Cleaning Up Your Computer Before Diablo III

Many players have a computer system that may play Diablo III with no problems considering the wide range of configurations Blizzard Entertainment usually develops games for.

It doesn’t matter if you have a l33t computer, or an older system. All of these computer systems have a common enemy. An enemy more dangerous and unmerciful than Diablo, Mephisto or Baal. That enemy is [you].

That sounds harsh, but be honest. How often do you clean up your computer? This past year, I have cleaned my computer about three times. I have come to the conclusion that I need to clean it up more often than that. Once or twice a month shouldn’t hurt too much.

There is one factor that makes people decline to clean their computers. Which of these examples fits you?

  • Not everyone has a car to take the computer to a gas station to use the air blower.
  • I don’t have a car, and I’m lazy to order an air can online, or going to Radio Shack or other store to buy it.
  • Those darn air cans are too expensive.
  • I don’t have a vacuum cleaner
  • I have a vacuum cleaner, but I’m too busy and lazy.
  • I always forget.

I’m sure there are many other excuses or constraints that prevent players to clean their computer as often as they should. I’ll be nice and think these few are among the best reasons.

In my case, well, going to Best Buy or Radio Shack to buy an expensive air can ain’t too fun, and usually they don’t have enough pressure or last long enough to clean the entire computer parts.

Air cans can also give you a frostbite if not used properly.

You’d be surprised how much dust your computer might have right about now. Go ahead. Open the computer case and check it out. The computer case’s fans — those which bring air into its interior and the one that expels it out of your computer — do they have a thick crust of dust? Likely even your own hair or your pet’s hair. Everyone drops hair one way or the other throughout the month. This hair eventually lands on your floor, and it’s slowly pulled by the computer’s fans. When this hair accumulates on the outer-filters, or the grills, dust tends to clog there and prevent air from going in or out of the computer case efficiently.

This in turn makes the interior of your computer to build up internal heat that’s no longer dissipated.

Take a look at your CPU’s cooler sink and its fan. Are they full of dust and dirt lint? Some of it is also your hair — believe it or not. Check your graphic card. Do you see a crust of dust? Remove the graphic card from the PCI slot. What do you see in the graphic card’s fan? Yup, here’s the source of your video games losing FPS (frames-per-second), or graphic lag, Nvidia / ATI driver crashes, etc. etc.

A few days ago, I experienced some of those symptoms. I opened my computer case, and noticed an unusual amount of dust on the video card. The CPU fan, and the 120mm fans pulling and expelling air were also covered with hair and dust intermingled.

Using napkins to clean up is simply useless, and time consuming, and just silly. Air cans — I’m sorry, these are a waste of time and money. Air compressors can cost over $200, take a lot of space and do a lot of noise.

Pressurized air cans (known as disposable cleaning air dusters) sometimes come in packs of two or three 10-ounce cans. They range $13.59 – $19.99. Once the cans are empty, you need to replace them and need to spend more money. It’s better to invest in something more useful and lasting.

Update: A computer-savvy fan suggested to use the Metro Vacuum ED500 Electric Duster for cleaning. This cleans the computer case, the CPU cooler sink, the 120mm fans, and the graphic card in no time and thoroughly.

After cleaning the computer, I loaded EVGA Precision and the EVGA E-LEET Tuning Tool to monitor my CPU and the graphic card’s temperature.

The Intel Core i7-920 CPU was fluctuating between 83-86 degrees before cleaning the computer. After cleaning the computer you can see in the screenshot below the temperature is now 53 degrees. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the temperature of each individual core, but overall 53 sounds good.

My EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 285 GTX Superclocked was a pancake-griddle, literally. The EVGA Precision tool was reflecting over 60-70 degrees before cleaning the computer. Now as the screenshot below shows, it’s sitting at a nice 44 degrees.

I only have a CPU cooler sink I installed a few years ago, but no VGA cooler. I’ll experiment with that soon.

