You saved up all of your money and spent hours upon hours researching the best hardware for you to create the perfect gaming computer. You purchased everything that you needed and took meticulous care with putting everything together.
For a while your gaming rig ran like a beast, no game was too much for it and you were pulling huge FPS in games that would make other peoples PC cry. But then as time went on you started to notice that your computer was losing a bit of steam, suddenly games were starting to lag.
This isn’t a rare story for a lot of gamers, they built the best gaming rig that they could but after a while they saw performance starting to drop. Most of the time this comes down to a simple conclusion… maintenance.
Just like when you get a new car, computers also need a bit of maintenance performed on them to ensure that they continue to run at peak performance. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it is often something that is overlooked.
Let’s take a look at how you can keep your gaming PC purring along with some simple maintenance steps.
One of the key contributing factors to poor PC performance is a simple one, dust.
When there is a dust buildup in your PC case that means that airflow is being restricted throughout the case causing higher temperatures for your components. And as we know, higher temps means that performance is negatively impacted.
Here are a few tips to help with dust management.
Poor cable management is one of the biggest causes for dust buildup inside of your computer. Having cables scattered about all around the inside of your computer case means that air doesn't have a clear pass to flow through.
This poor airflow means that dust has a chance to settle inside of your computer on your cables, components and the case itself. The best way to help counter this is to tidy up the cables inside your computer.
A lot of computer cases, such as the AORUS C700, have cable management features included in order to make cable management easier. Often they will have things such as cable channels, included cable ties, and covers etc. to help you route cables cleanly around the case.
Try and keep as many cables stored near the rear side panel as possible and limit the cables that are visible in the front component of the case where your hardware is. It is a good idea to make use of sleeved power cables if possible as this helps with airflow.
For only a couple of dollars you can pick up a large pack of cable ties which will allow you to hide cables tactfully inside the case, making a world of difference.
Most cases nowadays include dust filters with them. Dust filters are usually located near your cooling fans and help catch a lot of the dust particles that would normally be sucked into your computer case.
A lot of people don't realise that these dust filters are there as they are often designed to blend in seamlessly with the case's look and design, this means that the filters go without being cleaned.
Dust filters can clog up with dust rather quickly and once blocked, the amount of cool air coming into your case is drastically reduced. The good news is that these are generally very easy to clean.
Dust filters are often located behind the front panel of your computer case and on the underside of the case. They are usually attached via a magnet or plastic clips so that they are easy to remove.
In order to clean them properly simply remove the dust filters and wash them under some warm water to clean them thoroughly. Once clean, ensure that you dry them properly before adding them back to your computer case.
Just like your dust filters, your cooling fans can also catch a lot of dust on their fins. Fans such as the AORUS 120 ARGB fan are specially engineered in a way that they are able to pass the most amount of air efficiently and by having dust buildup on the find this can mean that their design is affected.
Not only does dust build up affect the fans cooling performance but it can also lead to the fans creating more noise whilst they operate. This can be incredibly annoying if you are someone that has their computer within earshot of where you sit at your desk.
Take the time to periodically check your cans for any dust build up. If you notice there dust is starting to accumulate then simply give them a wipe down with a lint free cloth and they will be as good as new.
Just as dust can start attaching itself to your cables, fans and dust filters, so can it attach itself to the components inside of your computer case. This leads to your components running hotter and therefore not performing as well as they should be. One of the biggest casualties due to hot components is your FPS in games.
Cleaning the components inside of your gaming rig is not as simple as cleaning your fans and dust filters due to the hardware being installed inside of the case itself. But fear not, it is still very simple to keep things nice and clean.
Often, a simple way to clear out the bulk of dust from your computer is to use a can of compressed air. Cans of compressed air don't cost too much and offer an effective way to clean the inside of your gaming PC. To clean your computer with canned air simply do the following:
Ensure that you turn off your computer and unplug the power cable from your power supply
Often it is a good idea to take your computer outside so that you don't blow dust into your house
Remove the side panel to give yourself access to the interior of the computer case
Carefully remove any large, obvious build up of dust with your hands (wearing gloves is a good idea) and wipe away excess dust with a lint free cloth
Once you have removed all the dust that you could, holding the can of air a small distance away from your computer components, press down the nozzle in order to blow the dust away
NOTE: When using canned air, make sure that you read and follow the instructions correctly as directed by the manufacturer.
It is also a good idea to wear a mask if possible to stop from breathing in any dust particles.
If you are using an air cooler for your CPU then it is a good time to periodically check that your cooler isn't getting too blocked with dust. If you notice that the cooling fan is getting blocked with dust then simply give it a wipe down or a blast of canned air to help clear it up.
CPU air coolers often make use of elaborate heatpipe and heatsink designs which leave a lot of nooks and crannies open to dust. When cleaning this just make sure that you take care as these components can often be fragile. As a result of this, canned air is often your best bet.
If you are using an AIO cooler or custom loop for your CPU when you want to take a look at the radiator and fans. Ensure that these are free of dust and obstruction as this can affect the cooling performance of the radiator.
Aside from cleaning the dust and debris from your CPU cooler, it is often worth also taking a look at the thermal paste for the cooler. It is a good idea to consider replacing the thermal paste for your cooler every now and then with a quality thermal compound to ensure that heat is being handled as efficiently as possible.
To do this, simply unscrew your cooler from the CPU socket. Make sure to take care when removing the cooler not to get the existing thermal paste on your fingers or on any of the other hardware in the computer.
Once removed use an alcohol wipe to remove the existing thermal paste completely. Whilst the cooler is not installed make sure to give it a visual inspection to make sure it does not contain any chips, scratches, dents etc.
Using some quality thermal paste, apply about a pea sized amount of paste to the cooler and re-install the cooler to your CPU.
Just like your CPU cooler cools your processor, your GPU has its own cooling system to help ensure that it doesn't get too hot.
You should look at inspecting your graphics card every now and then to make sure that the cooling system on your card is not getting blocked with dust.
Ideally you would want to remove the graphics card from your case so that you can give it a proper wipe down with a lint free cloth. If there is any dust left over then its a good idea to give it the old canned air treatment.
Once completed, simply re-install the GPU and you're good to go.
As for the other components inside your computer, all you should really need to do is keep an eye on them and every now and then give us a shot of canned air.
Thankfully a lot of the most commonly used hardware in gaming computers don't really use a lot of moving parts such as fans etc. which means that they are generally less inclined to need cleaning as often.
If you do want to give everything a clean just be sure to take care around the hardware, in particular your motherboard. Your motherboard has a lot of pins and connectors that if you are not careful can bend and break. It is generally not a good idea to use a cloth to wipe down things near your motherboard as the cloth can snag on parts of your motherboard causing damage.
As for your power supply, this does have a fan that operates and can draw in a lot of dust from the underside of your computer. If you have a module power supply you can disconnect the caves attached to the power supply and easily remove your power supply from the case to give it a good clean.
Sometimes it’s not an easy task to remove the PSU so in this instance you can often get away with turning your case on its side and giving us a good dusting with the canned air.
Drivers are critical in ensuring that your hardware runs at its best. Drivers are released by companies for their products to ensure that they are running exactly how they should be.
It is important to ensure that you are using the latest drivers for your hardware as they can have a big impact on how well everything is performing.
A good example of this are the drivers for your graphics card.
When developers release new games they often bring with them a whole host of features and enhancements that were not available in games previously. The issue with this is that sometimes these inclusions in games can cause some problems with graphics card performance.
This is where the GPU manufacturers regularly release updated graphics card drivers that offer improvements and fixes for performance with games. It is critical that you ensure that you are using the latest graphics card drivers as this can be the difference between a laggy game and buttery smooth gameplay.
Just like updating drivers, it is incredibly important that you keep your operating system up to date. This isn't just about the general performance of your computer but also its security.
Updates are regularly released by operating system developers that provide fixes for issues that users may have been experiencing but also fixes for security exploits that may have been available to hackers and the like.
By keeping your operating system up to date you can ensure that your gaming PC has the latest security features and updates available and that your computer is as bug free as possible.
In order to update your operating system you simply need to head over to the settings control panel on your computer and check for the latest updates.
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