Tell me this is not the worst cooling setup in the United States

So about a month ago, my mother's old Celeron computer died of a failed hard drive, and while she initially insisted on paying Dell $700 for a new machine, instead I built her a new AMD triple-core machine for just over $300 to replace it.

The machine works fine; however, I am not terribly optimistic about its future. Seems that my mother has a desk with a tiny space that she INSISTS is for a computer, even though that obviously wasn't its original intent (there used to be a couple of small shelves where the computer is in the picture below, but somebody removed them.

I mean ... maybe it was meant for a computer back in 1996 or whenever it was made, back when it was a big deal that original Pentium processors might need a CPU fan at all instead of just a passive heatsink. But having two and a half inches of clearance on the side and top, and maybe an inch of clearance at the back (basically, the clearance is however long the rigid part of the plugs are) does not strike me as a very good situation. Thankfully, there's no graphics card to worry about generating extra heat, but I am still uneasy.

Yes, I know that having a smaller case would probably help, but I built the machine under the assumption that there was no way in hell she would end up trying to put it there.
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  1. I hope you sold the old one off on craigslist for like $10. (even as it would be) I just got done selling a celeron P4 2.0 gigahertz for $15 and the guy who bought it was super happy to have a computer in general.

    I'm glad that my parents are the reason I'm a part of this forum in the first place, it was my dad who initially taught me how to build computers, (and watching over the years) and he has been pretty much since you could. If I gave them a piece of advise now about comps they'd easily listen to it understand its merits and probably do it.

    I wouldn't want something stuck somewhere like that. You could try cutting a hole in the back about where the system fan would be and backing it off from the wall a bit. It should still be mostly fine.
  2. My desk has a spot like that for my case as well. It's open in the back for ventilation, however. My younger brother just finished up his first machine last fall, and he cut a 6" hole in the back of his desk with a hole saw so the 120 in the rear can breathe. His Phenom II 545 idles at around 22-24C on air.
  3. If you must leave the PC there, the only reasonable choice is to cut out some of the back.

    I would suggest a hole larger than you need for the back fan. Let the cable connections stick out the back and you will have a little more room to move the case back.
  4. By backing "It" from the wall I mean the desk. Otherwise it'd probably be just as stifled.
  5. Nope, she refuses to cut a hole in the back because "it ought to be fine where it is." (She means this in the sense that she feels entitled to have it work no matter where she puts it, because computers cost so much that they should be guaranteed to function under any conditions. For reference, when the hard drive her old computer died after about 6 years, she said she couldn't believe they made something that broke so quickly and there should be a law making them buy her a new computer.)

    Anyway, cutting a hole in the desk was the second thing I thought of -- first was setting it up to the side of the desk where there was plenty of room on all sides. That's actually what I originally did, but she went and moved it from there to where you see it now.

    I guess I'm just frustrated that it seems pretty hopeless to fix it the "right" way due to stubbornness, so maybe I was looking for anyone who had a story about a machine that defied all odds and actually ran OK in a space like that. Ahh well.

    Oh, Dmitry -- I didn't sell the whole machine, but I did find someone who wanted the CPU, which was a weird socket 479 processor. Rest of the machine was junk -- 2x 256MB RAM, a 200W PSU, a proprietary motherboard and a slimline case. I left it on top of the dumpster instead of throwing it in, but I doubt anyone wanted it.
  6. My Gf has a P4 in a similar cave, no end of heat problems, I salvaged and upgraded my old x2 athlon setup for her, but can she be bothered to put her stuff from one hd to a new one?........but complains when WoW plays slow with no fps,
    Think its a woman thing man, other than loading it with fans (then she can complain about the noise :P ) I cant think of anything to help you :(
  7. I think I got it!

    Make some super air ducts to divert the exhaust out and away from the intakes!

    Might actually work, and you could keep them nice and covert so she has no idea they're there.
  8. Well assuming she does nothing strenuous on it (I guess she doesn't, just email, internet and word process) it probably wont be a big issue. It certainly is not somewhere I would ever recommend having a PC, but given the little real work the computer will do I would not lose any sleep over it
  9. just put the fans on extra high she'll get tired of the noise then tell her the fans are running high because the space where she has the pc has no airflow move the pc and put the fans lower
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