Does Dust Affect PC Performance?

Yes, dust does affect the performance of your PC and its hardware. When dust buildup gets to a certain point, it will start heavily affecting not just the performance of your computer, but also the safety of your rig overall. 

Hello, my name is Ty Robinson. I have been in the professional tech field for years and in my own life for even longer. The one thing you never want to happen to your PC is a decrease in the performance you worked hard for and purchased parts to get. 

Dust is a silent killer in a PC, it’ll sneak up on you if you don’t pay close attention. Just using your computer exposes it to dust, so there is no way to escape it. So it is best just to stay vigilant, clean often, and do what you can to minimize dust intake. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dust will affect Performance and Airflow
  • Clean dust out to improve performance and keep your hardware clean and safe
  • Take precautions to limit dust intake

Dust in Your PC and How It Impacts Performance

Dust in small quantities is nothing to worry about. But when it begins to accumulate, is when issues can begin to arise. Dust can weigh down, and clog the components in your PC, like the fans, constricting airflow, and the GPU fans, decreasing speeds.

The airflow in your computer is crucial to its functioning properly. The more strain you put on your computer, the harder it works, and the hotter it gets. If the airflow is being constricted by dust buildup, your computer is liable to overheating, and it hinders its performance overall.

Your computer will do its very best to try and manage temps, but using your computer when it can’t properly ventilate, could put it at risk of overheating. In most cases, your PC will shut itself off before it gets to the point where any hardware is seriously damaged, but it can wear on it.

Below is an image of the optimal airflow of a computer.  

Photo Credit: Reddit

If your GPU is working hard and trying to cool itself, but can’t because the airflow is limited by the amount of dust build-up sitting on its fan blades, then the GPU will go through the safety precaution of slowing itself down, to avoid overheating. Inhibiting the performance greatly.

How to Limit Dust Intake

Limiting the amount of dust your computer takes in, will help greatly in the long run since you won’t have to clean out your computer as often, and will avoid taking in copious amounts of dust during usage. 

  • Raise your computer off the floor: Lifting your computer a few inches off of the floor will help limit dust intake. Leaving it directly on the floor will give dust easy access to the airways once the intake fans kick up, sucking in whatever dust is on the floor near your PC. 
  • Fan dust filters: Magnetic Fan dust filters sit on top of your intake and outtake fans and give you an extra layer of protection that can be easily removed and cleaned while keeping dust at bay.
  • Clean around your PC often: Vacuuming the floor by your computer, and dust the desk and area frequently. Cleaning up around the computer, and keeping it dust-free, is a surefire way to keep your computer clean on the inside. 

Cleaning Your PC

I recommend that you check, and clean out your PC every few months. The build-up of dust is gradual, so checking in every so often, and cleaning it before the dust gets out of hand is the best practice for keeping your PC in tip-top shape. 

When it comes to cleaning the fans and dusting out your computer, compressed air and a small brush are your best friends.

  • Unplug your device, and bring it over to a flat surface. 
  • Try not to touch the internal components directly.
  • Use the compressed air canister to dislodge any loose dust and spray it out of the fan.
  • Some more stubborn caked-on dust can be removed by the bristles of a small, soft brush, like a toothbrush.
  • If you start doing this regularly, it will be easier and easier to clean out.

Final Thoughts

Dust in your PC is an inevitability, but if left unchecked, can extremely hinder your PC’s performance by constricting it with hot air, forcing it to slow down so as to not overheat. Cleaning out your computer will prevent this from happening.

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