The importance of keeping cool

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Picture this in your mind.

You are sitting in a garden chair, or maybe a sun lounger, beside a pool. A cocktail with one of those fancy little umbrellas sits on the table beside you, while you are soaking up the sun.

Blissful isn’t it?

Right, now mix in the reality that you are sitting there with a laptop on your legs, because you have work to do. The fan is struggling and the bottom of the laptop is getting hot, hot, hot!

Seriously, they can get really hot. Leg burning hot. Let’s not worry about how physically uncomfortable that is, we should worry about the laptop! Overheating causes real problems for computers of all types. Laptops with their compact design find it harder to shift the heat away in a sensible fashion and sometimes need a little help.

You can buy special cooling pads and stands for your laptop. They won’t break the bank, but they will bring along their own fans to take the strain away from your laptop when it is feeling the heat. This will help it cool down and run more smoothly and quickly.

Okay, now for another image. Picture this. You are sitting in a nice air conditioned room, typing a report, maybe a can of something fizzy nearby. Right, now for the reality. The air con is broken or is non existent and your colleagues won’t let you open the window because of the ‘draft’.

Yep, we have all been there. Humans don’t function as well in a hot environment, but neither do PCs. Forgetting about how sweaty and hot you may be feeling, let’s spare a thought for the poor old PC.

Unlike laptops, PCs are a bit better prepared when it comes to heat. However, you need to make sure you maintain them regularly. Dust can build up and stop the air flowing within the machine. You can find some tips on how to sort that out here:

You might also want to consider additional cooling for your PC. Depending on the PC in question, you may be able to buy additional fans or even install a water cooling system. Some PC builders pride themselves on being the coolest, by making the coolest and quietest machines. Generally, bigger fans are better than smaller ones, as they can shift more air while spinning at a slower and more quiet speed.

Watercooling is for those who really want some serious cooling going on. Obviously, unless you are confident at tinkering with the internal workings of your PC, it is a good idea to seek some professional assistance. If you do attempt to do anything yourself, make sure you are grounded before opening the case and unplug everything first!

Alan Stainer