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7 Steps to Reduce Your Laptop’s Fan Noise & Increase Speed

7 Steps to Reduce Your Laptop’s Fan Noise & Increase Speed

It can’t be helped: dust builds up in desktops and laptops. There is no getting around it, no matter how clean your area is. All those dust particles you see every now and then in the air get in through your vents and build up into a nasty web of dust.

All of which is why your fan runs fast and loud.

Here are some crucial, easy steps you can take (right now!) to silence your laptop’s fans, maximize your speed/performance, and ensure your laptop lasts for a few more years.

1. Check yo’ temp

Before we do anything involving taking apart your rig/system, even before going to town with a can of compressed air, It is essential that you download a program that monitors your heat levels.

Why?

There’s no way of knowing if your heat temperatures (unless your laptop’s bios mention it) have increased if you don’t know what those temperatures are in the first place.

A handy app that does just that is called RealTemp. It keeps track of your processors’ temps–no muss, no fuss. It monitors these temps in real time and lets you see these numbers in your tray. Record them and keep them close.

It is also important to know the system’s hardware and performance. On a PC, press CTRL+ALT+DEL, then click “task manager” and move to “performance tab” to see the resources (processor, ram, storage) your laptop is using. Are they touching the top bar, 100% usage? If so, your laptop needs some treatment and hardware/software upgrades.

Before moving ahead with upgrades (RAM, storage, etc), it is important to know your system’s hardware specifications.

  • Processor (CPU)?
  • Memory (RAM)? DDDR 2/3/4? RAM’s frequency?
  • Storage (HDD, SDD) is installed?

You can use a wonderful free app called CPU-Z, which will tell you all about your laptop’s hardware. A small yet precise app.

2. Defrag!

When was the last time you defragged your laptop? If you have Windows 8 and 8.1, it’s done for you automatically. If you don’t know what defragging does, it’s sort of a digital “cleanse through” of your entire system. Clearing away the cobwebs, so to speak.

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A lot of times the files you delete, switch around to new folders, and change the names of leave little traces of “original versions” behind. These bits and bobs of left-behind traces add up over time.

Understand it like this. You have a 250 GB storage and it’s filled up to 200 GB. These used spaces are not lined properly in rows and columns but are scattered throughout the hard disk, which takes a longer time to access the file. When defragged, these used spaces get in-line (in rows & columns) so the system can now quickly access it as they are placed at the proper place for the system to access. I have been defragging since Windows 98, XP & 7. Luckily, with Windows 10, I didn’t need to as it’s fast as the cheetah. That’s how fast it is.

Defragging your system once a month or so (if it isn’t set to automatic) removes these little traces and gives your system’s HDD/RAM a swift kick in the pants with a brand new “refresh.”

3. Take apart the rig

Now that we’ve determined temp levels & defragged the system, it’s time to crack open your rig. Depending on your brand, manufacturer, version it’s best to look online for directions on opening up your precious.

Overall, though, most people will be doing the same thing: screwing the back/bottom and removing the protective cover.

Once we’re inside, it’s time to take a can of compressed air and go to town. It’s best to burst a spray or two of air, rather than one long continuous stream of air, as it’s safer on your mechanical instruments (which can actually be ruined under long streams of air, which eventually liquidize and “melt” your components).

Now, this next part is important: Go to YouTube with your laptop’s make and model, and research “how to open ***laptop-model-no***”.

I cannot stress the importance of this because everyone’s models are important. I have an Acer Aspire 5745G laptop. The components and placement of hardware are drastically different from someone who has an Acer V7.

Everyone’s rigs are different. However, the dust bunnies and collections of gunk, dust, and what-not will generally be the same. No matter your setup, eliminate that pestering dust with a quick spray of your canned air. If you need to use a brush, do it but carefully.

4. Clean inside-out

Did you know that, according to a 2002 report, some toilets are cleaner than keyboards? I also heard one time that telephones were dirtier than toilets. Gross.

How much bacteria, grime, and dirt lurks on your fingertips each and every day? Just imagine all those dirty dust-mites and dead skin-cells smeared over your keyboard and mouse. How many microscopic bugs are we crushing on a daily basis as they scurry across our keyboard? A truly important question is this: how often do we put our fingers near our mouth? So. Keeping a clean keyboard is important for your health, right?

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Once the laptop base (top & bottom) is out, it is now wise to depart each part (tip: take pictures and/or videos, so you don’t forget which part was where) and clean it properly with a brush and coffee filter. Make your baby as new as when it was shipped.

This also has psychological benefits: having a cleaner “station” helps me feel more professional and in control of my choices. Is there a downside to feeling more professional? I don’t think so.

5. Apply thermal paste to CPU

For those who don’t know, thermal paste is ESSENTIAL towards maintaining and cooling the CPU. “Platinum” thermal pastes like Artic Silver 5 can keep your CPU processor a nice 0-20 degrees cooler.

Yes, 0-20 degrees does make a difference–especially when you’re gaming, rendering graphics, using software like Photoshop and AutoCAD. Without thermal paste, your CPU will overheat. It’s as simple as that.

