasn't gone away.

Yeah, getting a new PC isn't really on my mind right now. I have a few bigger sales I'm considering in the nearest future, namely an ebook reader and a guitar amp. Besides, I've been really neglecting my gaming habits as of late and I'm completely fine with not buying the newest releases anymore, and not being able to play any recent stuff on higher than low settings.

But if I'm ever gonna be building a new PC GB will be the first place I'll go to for advice.

#15 Posted by InYourBrains (8 posts) -

If youre lucky enough that a new cooler and pasta will do the trick, also you ran your cpu at 90 degrees well about 80 is alrdy very hot dont expect it to continue to run properly for long..

oh and another advice, stop running games at this temprature, you might damage your cpu even more and get put out by a blue screen of death.

#16 Edited by Franstone (1108 posts) -

As suggested, take your PC outside and air dust it.

You most likely need a new CPU heatsink and fan or new thermal paste though.

I'd also visually inspect all the fans with the PC on as well like previously mentioned.

I don't know how many fans you have but maybe the CPU fan isn't spinning but other things are making noise.

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