Today, I decided to clean my desktop computer’s CPU fans since my computer kept slowing down a lot lately. I knew it probably was due to my CPU fans collecting with dust as I have been using this desktop PC for about 2 years without any cleaning.
To my surprise, I found that it was indeed my CPU fans that weren’t working at all as the metal fins have been all stuck with large collection of dust. You can see later in this DIY how dirty my CPU fan was…
So, here’s how to clean your CPU fans. (This is for most desktop PCs.)
1) First, you will need to open up your desktop. Usually, there’s either couple screws or some computers like mine have a “hand-screw” that allow the side cover to come off easily.
2) Once you open up the computer case, locate your CPU fan, it’s usually the biggest fan thingee.
3) Once located, you can unscrew the four screws holding it to the motherboard.
4) Also make sure to unplug the CPU fan wire that connects to your motherboard so you can detach it.
5) Once unscrewed and CPU fan wires disconnected, the CPU fan should come off the CPU easily. (You can see my Intel CPU on the lower-right here as I take the fan out.)
6) A quick look at the CPU fan assembly showed me that the metal fins (the thing that actually cools down your CPU) was stuck with “massive” collection of dust! Yuck, this is why my computer was running super slow…
When the metal fins are blocked like this, your CPU fan will actually have no real effect on cooling your CPU. Thus, it was like my computer was running with no CPU fan.
7) The CPU fan part should easily snap off the metal fins, just carefully un-snap it out.
8) Once I had the CPU fan and metal fins separated, I saw this picture below:
9) Next, clean your CPU fan fins and the metal fin thingee with a lightly wetted paper towel. You can also blow on it afterwards to get all the dust out. You don’t have to clean it perfectly, just get rid of the big stuff that’s clogging your CPU fan.
10) Assemble and put the CPU fan back on your motherboard and boot up your computer.
You should now see that your computer runs much faster like when you bought it new.
How often should you clean your CPU fans on a desktop?
I would say about once a year and maybe even every 6 months if you use your desktop computer a lot.
This method should work on all kinds of desktop computers including Macs. Procedure might be slightly different but if you know how to use a screwdriver, you should be able to clean your CPU fans pretty easily.
What are the benefits of having clean CPU fans?
Well, first, your computer will run much faster since your CPU doesn’t heat up as easily under load when you are running heavy applications like Photoshop, Outlook, or watching YouTube videos.
Plus, your CPU will practically last forever so long as they never overheat. I have a 20 year old 386DX-25 CPU that still runs after 20 years. Computer CPUs are generally failure-proof for a really long time so long as you make sure it’s cooled correctly.
Computers in general last a freakin’ long time, it’s usually the hard drive that dies first or CPU from not cleaning your CPU fans.
There’s also great free programs out there that will let you dynamically control CPU speeds so your CPU is more efficient, uses less power, and last even longer. I will have more on that soon but if you haven’t checked out your CPU fans in over a year, I highly suggest you to check them out.
You can also “replace” your CPU fans to better after-market ones. For that, I highly suggest getting one with bigger “amperes (amps)” ratings. For example, 2 Amp rated PC fan will run faster than a 0.20 Amp PC fan. You might have to shop around though for the best PC fan out there as it varies depending on where you go.
Well, that’s about it, you should now be able to have a computer that runs faster and last longer. Bye~
UPDATE: Here’s a quick video of me doing my other linux computer: