Tag Archives: pc

A Bit of Thermal Paste My Life 19 SEP 2011

Hey, learn something new every day. I’ve at last fixed the problem of the intermittent shut downs of that desktop machine I bought from Matrix Warehouse a year or two ago! :)

Shortly after I purchased it and loaded up Ubuntu as my operating system of choice, I started experiencing the problem of it repeatedly and unexpectedly shutting down on me, causing a lot of frustration and a lot of expensive troubleshooting as I went through the exercise of trying to determine what was causing the issue, looking at both the software and hardware fronts.

I wasn’t successful, was tired of throwing money at it, and after discovering that if I leave it lying on its side it tends to work, I converted it into an Ubuntu server machine and went back to working on my old Intel machine that I had purchased back second-hand from the varsity before I left.

A year or two later, and now that my laptop is in the hands of Rory while he takes a look to see if he can maybe find the cause of its sudden implosion, I need a second machine running and so I decided to reopen the case of the faulty PC.

So on Sunday I took apart the machine and gave it a thorough clean out with a handy old toothbrush, removing all the dust that had collected over all the components thanks to the unconventional position the case now occupies. The heatsink needed a good clean as well, and when I detached it from the CPU I noticed that the thermal strip between the two wasn’t looking healthy at all, prompting me to check on the CPU temperature as a possible cause of the problem…


The BIOS health status screen showed up the problem straight away. The minute I turned the naked machine on, I could literally watch the CPU’s operating temperature rise at the rate of a degree a second, right the way up until it passed the safe threshold and at a 101 degrees Celsius mark, turn the whole thing off.

Being a first for me, I quickly did some research on the Internet on replacing thermal paste, and a quick trip through to Chaos Computers for some thermal paste (they had some from Cool Master in stock which they could sell to me) and Dischem for some pure acetone, resulted in me ready for action.

With Jessica enjoying an afternoon nap, I grabbed some of Chantelle’s cotton earbuds and used the acetone to carefully remove the old and grubby thermal paste from both the heatsink and CPU housing. Then, using the handy template that came with the thermal paste, I carefully applied the brilliant white paste in an even manner on the base of the heatsink, before gently worked the unit back in place over the CPU on to the motherboard.

Excitedly I hooked up the power cable, and hit the switch, watching the BIOS reading with bated breath…

It had worked!! The machine started up colder and the CPU temperature hovered at a constant 31 to 32 degrees Celsius. After a lot of fist pumping into the air (silent of course, wouldn’t want to wake Jessie), I set about first partitioning and installing Windows XP (for my outdated scanner and webcam which aren’t supported well enough in terms of drivers under Ubuntu), followed by a fresh dual boot install of the latest Ubuntu desktop release for normal every day use.

And seeing that this machine now has a nice graphics card thanks to my earlier troubleshooting efforts, I now even get to experience the new Ubuntu Unity desktop shell that has garnered so many divided opinions since its introduction for the very first time!

So yeah, pretty chuffed with myself now, I won’t lie! :)

The House of C 013: Leet Mad Skillz The House of C 01 MAR 2010

Gamers are pretty sophisticated computer users aren’t they? They tweak and they hack and they optimize and they perform magic with that little mouse and keyboard of theirs – in other words they the equivalent of PC Gods. Yet for some or other reason these leet mad skillz hardly ever translate well to real world problems that need to be solved on a PC – like tax forms and balance sheets for example! ;)

(Oh, and while we’re at it, meet Carl, the newest member of the regular House of C cast of characters.)

AVG: Protect Your Computer for Free CodeUnit 09 FEB 2010

We’re well into the era where you don’t go out to a bar/club without carrying a packet of condoms on you right? So why is it that so many people still feel like taking their brand spanking new PCs out on the untamed roads of the Internet without carrying some sort of protection?

As anyone in the business of PCs will tell you, not having a anti-virus application installed on your machine if you are intending to connect it to a network is tantamount to committing PC suicide. The problem is of course, that the majority of good anti-virus applications are quite expensive, thus putting them out of the reach of most small home owners. So what to do?

Well, there certainly are a couple of free ones out there like ClamWin that does a fair job, but to perhaps get the best protection which money can’t buy (because its free), you could always look towards AVG, one of the most popular anti-virus vendors around. In order to get some buy-in on their pretty good commercial releases as well as understanding the fact that it is better to try and tame the Internet wherever you can if you can help it, they offer alongside their commercial releases a slightly stripped down version of their anti-virus software entitled AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0.

Perfect for the home user, AVG comes bundles with all the necessary tools like on-access scanner, email-scanner, deep scanner, etc. and after a slightly hefty download of about 78mb turns out to be a piece of cake install that even the most basic of computer users can manage. The application is kept up to date with new virus definitions on an almost daily basis and apart from the little advertising banner stuck on the bottom of the main interface, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is almost perfect.

Highly recommended, particularly if you aren’t yet running an anti-virus piece of software on that neglected home computer of yours!

(Oh, and have I mentioned they even have a version for Linux?)

You can download the latest releases here. There, now don’t you feel a whole lot safer already? :)

Related Link: http://free.avg.com/za-en/download