My computer was taking agonizingly long time to render video edits. Adding a graphics card made a significant improvement but renderings were still slow. Next I added RAMs and it got still better but there was no breakthrough. I phoned the toll free number of Hewlett Packard service and the guy asked me if the CPU was overheating. The toll free call service had been quite effective in solving many problems with my computer. Most of which were sorted out over telephone with me just following instructions. It saved the trouble of receiving a technician and him working for hours sometimes just to diagnose the problem. Besides, the call center man seemed to have a database to help him find solutions the local technician was not equipped with. I said, “It might be but how do I know?” He replied: “Restart the computer and press ctrl+F10 to enter BIOS Setup page. Open Advance tab and click on ‘Hardware monitor’ at the bottom.” The temperature of CPU was showing 67 Centigrade! CPU fan speed was over 4000 rpm and system fan speed was over 2000 rpm. He said the temperature was high and I had to reduce the heat. His suggestion was simple: apply CPU gel over the processor. I was skeptical as it seemed too simple a solution to a serious problem and immediately asked him for further options if that didn’t work. He said it would work but if it didn’t then I had to send the computer to their service center.
CPU gel seemed to be an unfamiliar term at local market. I had googled and found that it was also known as thermal paste. When I mentioned thermal paste the shop assistant asked if I wanted heat sink paste. I said yes and he promptly took out a syringe type tube of paste – cost Rs. 50. I opened the computer box and removed the fan over the bulkiest heat sink. Next I unfastened the sink and the the heart of the computer that caused all the heat, the microprocessor, was visible under it – square, flat and fixed to the mother board.
All advises I had gathered from the internet on cleaning the heat sink talked of using pressured air to blow out the dust. One would have to take it to a painting shop or bike repairer where they have an air compressor. I looked at the solid die cast aluminium bodied heat sink on my palm with dust clogging some of the fins and wondered why I shouldn’t open the water tap on it. There wasn’t any electronic wiring or component on it. So I did just that and it became clean as new. Next I cleaned out the fan with a dry cloth. No use of water here as it has terminal wires and copper coils inside. I left the heat sink for some time to dry fully. When it was ready, I wiped off the old paste on the processor with a dry piece of cloth. Then I took the heat sink paste tube, opened its cap, placed its tip on the processor and pushed the syringe handle. It emptied out the paste on the processor – the quantity was just a fraction of the tooth paste one puts on the tooth brush. I spread the paste over the processor taking care not to smudge it over to other parts and gently fixed the heat sink over it. Fixed the fan on top of the heat sink and connected its wires to the board.
When the computer was started the usual roar of fans was missing. The fan was programmed to run at double the normal speed if the temperature rose to 63 C. The CPU temperature had reduced by a good 7 degrees to 60 Centigrade. The CPU fan speed had reduced to over 2000 rpm.
Did my rendering speed increase? Yes it did but not the break through I was expecting. There is one more trick to try; this one I got from the internet: a liquid cooled fan for CPU. “It is as costly as a processor”, said the man at Indica computers, Puducherry. A fellow customer at the shop exclaimed, “It is better to fit a room air conditioner!”. People look for slightest excuse to indulge in room air conditioning and the computer is usually their most favorite one. I told him 20 ceiling fans could run with the power that a room ac consumes and besides it would raise the electricity bill by a thousand rupees. That was lost on him. “My ac is running even when it is rainy because my little daughter cannot sleep without it” the fool came up proudly with yet another excuse. A commonly observable recklessness among the middle class. Another customer interjected: that’s because you accustomed the child to ac. There was no use telling the ac lover that liquid cooled fan fitted inside the computer box would be a much cheaper solution. I look forward to fitting that one in my computer sometimes.
(photo licenced from Dreamstime.com)