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Summer Burnout!

Progress on my usual projects has been slow this month, my computer was suffering from severe slow down and a couple of times even shut down with a CPU overheat error.
Korea can be a very hot country, and a lot of expats who come and live here aren't used to all that entails. I'm from the UK where temperatures rarely get above 23°C (73°F) in the summer. Here temperatures above 30°C (86°F) are common, and the humidity can make that even harder to endure. It's not just humans and animals which have trouble in that weather, computer hardware can suffer performance reduction and quickly degrade if it's running at a high temperature for a long time.
If you're running an expensive gaming rig it might already have a state of the art cooling system, but the vast majority of expats won't want to invest in this kind of set-up. The computer I use the most is actually the one in my classroom, which is an ancient Windows 7 machine with an integrated graphics card. It's slower than Eric the eel and my students often get bored waiting for it to run a power point presentation or play a song on YouTube. Actually, the computer itself isn't that bad. It's the heat, not the processing power, which is the problem.
If you want to know if it's heat that's causing a problem for your computer, you should download a program to check your machine's hardware stats. I use Open Hardware Monitor (It's free!)
If you do decide that heat is the problem, there are a few things you can do to help your computer make it through the summer. If you've got a lap top I recommend shelling out for a cooler stand, and also removing the battery when it's plugged in to the wall and not charging. Don't leave it on a bed or other soft surface because this can completely block the cooling vents. The battery itself can get quite hot and the fans which come as standard in your laptop are unlikely to be rated for tropical conditions.

If you've got a desktop computer (most schools will have one) it's first important to make sure there's plenty of space around the machine. I've seen computers stuffed in to enclosed cabinets, surrounded by fluffy dice or classroom materials or whatever. If the fan openings are covered, it's not going to be able to cool itself at all.
Once you've given your machine some room to breathe, it's time to check for maintenance.
I dont advocate doing this with a work or school computer, but most peoplr should be able to deal with their own pc without any problems.
First open up the side of the desktop and look inside. If the computer is older than a year or two there will be fluff around the fan intakes and even on the motherboard. You can use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air to get rid of the worst of it.

Focus on the area around the power pack at the bottom of the unit, and around the main heatsink (pictured above). Dedicated graphics cards have their own fans which also need cleaning. If the computer is really old, lint will have gotten inside the fan too. If you take care, you can remove the whole heatsink and clean inside with a dry toothbrush or paintbrush. Don't use any cleaning products, you just want to get rid of the lint. You should try to get hold of some fresh thermal paste to apply to the CPU as well before you replace the heatsink.
Hopefully this guide will help your computer to endure the summer heat. If it doesn't and your computer does die, sometimes your computer, or parts of it will be covered by warranty. When my NVIDIA graphics card burned out from heat/humidity a couple of years ago the company shipped me a replacement free of charge because it wasn't supposed to happen.
If you aren't confident performing maintenance on your computer, you might ask a friend or take it to a a local computer repair shop. You could also check if there are any Facebook groups... If it's a school computer, you should start with talking to the IT staff at the school, but I've never had any success there. They might not be very helpful but they should at least be able to take away your slow old machine and replace it with a recently maintained one. Failing that you may just have to put up with it.

 ** Pro tip: if you ever want to add a ° sign in a document on a windows computer, hold down alt and type 176 on the keypad.


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