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Once it gets really hot outside, laptops make a lot of noise — and in extreme cases they even break down. That’s why laptop owners should make sure their equipment always gets plenty of air, especially in the summer.
“When the ventilation slots are continually covered it could lead to lasting damage in the computer in the worst case,” said Peter Knaak of Germany’s Stiftung Warentest consumer protection group. The battery also loses its capacity quickly with temperatures over 70 degrees. Therefore, laptops should never be kept in direct sunlight and always on a flat, hard surface.
The first warning for possible overheating is a loud, lasting noise of the fan. Users should at this point avoid using computation-intensive games and programs. That also includes the transparency effect in the Windows operating system, according to Knaak: “They may look sleek but they require a lot of work for the graphic card.” Charging the battery while working on the laptop also creates heat. Those who attach their laptop to the mains should when possible take out the battery in the summer.
A cooling laptop support pad can help. They provide additional head space underneath the computer as models made of aluminium are better at disposing of the heat than plastic equipment. But Knaak doesn’t think too highly of coolers with built-in fans. “You don’t really get that much extra cooling and you have an additional source of noise at your desk,” he said.
Desktop PCs meanwhile usually have fewer problems with heat compared to laptops. Still, in this case as well, the ventilation slots should be kept unblocked and not be situated along a wall.
Knaak warned that removing the case covering during severe heat is actually counter-productive. “The computers are built so that air can be circulated and discharged,” he said. This circulation is destroyed if the case covering is removed.