We’ve had customers in the past and I’m sure we will have more in the future, who do not believe in things like a computer hardware service. Logic tells us and real life shows us that everything needs a good clean-up from time to time.
Just as we wash our cars, sweep the floors or change the oil in an engine, so we need to take care of the insides of our computers. Even if we keep the computer in a 100% dust free environment.
Common issues experienced with computers in need of a hardware service is sudden stops (computer freeze up), dilly graphics display or a blue screen. Once you reset the computer it seems to be okay for a couple of minutes only to pull the same stunt again. The longer you leave it off, the longer it seems to work until the same happens again.
We will not go into too much technical detail but will highlight the most important factors covered under this so-called hardware service. If you are a tech-savvy person or have some money to through into school fees you can try these at your own peril – please make sure that this work is done in a static free, clean environment :
Open the computer case and blow out the inside with compressed air. Those little R 69.00 tins won’t do the job though. Take care with the CPU, PSU and casing fans as high pressure air can damage them. Give special attention to the CPU cooler block as dust tends to accumulate between the fan and the aluminum block.
Make sure you have thermal paste handy before attempting to remove the CPU cooler. The original thermal paste tends to dry out after a year or two and thus cause the CPU to overheat.
Disconnect all cables and remove the RAM and add-on cards (such as modems, graphics card, sound card etc.). Clean the RAM and add-on cards contacts with alcohol and a lint-free cloth.
Remove any visible remaining dust with a short-haired pig hair brush.
Remove the CPU fan and clean the fan as well as the cooling block. Remember to remove the old thermal paste as well. Do not damage this surface as it will affect cooling. Remove the CPU and wipe off any thermal paste. Here you have to take extra care not to damage the CPU. Prevent touching the contact points / pins on the CPU.
Put the CPU back in it’s slot – take care that it is inserted correctly otherwise it will blow. Apply a droplet of thermal paste in the centre of the CPU or use the spatula sometimes provided with the thermal past to cover the complete CPU surface. Re-attach the cooling block and fan. Make sure the fan power connecter is re-connected at the spot provided on the main board.
Re-insert the RAM and re-connect all the relevant cables – again, make sure it goes back exactly the way you removed them. Take care not to force anything and you don’t bend any pins. The main board can get damaged if too much force is applied to it when plugging in cables.
Make sure everything is connected before the add-on cards are re-inserted. Again, put the cards back in the same slots where they were. This is not essential but your Windows operating system won’t get confused once you re-start the computer.
Do a visual inspection of the main board components specifically capacitors located close to the CPU socket. This is important on older computers as these capacitors tend to swell due to continuous power fluctuations.
That should do it for your desktop computer. Good thermal paste can be bought for anything from R 29.00 upwards. At madTECH we can do this for you at R 150.00 per computer.