A day in spring. Little birds jump around and shout for company. The budding trees are full of them, gnawing and nibbling at the treebuds. Today I didn't do much of an exciting or extraordinary nature, apart from one thing: I cleaned my computer.

I use a laptop that is three and a half years old, but still technically suficcient for my purposes. However, lately, meaning the last year or so, it's suffered from a host of different problems. Chief of which is heat. The keyboard is embedded in a metal frame, and the rest of the chassis is black plastic. The metal has lately been so hot that it is nearly uncomfortable to use it. I've thought of disassembling the machine and cleaning it out properly for quite some time, so today became PC Spring Cleaning.


As a child, I relished taking apart and attempting to reassemble different small machines and electronics. Much to the chagrin of my parents, seeing as I was not as skilled at putting things back together as I was dissasembling them. More than a few broken watches, toys and eventually, disused computers have been autopsic subjects for my unsteady and haphazard hands.

Recently, I've realized it mostly relies on understanding what risks the different components pose in causing problems for their fellows. A flimsy plastic partition can be more than enough to support an assembled doodad, but might break when one attempts to access some screw or something underneath it.

So to Youtube I go. Luckily, there is more than enough to choose from, and after setting up my dining table with airduster can, screw sets and a folded paper sheet for maintaining control over screws etc., I go to town, so to speak. Wearing rubber gloves and a perpetual sheen of nervous sweat, I pry apart the innards of my beloved machine, unplugging cables no thicker than a few stacked hairs and blowing off lumps of dust as I delve deeper.


After something close to 90 minutes, I had reached my destination: the built in cooling fins and belonging heatsink. Air blows through the fins, the fins are attached to copper rods, and the rods are attached to the graphics chip and cpu. In the fins was an 8mm layer of black matted dust. It looked more like insulation material for buildings than debris, but sure enough it peeled off obligingly when faced with fingers instead of just pressurized gas.


I reassembled the rig, managed to only break two flimsy plastic pieces and wondrously, the thing booted again. Only this time, not accompanied by the sound of a model aeroplane convention, just the faintest whisper of air.


Now, I'm going to test and see if games perform better. I suppose they will, when heat convection is once again an effective way of shedding excess heat.

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