Keeping you custom gaming PC free from dust and other debris is integral to the performance of your system. The effects of build-up on the key components of a computer can weigh down the system even at lower workloads. Routine maintenance is the ideal method of keeping it clean because it is best to not ever be in a situation where dust is causing problems.
Why keep it clean?
Excess debris can accumulate on important cooling components like fans and heatsinks. This dust acts as an insulator over the parts, which keeps the heat inside instead of allowing it to disperse. An overheating system will both operate more slowly and be at increased risk for damage.
Keep it routine.
Routine maintenance is not difficult nor overly time consuming. Depending on the size of your case and the amount of debris inside, the process could be as short as 15 to 30 minutes. You will need a screwdriver, air duster, micro fiber cloth, and possibly a vacuum with a hand-held attachment.
Begin by removing the side panel with the screwdriver. Often, these screws are only hand tight and will not require the screwdriver. Once you have completed this, you can begin using the vacuum to remove the largest deposits of dust and debris. Typically, the area which draws in the most air will be dirtiest. Be sure to touch something metal to discharge any static electricity you may have before touching any components inside of your custom PC.
Next, use the air duster to blow away the settled dust on the interior of the system. Pay special attention to the fans and heatsinks, or radiators if you use liquid cooling. This will not remove all of the problematic debris. For the finishing touches, use the microfiber cloth. Additionally, use the cloth to remove any dust which fell to other parts of the case while cleaning the components.
Stay on top.
Keep in mind, this process should be repeated at least every three months. If you live in a dustier location, consider the process more often than every three months. There are no negative drawbacks to maintaining a clean custom PC. It will look better and run more smoothly.