Dust is one of a PC’s worst enemies, it can build up in your case clogging up fans and interfere with your PC parts which may result in whining fans, reduced cooling ability and a lower overall lifespan for your hardware. Dust can also prevent heat from being dissipated resulting in thermal throttling which can affect your PCs performance.
Airflow in your case
You could seal up your PC, making it impossible for air and dust to enter, but this wouldn’t be a good idea as heat will just build up inside and may cause your PC to fail! Good airflow is important for every PC as it allows cool air to enter and hot air to exit, however, dust will accumulate during this process unless we do it the right way.
Basically, fans can be installed in two different ways, intake, which takes air into the case, and exhaust, which allows air to leave the case. Having greater airflow exiting through your exhaust fans than what you have entering your case through intake fans creates negative air pressure and results in air and dust entering your case through any opening and gap that may exist in your case.
The best way to minimise the amount of dust accumulated is having slightly more intake than exhaust, creating positive airflow in your case resulting in intake air being directed predominantly through your designated (and hopefully dust filtered) intake areas.
Dust filters help prevent the dust from making it all the way inside your PC, most cases nowadays will come with a dust filter in certain locations which will mitigate the amount of dust entering your case. Remember you will also need to clean these dust filters regularly as the dust does build-up along them.
You can also cut down the speed at which dust will accumulate if you place your computer in a good location. Its good idea is to place your pc onto a surface that can be cleaned with a simple wipe, rather than carpet which requires us to get a vacuum out to clean, extra points if this location is elevated off the floor as dust likely won't settle here as quickly.
In some cases it's only when our PC gets dusty that we think about this issue and in that case you'll need to clean your PC up before optimizing it to be better in the future, in this case, a can of compressed air, anti-static brush/cloths and possibly a vacuum cleaner are the way to go (put your cloth over the nozzle and suck through it), but there a couple of things to consider here.
It is usually best to remove the dusty components from the case so you can blast the dust off outside with your compressed air, otherwise, dust will go everywhere inside which isn't good at all!
The other thing to remember is that blasting a component, like a fan, with compressed air or a vacuum could cause rapid rotation of the part in the wrong direction, potentially damaging the hardware - especially your graphics card. To avoid this remember to stop the fan with your finger before you blast it with air so it can't spin.
Below is a range of great options in fans, cases, cleaning equipment and more to check out. Keep your eyes on PB Tech Tips & News for the latest and we'll be with more tricks to keep your PC running and looking great.