Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

As with all computers, keeping them well ventilated and clean helps with heating problems. Do that and your mini tower should be just fine.

Leo, I'm thinking about buying a mini-tower PC because they meet my needs and they are relatively inexpensive. However, I've heard that one of their drawbacks is cooling due to the restricted airflow in a compact case and therefore the increased risk of overheating. How big of a problem is this really? I anticipate keeping this mini tower PC on most of the time but certainly not the air conditioner in the room in which the PC will sit. Where I live, the days and nights can be warm to very warm a large part of the year. Will simply pointing a room fan at this PC do enough to avoid the overheating problem. Also, does running hotter mean shorter lifespan for this type of PC? I would assume that laptops have the same issue.

In this excerpt from Answercast #38, I look at possible problems with heating in a mini-laptop.

Laptop heat

Laptops actually deal with this problem slightly differently. They use components that are specifically designed to use less power and therefore generate less heat.

  • They still generate heat, but it's actually less heat than the same component in a desktop would.

Mini desktops

In the case of a mini desktop, or a mini tower like you're talking about, in general, you really don't have too much to worry about. The recommendation I have is simply that you make sure that the thing has appropriate ventilation.

Certainly, a room fan would help. But in general, the mini towers really don't have any more problems (or certainly, I haven't seen any more problems) in mini towers as compared to regular desktops.

Airflow is good

As always more airflow, more cool airflow, is better. But for the most part:

  • As long as you keep the air vents clear.

  • The machine itself free of dust and debris.

  • And allow for some movement of air across or through the machine.

  • Using a fan if you like.

For the most part, I think you'll be just fine.

End of Answercast #38 Back to – Audio Segment

Article C5629 - July 27, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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