Computer Upkeep

Save Your Hard Drive, Replace Your Computer Cooling Fan Save Your Hard Drive, Replace Your Computer Cooling Fan A computer cooling fan is an essential part of your computer’s hardware. Although often taken for granted, a cooling fan is one of the most important elements of your computer and can save you from serious damage to your computers components.

Just as automobiles require fans to cool their motors, computers need fans to cool down their central processing units, or CPUs. A computer cooling fan works to keep the temperature lower so that you avoid overheating, which can destroy certain components. Without a cooling fan, you can have a literal meltdown.

When most people think about cooling fans in a computer, the first thing that comes to mind is a fan for the CPU itself, but another crucial component that needs cooling is your computer’s hard drive. Depending on the speed, type, and usage, the heat generated by the friction of the moving parts within the hard drive can reach levels that could cause failure. Overheating of a hard drive can cause corrupted data, as well as physical failure.

Unlike a heat sink, which spreads the heat out over a larger area, a hard drive cooling fan blows air directly on the hard drive itself. This means that the need for proper ventilation is also a factor. As with any computer cooling fan, if the case of the computer is not adequately ventilated, the heat will simply build up and can lead to damage and failure of multiple components.

Another factor to consider is cooling fan maintenance. Environmental factors, such as dust, hair, and smoke can build up and clog a cooling fan. As a result, it is very important to clean your cooling fans often to keep them in top operating condition. This is also a safety issue, as a clogged fan could eventually cause a fire.

Most hard drive cooling fans are easy to install and are cost efficient, with prices that fall well within most computer owners’ budgets. A typical hard drive cooling fan will slip on to the hard drive itself and will take up minimal space. Other designs implement a system in which the hard drive is placed inside of a box that has a fan or other cooling components inside of it. The box is then connected to the computer as if it were the hard drive.

Another type of cooling fan to be aware of is for a graphics processor. As video technology has increased, so has the heat generated by graphics cards. The processing power it takes to deliver high definition video, as well as streaming content and 3D graphics, requires more and more from modern graphics cards. Computer users can purchase a variety of cooling fans for graphics cards and chips to keep the overall temperature down inside the computer’s case.

As mentioned, cooling fans are often overlooked when someone purchases a new computer. It’s very easy to get caught up in the more exciting components, but paying attention to the cooling technology inside can mean the difference between a functional computer with years of life left or a computer that doesn’t function at all. If you haven’t checked your cooling fans lately, take some time to ensure that they are functioning properly and are clean and clear of debris. If you find that you have inadequate cooling power, replace any cooling fans to keep your machine running smoothly and operating safely.

Daniel Mackelburg
Mechanical Engineer
www.nmbtc.com