Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Keep Your Cool: The Golden Sound of (Relative) Silence

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We've covered various issues having to do with hardware and software in this space. This morning, I had an experience I'd like to share in the hope it will save someone a major headache. My computer normally has a nice, mellow hum, and it is generally not noticeable unless I consciously listen for it. Today, however, things were different. My computer seemed to be doing it's usual good job opening e mails, finding websites and generally walking around the internet and opening and working with various files on my hard drive. BUT . . . it sounded like a 747 about to depart runway 5. Loud! Noisy clattering! Uh, oh...Houston, we have a problem. The longer I listened, the more concerned I became. On a hunch, I asked my husband to open the case to have a look. When he turned the heatsink fan on the CPU with his hand, there was the same clattering noise, although not quite as loud, since the unit was of course powered off. Time for a new heatsink/fan. The heatsink/fan we purchased cost around six dollars, including tax. It was a matter of a few minutes work to remove the old one from the case and install the new one. When we closed the case and rebooted the computer, it was back to it's usual contented hum. Spending this small amount of money and time has likely saved us the cost of a new processor or motherboard and a longer than comfortable downtime. It does pay to "listen" to your system.