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Being that it’s August, let’s talk hardware and heat

by Tris Hussey on August 3rd, 2007

Today is our channel theme day and while my fellow bloggers are working off the meaning of “august”, I’m taking a different tack.  August is one of the hottest months of the summer in North America and so I thought it might be a good time to talk about heat, sun, and computers.

First, heat is not a computer’s best friend.  One of its greatest foes, actually.  So for starters, don’t leave/put computers, cameras, etc in direct sun for long.  Not good.  LCD screens can get damaged quickly and the heat can start doing real damage quickly.  Of course cars are a related bit to this.  Leaving a DVD on the dash in the sun … you’re asking for trouble.  Same with mostly anything else electronic (unless it’s designed to be there).

For desktop computers, if you don’t get into the whole overclocking thing (which if you’re doing that at work … well you know what trouble you’re getting into), the fan will be working overtime in the summer for sure.  Give it a break and turn it off at the end of the day.  Remember it isn’t just the outside air that is hot, the processor and other parts generate heat (it’s electric resistance … a little physics).  Hence the fans.

Now laptops are a whole different class of cooling issues.  They generate heat, but because they sit pretty flat they also have trouble dissipating the heat well.  I’ve used lots of things to lift a laptop up and help cool it.  There are even USB-powered cooling mats with fans to help pull heat away.  Right now I have a stand that I use on my desk to lift it up for a better typing angle and give it some passive cooling.  It also works great on my lap … which is often ignored.  I also have an APC device that lifts the computer up to the point where it is more like a monitor … it’s designed to be used with an external keyboard and mouse.

The best advice I can give is … when the fan on your laptop really starts screaming (I had a Dell like that) … it’s time for a break.  If your laptop starts to overheat it will start acting strangely and might even shut down.

POSTED IN: Channel Theme Days, Hardware

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