And, when it gets overheated, the fan will become louder, performance will get slow and the computer will start to lag & hang.

I mentioned AS5 earlier for a good reason. Depending on who you ask, it’s the most efficient paste there is, and I agree. Amazon agrees with me (and we all know that Amazon doesn’t lie). At least, 5K reviews & 5 star ratings don’t.

If you want to see a step-by-step guide to applying thermal paste, check out this helpful video.

Here’s the before and after thermal paste snapshot (test is done via Prime95 small FFTs & RealTemp) for my 6-year-old Acer Aspire 5745G laptop having intel i5-430m processor.

Before (thermal paste change & cleaning)

heat_test_before

    After (thermal paste change & cleaning)

    heat_test_after
      • See the difference? That’s a noticeable 10 degrees’ decrease (lower is better) and distance to TJMax has increased (higher is better) a lot.
      • Hear the difference? Earlier it sounded like an old-truck-engine but now it’s smooth like the jaguar. Thankfully, I can now hear sound from my laptop’s audio. It feels as the fan noise has reduced to almost half, just like the old days.

      6. Add a SSD disk

      It’s a fact that SSDs have been “obliterating” HDDs for the past few years.

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      SSDs are better than HDDs. That’s fact. Most of the laptop can handle SSD installation unless it is more than a decade old. The only requirement, I believe, is the connectors on the motherboard should match with connectors of SSD.

      To see for yourself just which SSD has consistently outranked them, the Samsung 850 EVO (that’s the one I replaced HDD with on my Acer 5745G laptop) has been #1 for a number of years. Twelve thousand reviews can’t be wrong.

      I never thought that SSD would make such a huge difference in speed and fan noise. I cannot think of using HDD now, not even for servers and hosting. I have never been happier with this little change. And, I am also hoping for a tech-future where we can shift between laptop/computer like we do with smartphones, with all data in the cloud.

      7. Upgrade OS

      It may sound untrue to many but after upgrading from Windows 7 to a completely fresh installation of Windows 10 has done wonders for my Acer Aspire 5745G. The start, hibernate, shutdown, opening/closing of files/documents have become insanely fast now.

      This could be because I upgraded Aspire 5745G’s RAM from 4GB to 8GB, replaced HDD with SDD, changed thermal paste of processor and graphic card, cleaned laptop inside-out. But, undoubtedly having a fresh installation of Windows 10 rather than an upgrade from Win 7 or 8 will increase the laptop speed (that’s based on experience on using these Win95, Win98, WinME, WinXP, WinVista, Win7, Win8 and finally Win10 over last 15 years). These changes drastically improved my laptop performance, speed and fan noise. I was about to drop the idea of buying a new (expensive) laptop.

      I can pledge that upgrading to Windows 10 was a very wise decision. It’s faster than all Windows OS (8, 7, Vista, XP, 98) that I have used to date.

      Tip: Consider a desktop

      I say this for one reason only: desktops let you use up to eight fans to keep your entire system cool, running smoothly, and with as few hiccups as possible when it comes to heat dissipation and dust build up.

      And it’s easy to clean, open and upgrade/change hardware.

      (Not to mention that, on the whole, desktops are much more powerful than laptops.)

      Generally, the common (and most effective) fan set up is:

      • Two intake fans in the front
      • An exhaust fan on top
      • An exhaust fan in back

      Quite simply: fans push heat through your system.

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      On the level, you can use whatever fan setup in your PC that you want. Just keep this in mind: heat rises.

      That’s why an outtake/exhaust fan (which pushes hot air OUT of your system) on the top of your desktop is a smart choice for keeping your baby’s insides fresh and cool.

      If you want maximum temperatures from fans, using minimum energy (and sounds)…check out Linus’ tech tips on YouTube for all your fan needs (like which fans to get, how many fans do you need, what the “best” fans are, and more!)

      Sure, the videos are dated, but guess what? The fans (and info) aren’t.

      Yes, I like desktop fans. However, for people with laptops, you can’t go wrong with laptop coolers!

      Laptop coolers are just that: they sit on your lap and cool your baby down.

      Finally, after you have done all of the above, run Prime95 (only with small FFTs) & RealTemp again. Compare the new temperature levels against the pre-clean levels. See the difference?

      Because everybody’s system is different, I highly suggest you browse the internet for helpful videos that will guide you step by step of the way. If you aren’t careful, the steps you take in cleaning your laptop may affect your performance for the worse. That is why I highly recommend watching videos, so you can see how other people do it and follow them step-by-step, even pausing and going back if needed.

      Featured photo credit: Luis Llerena via stocksnap.io

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      Published on November 19, 2020

      15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

      15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

      When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

      But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

      While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

      Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

      What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

      Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

      • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
      • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
      • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

      A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

        While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

        The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

        Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

        Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

          Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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          In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

          Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

          Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

            One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

            In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

            Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

            A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

            The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

            Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

            Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

            Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

            The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

            Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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            Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

              If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

              This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

              Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

              Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

              For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

              One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

              Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

              Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                  If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                  Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                  A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                  We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                  Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                  Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                    Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                    Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                    Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                    Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                      Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                      In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                      Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                      A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                      The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                      The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                      Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                      Bottom Line

                      There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                      Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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