Question How to summerproof your PC?

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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Hey people,

For a lot of us summer is approaching or already upon us, and with the general opinion of global warming, temperatures can rise really high, and so do the temperatures of our PC's. Especially when playing some demanding gmaes!

I'm posting this topic specifically here and not in General hardware because I think this affects pretty much all PC gamers (or any PC user), not just the ones trying to upgrade their PC or build one.

I'm wondering, wouldn't it be cool (pun intended) if we create a community guide on "How to summerproof" your PC? I can think of one thing, which would be "place an airco next to your PC" but I doubt that's the only solution! Also, my airco sprays water arround so I don't think that's the best idea, and since my PC is on the floor below my desk it would cause my legs to freeze off.

What suggestions do you guys have to actually make your PC as summerproof as possible?
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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You're only talking about one or two degrees Celsius with global warming - your PC won't feel it. Though increased lightning storms...

It actually does sometimes get too hot to play video games here. My A/C is a pretty good one but it can only keep the top floor (the not-basement-floor) about 20 degrees F under the outside temperature. If it hits 100 outside, it's 80 inside and adding a hot video card & CPU to that is not comfortable.

The solution is simple, though: read a book. ;)
 
Jan 16, 2020
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Whilst where i live it doesn't get hot enough that my PC stops working, in summer my room is probably the warmest: the afternoon sun hits my room, there is no breeze/ventilation and my PC and router are on so its like having a heater turned on. its most notable at night when i go to bed. Turn all of it off and the temp drops significantly i can sleep properly.

In the last few years it hasn't been so bad, a new pc with new hardware are usually more energy efficient and don't generate so much heat. Silent parts and maybe a decent case helps things. My old i7 was noisy and ran hot. There were days i felt it was like a greenhouse and wondered whether plants would thrive in it. Might try it one day.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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My computer sits in the loft of our house and the dormer windows look to the south, so in summer when the sun is on full blast it gets very hot in here. Temperatures between 28-35 degrees Celsius aren't that uncommon. Unfortunately, we do not currently have any real airconditioning in here. Summer is also a busy season at work for me, but when I do want to sit down and play video games I tend to sit in the living room and play PS4 or Switch rather than PC.

If I really fancy playing a game that's only on PC but it's just too hot upstairs, I can grab my tablet and stream it over GeForce Now. Assuming the game is supported, of course.

As for tips: I find that giving your PC a good clean before the summer heat rolls around helps a lot to keep temps down, and I tend to adjust the fan curves a bit so they work a bit harder even when the PC is idling. That way they won't have to spin up as hard when the PC does get hot under load. This generates a bit more white noise, of course, but if your case is well ventilated it shouldn't be a huge issue. Wearing headphones helps with this as well.

I've been thinking about buying something like a Dyson Pure Cool tower fan / humidifier to keep the ambient temperature in my loft under control, but those things are just prohibitively expensive.
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EDIT: Decided to have a look at the ambient temperature in the room right now; 23℃, which is quite agreeable. I've had the window open for most of the evening. PC is currently idling at about 44℃ on the CPU and 59℃ on the GPU, though it needs to be said that it's been working hard tonight playing COD. I find that my NZXT H400 case isn't the best at expelling hot air after a long gaming session. Maybe I should add an extra exhaust fan up top.
 
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Zloth

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Jan 13, 2020
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Well, I just stuck a very big graphics card (RTX 2070 Super) into a a rather small case and without any additional cooling it ran really hot (roughly 85c in game) so my current solution is just to leave the side panel off where it now tops out at about 65c.
Had to do that back when I had an NVIDIA 480. That thing ran at about 90c, and the CPU I had was hot, too! I called that PC "The ravioli cooker" both for the heat and for what I would have to eat to make up for all the cash I spent on that thing!
 

Frindis

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Jan 14, 2020
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I try to have good ventilation and on a regular basis I turn on my Coltech air purifier for collecting different particles and then I vacuum. PC rests on a table and I have one of the side panels removed. I don't get to much dust by doing so and the fans make much less noise because of the cooling. I know it is not recommended having side panel removed, but having a very bad tower for cooling (horribly cramped factory built) it actually helps me a lot.
 
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Sarafan

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Jan 14, 2020
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I never had problems with overheating, even in summer conditions. And I'm not living in the far north. ;) Usually I try to avoid playing very demanding games when the weather is very hot, but I'm certain that my PC would handle even that. The bigger problem is that it generates additional heat in the room. So basically you have a heater in your room when the whether itself is hard to bear...
 

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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Well it actually looks like some tips came out from here :)

Ranging from "read a book" to an airco indeed.

Personally I've been thinking to relocate my PC but it's pretty hard to manage. I actually have a walk-in closet (really small) but it's always dark and it's cooler than my living room. It's right next to it so I was considering moving my PC there, but then I'm gonna need a bunch of long cables for my monitors and power. Don't think that's managable.

I think curtains can certainly work @spvtnik1 but doesn't that increase the risk of making your room hotter?

@Johnway I certainly agree that newer hardware is usually getting less hot. Now with a temperature of 23 degrees outside (my room will be the same temp), my CPU idles at 45 degrees, my GPU at 52. Even were it to reach 45 degrees I think my PC could handle it. But like you and @Sarafan said it's not too comfortable sitting right next to a PC that's running hot.
I guess one of the things you could do was move away your PC then? Mine is on the floor below my desk so right next to my legs but I possible could move it further away.

@Frindis @I Will Haunt You I guess it's bad because of dust collection? What about leaving the other side panel of? The one behind the motherboard? There usually aren't parts except drives possibly and I think it should let air in?

