I’ve enjoyed computers for quite some time now – as far back as the 80’s, when I got my very first computer.
My first computer was something I’m sure at least a few people will snicker and giggle at…the Mattel Electronics Aquarius Computer.
This computer was cool – or so I thought. It had a blazing 2K of RAM (yeah….that small – this was early 80’s though), no hard drive, no disk drive – just plugged it in and tinkered away at it. Needless to say, this fascination did not last long, as this thing did just about nothing I expected it to do, and soon was ditched for other, more interesting toys of the time – like the Atari. The keyboard was horrible as well – rubberized, chiclet-style keys, which were very cumbersome to even get used to. Later on, I purchased my second computer – the Commodore VIC-20. This, like the Aquarius, was a computer that you hooked up to your TV to use as a monitor, because let’s face it – monitors were things for professionals and businesses – the rest of us just relied on our TV for the go-to device to hook up our electronics to. The VIC-20 had one advantage over the Aquarius – I actually got a tape drive to hook up to this thing, so I could save my progress. Back then, we used to go to the store for computer magazines, and pick up the ones that had the cool-looking game programs in the back………..that you had to program into the computer to work. No kids……there were no pre-recorded tapes included with the magazines like the CD’s or DVD’s in today’s titles often do. Once you typed in the whole program (and assuming you didn’t screw it up), the program would spring to life as promised in the magazine!
Yeah……..it was cool. I also tinkered around with the Apple II computer, and learned not only to play games, but also dabbled in programming in BASIC, PASCAL, and LOGO. The programming thing didn’t really hold my interest for long, and I got more into art over the years – never realizing that later on, the two worlds would collide in fabulous splendor.
So what does this have to do with keeping things cool? I’m getting there………really.
So over time, I learned to appreciate PC computers, and even learned to build a few. I actually enjoyed the assembly part of it, and was somewhat let down when it was all done – it was completed. I didn’t have to keep building. It was good to go. Aside from the occasional upgrade, it pretty much stayed the same until the core parts were just not worth upgrading anymore, and it was time to start anew. This brings me to my current rig. I bought the parts, had them shipped, and then had one of my friends come over and help get the thing put together. Well…….he did the majority of the work – my main part was just getting the operating system going.
There was one problem that did not creep up until almost a year later – there was a heat issue. One day, I turned on the system, and shortly after, the power just cut out altogether. I thought this was weird, so I thought nothing of it, and turned it back on – about 30 seconds later – poof – shut down again!
“This……..is not normal”, I thought, so had my friend over to take a look at it. Turns out the fan/heat sink that was on it was not doing a good enough job, as the CPU was running about 85 C! OUCH! We took the heat sink/fan off and found the thermal pad had completely melted! How can this be possible? Well, as it turns out, my motherboard has two plug-ins for fans – one for a system fan – and one for a CPU fan. Guess which one our fan/heat sink was plugged into?
So……after some time cleaning up the remnants of the thermal pad, some thermal paste was applied (I’m so glad I have capable friends who do this more than me), and then the heat sink/fan was re-seated. It was running a bit cooler – about 65C.
Still not enough for what is recommended for such things, so………how to get it a bit cooler still. Another friend of mine suggested something I’ve not tried before – liquid-cooling. Really? Well……..this is uncharted territory, and something I’d never done before, so was struggling with the idea. I was then informed that there are self-contained small systems that you can get which have the cooling block connected to two hoses, which then connect to a radiator and a fan.
Well……that’s different! Sounds relatively painless, so I placed my order for my very first liquid cooler – one by Cooler Master – the Seidon 120, which has a single radiator and fan, which works with my existing case. When that comes in, we’ll get it applied, attached up, connected, and then we’ll see how she goes from there! I’ll post an update once the procedure is done.