Dusting Off

Monday, April 5, 2010


Intel D945GCLF Essential Series Mini-ITX DDR2 667 Intel Graphics Integrated Atom Processor Desktop Board - RetailThis morning, I had a little spare time to clean the computer. I hadn't opened it since I had the motherboard replaced some 2 months back. I was quite surprised by the amount of dust that had collected inside the case. It was probably because I bought an additional high-RPM exhaust fan that increased the airflow inside the case. I bought a Deepcool XFan 5 that mounts in place of a PCI card slot. It barely fits inside the case, a TomMade TC800 micro-ATX case. I installed the XFan5 because I needed to make sure that temperatures inside the case won't go up if the chipset fan on my Intel Atom 330 board failed on me again. If you look around forums for D945GCLF2 and D945GCLF2D, you'll see most complaints are from the fan failing or its whiny noise. That's probably the reason why Intel opted to go fanless with the Intel D510MO  Mount Olive platform

I had my board replaced under warranty, but since the 1 year lapsed this March, I won't be getting any  replacement for the board that I have now. Using the XFan 5 actually lowered the temperature of the processor by about 8 degrees. The hard drive temp also went down by about 2 degrees. That's saying something, because Intel Atom boards have passive cooling on the processor and a tiny little fan on the chipset heatsink. The hard drive on my system is mounted away from any other fan. With the XFan 5 mounted some 2 inches away, the airflow is at least helping cool down the drive.

USB white KEYBOARD VACUUM computer cleaner brushRunning the fan caused dust to accumulate at the mounting brackets nearest the side panel vent holes. Dust was also starting to carpet the lower panel of the case. I busted out the cush-grip Stanley mini-screwdrivers, popped open the side panel and took the computer outside. I took out the mounting bracket and dusted the insides with a clean old paintbrush. I couldn't get to the chipset heatsink though I managed to clean the fan on it. One of those mini-vacuums would have been usefull in those tight places.

I did try to connect the XFan 5 to the extra fan connector on the motherboard. The XFan 5 has both a molex and 3-pin connector. Using the 3-pin connector lets the motherboard control the speed of the fan. Alas, the connector wouldn't go in because a small capacitor was right beside the connector on the board. Talk about being at the wrong place. Oh,well. Maybe full throttle on the XFan 5 isn't so bad. It isn't noisy or anything, after all. After I finished dusting it off, I re-routed some of the cabling and put it back together again.

It'll be at least another month or two before I get cleaning it again. Since there aren't any new upgrades I can squeeze in, I won't have a reason to open the case and discover horrific dust bunnies being born. I'm running out of disk space, though. that's been gnawing at me for a few weeks now. I want to get a 1TB drive, but with the XFan 5 in there there isn't space for a 2nd hard drive. Add to that, the D945GCLF2D only has 2 SATA ports. So it's a hard drive upgrade or a mini-vacuums in the next few months - LOL.

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