@Zloth only replying to your lightening storms comment now haha. I get that's a possible issue for a lot of people, but I don't really think it has a huge impact over here in the Netherlands. There are a lot of lightening rods here and I've never lived in a home that was high enough to get hit by lightening :) Power shortages are annoying and I think they're bad for your PC but they don't happen that often luckily.

@Rensje that cooler looks cool! Think it should work pretty well too but it seems very expensive too haha. I like the idea of streaming it to a cooler place though. I do have an Ipad but unfortunately I don't think it would work for msyelf since it's an ipad 2 and Steam play shouldn't be supported on it :p Still good suggestions though.

@Sarafan your suggestino of trying to avoid playing heavy games was something I didn't think about myself actually, while it makes so much sense. Playing some light games (for me like Stardew Valley) certainly should help keeping temperatures lower.
 
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Jan 30, 2020
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I've recently moved my PC closer to the window and an off radiator to hopefully keep it temps lower, I have a new cooler arriving tomorrow (and obviously with that i'll be replacing the thermal paste) and while installing that i'm adding 2 extra fans to the front of the case to aid in the air flow.

I haven't installed a new cooler in any computer in two years, i'm quite nervous about it.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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I've recently moved my PC closer to the window and an off radiator to hopefully keep it temps lower, I have a new cooler arriving tomorrow (and obviously with that i'll be replacing the thermal paste) and while installing that i'm adding 2 extra fans to the front of the case to aid in the air flow.

I haven't installed a new cooler in any computer in two years, i'm quite nervous about it.
I'm sure you've heard it all before, but be sure to put some stress on your CPU before you turn off your PC and remove the current cooler. That warms up the thermal paste and makes it easier to remove the cooler without accidentally pulling the CPU from its socket. Always make sure you twist the cooler before you pull.

If you did all that, it should come off no problem. After that it's just a matter of neatly cleaning off any excess thermal paste with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Good luck!
 
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Jan 22, 2020
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Two PC's ago, at the end of the 2000s we had a heatwave across Southeastern Australia. A heatwave in Australia is what we call it when the streets start melting and koalas are drowning in backyard pools. For that whole summer my computer both sides removed and a pedestal fan aimed into it.

This isn't a country for humans, let alone PC hardware.
 

Frindis

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@Inspireless Llama Thanks for the tip:) I need to buy a special screwdriver because on that side there are several very small bolts (or what it is called again). No idea why they choose to do that since the other side you can easily just open. It is not dust that is the problem for me but fan noise and overheating because of my extremely small and cramped tower.
 
Jan 30, 2020
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@Rensje just as a heads up the cooler has successfully been installed! I had a little issue mounting where the brackets would rise after tightening the opposite side but with a little force I managed to do it.

Everything seems stable atm, the average temp has been lowered from between 60-80c to a much more modest 30c.
Time to try a few Stress Tests :)
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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@Rensje just as a heads up the cooler has successfully been installed! I had a little issue mounting where the brackets would rise after tightening the opposite side but with a little force I managed to do it.

Everything seems stable atm, the average temp has been lowered from between 60-80c to a much more modest 30c.
Time to try a few Stress Tests
Good man! Hella nice temps, too. How about a picture? I would like to see it!
 

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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Sounds good! Last 2 times I removed a cooler the CPU followed my cooler instead of staying where it belonged :( First CPU got destroyed, 2nd one worked totally fine (LUCKILY!).
 
Jan 30, 2020
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@Rensje after having a bit of difficulty mounting it to blow the air to the back I decided to just try placing it that orientation and it was much easier to fit. Although at some point soon I think i'll change it to blow the air out of the back and actually take the motherboard out of the case because that created some problems in itself.

I've had this motherboard and cpu for way too many years it's quite silly that I'm still using them, the extra cooler is a nice addition to the build but i'll certainly have to upgrade to a more upto date build quite soon.
 
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May 31, 2020
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When my room gets too hot (west facing so it happens most Summer afternoons) I'll just avoid CPU/GPU taxing computing. I've got an almost passively cooled setup but the fans will spin up if you're playing something like AS:Odyssey and the PC goes from something you can barely feel any warmth from to a little space heater. Best to stick to something retro or well optimized when the sun is out.
 
May 5, 2020
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The only thing you need to keep in mind is just 2 major rules

1. Keep your Computer in a Cool Area that doesn't get heated by something else
2. Keep your PC clean and away from Hazards ( Cats \ Babies \ Dogs \ Babies - yes i said Babies twice )

Cool Area

That means things like
1. If you have a gaming supercomputer do not keep it in direct sunlight or next to a heater.
2. Do not keep it in a tiny room with a door closed. Computers can heat up small rooms like a heater.
3. Avoid Wall Mounted ACs next to PC that can result in Condensation.
4. Don't face Fan directly into PC. This is how you Blow dust into the machine making the PC fan even less efficient.
5. Don't keep ice near your PC thinking you are being smart. It turns into water vapor.
6. Have at least 3 inches between Intake and Exhaust of PC to any wall or surface. If you are running a giant server RIG then you need at least 6 inches.
7. Do not keep open the side of the PC case! I know many people think "Hey more air cooler!" Professional PC Cases were designed based Air Flow Pathways. That means the intake will pull in air, and the internal fans will push air in a specific direction toward the exhaust. Allowing Air to constantly keep moving in the correct direction. Opening the side of the case will completely negate that making internal fans essentially worthless.


Clean PC.

1. Clean out your PC with compressed Air and have a static wrist band if you have carpet. Touching Side of PC also helps remove charge. Don't hold the compressed air down use short bursts ( works even for laptops )
2. Cats can Cat Barf into the PC
3. Dogs can chew on wire
4. Babies can pull wires and hurt themselves or place toys inside holes
 
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