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Very tiny metal particles in case - should I be concerned?

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  • New Build
  • Cases
  • Tiny
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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March 4, 2011 12:22:44 PM

Hi, I have noticed in many of my PC builds that there are often tiny shiny particles of metal inside the case. These look like the glitter that would come off a greeting card. They are not big metal filings--they are like dust and virtually invisible unless you catch them glinting in the light.

My suspicion is that these metal bits flake off during metal-to-metal contact while installing components in the case, e.g. from screw heads where the screwdriver touches the screw, or maybe from when the case was machined at the factory. Whenever I have my PC case open and I see one, I wipe or vacuum it up, but it is impossible to get 100% of them.

Maybe I am being paranoid, but should I be concerned? Has anyone else noticed these before?

My PC is working fine, and I have never had an issue before (knock on wood), but I just have a new build and so I guess I'm looking to put my mind at ease here. :) 

More about : tiny metal particles case concerned

March 4, 2011 12:39:53 PM

New builds will sometimes have weird smells (oil burning off in PSU, thermal grease breaking in) and some flakes from installation due to you installing stuff, and from moving parts shedding particles on them.

The latter should be much less if you use higher quality components, the former will may occur with any PC.

If it's persistent, then it may be a sign you have some moving part grinding somewhere which would be bad.
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March 4, 2011 12:46:11 PM

banthracis said:
New builds will sometimes have weird smells (oil burning off in PSU, thermal grease breaking in) and some flakes from installation due to you installing stuff, and from moving parts shedding particles on them.

The latter should be much less if you use higher quality components, the former will may occur with any PC.

If it's persistent, then it may be a sign you have some moving part grinding somewhere which would be bad.


I am using quality components, and so I think they are due to installing stuff. I hard my case open the other day and I think I could see maybe 3-5 of them, if the light was falling just right. I don't think I have any any grinding parts: all my fans and PSU sound fine.

I guess my main concern is not that something is grinding, but more that something will short out... Should I be worried, or is this just new build jitters? :) 
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Best solution

March 4, 2011 6:24:58 PM

Some metallic dust won't cause a short. You need something to actually bridge two pins for that to happen, and it has to be of lower resistance than current circuits. You could cover a PCB in metallic dust and still have a low chance of a short due to all the air in the dust coating.
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April 7, 2011 12:21:40 AM

Best answer selected by loosley.
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