Computer Overheating- How A 10 Dollar Part Saved A 1000 Dollar Computer


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Recently, a friend of mine installed a new graphics card in his computer. The rather steep price, $150, was justified by the remarkable improvement in performance. Game play had never been so good.

He loved everything about the new card, until he realized how hot it was getting inside his computer’s case. Air coming from the fan port was far warmer than it had been. The monitoring software for his CPU hadn’t gone off, but he figured it was only a matter of time. Even if it never reached this critical level, he knew excess heat would shorten the life of his system.

When he told his problem to me, I immediately suggested mounting another exhaust fan. The trouble was his case was one of the old style “beige boxes", that only had one port. We could do some case modding, cutting a new port in the chassis, but my friend balked at the idea. Wasn’t there something else we could do?

There was a gadget I’d been wanting to try for a long time, one of those turbine fans. They fit in an unused PCI card slot. All you have to do is pop out a slot cover, and anchor them to the case with a screw, just like you would a PCI card.

Fortunately, the slot next to his graphics card was empty. That was just where the fan needed to be. We installed it, and booted up.

My friend’s problem disappeared. The little turbine could pull 42 cfm of air, more than a standard 80mm fan. It was drinking up every bit of heat that graphics card put out. His system was saved by a part that cost less than $10, and took only minutes to install.

Michael Quarles is the author of the book “Building a PC for Beginners". His website is


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