For now that’s pretty good to keep a healthy computer temperature to play Diablo III, or other CPU / GPU intensive video games without worry about cooking an omelet on your graphic card.

I’ll later share some cooling solutions for graphic cards and CPUs to lower the temperatures beyond what your stock CPU cooler sink and GPU fan do. Clean your computer often. If you experience driver crashes often, that’s a sign you need to. Don’t wait until that happens.

Sanctuary needs you to slay demons.

Note: Edited the product used to clean my computer, and added the Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac suggested by a fan in our comments section. It’s a more appropriate tool to use. Here’s a video showing you the power of this blower.

Tips: You won’t want all this dust floating around indoors. Always clean the computer while outdoors and wearing a mask to cover your mouth and nose. Take a shower and change cloths afterwards. The cloths are contaminated with dust that might end up on your bed or sofa. In the comments, Marco Donghi suggests to hold the 120mm case fans, and the graphic card and CPU cooler sink’s fans before and while cleaning them to prevent them going backwards and causing damage to the rotator’s mechanical parts.

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet’s patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donatives will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round.

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  • Is this a way to help players who don’t know how to clean their computers properly, or is this an ad to make money? Hmm…

  • Ball pump works if your on the cheap side… just saying.

  • Anonymous

    How about … both? ;p

    My gaming experience lately has been poor, and with my computer near me, I can feel the heat radiating out of the 120mm rear fan. Experienced some driver crashes from time to time when playing certain video games. I knew what the problem was, and it took me a few days to search online and decide which solution to use.

    Last time I cleaned the computer, I used those compressed air cans, and they simply do not last long enough for me to clean the computer, the CPU cooler sink, and all the 120mm fans as thorough as I wish. I personally purchased the Toro blower, and cleaned my computer yesterday.

    I have an EVGA motherboard and an EVGA graphic card. I can monitor their temperature with the EVGA precision and the E-LEET Tuning utility software.
    After cleaning the computer with this electric air blower the internal temperature dropped reallly good. No more driver crashes.

    I sincerely want fans waiting for Diablo III to be conscious about the health of their CPU and graphic card. Back in 2004-2006, I burned two ATI RADEON 9800 GT. When the second one was burned, I had no money to buy a new graphic card. I was offline unable to use my computer for about six months before I could afford a good graphic card.

    Back then, in 2006, I bought a used NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GTX to play Burning Crusade beta. Lasted me a few years, but eventually died.

    That’s three video cards dead in a range of 6 years. Now tell me if I care about helping players. I experienced first hand the consequences of not cleaning up my computer as often as needed, and there are many who procrastinate doing this vital step to keep your computer parts healthy.

    Concerning the “ad to make money” comment, all ads you see in the website are to make money. Make no mistake — it’s not a lot of money. Those are affiliate programs, not sponsored ads.

    FYI, I am unemployed, unable to work, and living in a shelter for the homeless. An affiliate program barely helps having a living. Amazon — less than $50 a month normally.

  • corey salomon

    Don’t use a leaf blower. Get a datavac. Clean static free air for all your blowing needs. It’ll pay for itself after a few months.

    http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-ED500-500-Watt-Electric/dp/tags-on-product/B001J4ZOAW

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Corey. Edited the article to add your suggestion. A bit expensier, but safe. I couldn’t find anything worthwhile (other than air cans), and was running out of time. I didn’t want the graphic card to meltdown.

  • I like to keep my fans still while applying compressed air. You never know which way the fan is moving, and I think going ‘in reverse’ may damage them. Just use your fingers with the CPU fan, and insert a screwdriver between the blades of the PSU fan. This probably depends from the force applied by my air compressor, you surely don’t need to do it with a compressed air can.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a good tip. The fans go really fast when you put an air blower on them.

  • trymstaur

    keep you vacuum cleaner away from the computer……. jeez thats like computers 101