According to Filtalert Corp. of Charlottesville, Va., maker of the PuraPC filtration system, dust is the leading cause of computer failure over time. Whether that's true or not, everyone can agree that dust is bad for computer hardware.

Most desktop computers use fans to cool their high- performance processors. When heat is expelled from the box, cooler air is drawn in'and that air is not always clean. Dust tends to collect, especially on moving parts like the fan itself.

Over time, dust can gum up the works, making the fan less efficient and diminishing cooling operations. I have opened computers that had been left on for years and found enough dust to scoop up in my hand.

The PuraPC filtration system is a rather simple concept. The $14 package comes with two fan covers'80- and 92-millimeters in diameter'which easily snap over the intake. The screening material is made of foam with 60 pores per inch, which keeps out most of the dust without re- stricting the air intake.

A CD-ROM comes with the filters. When you install the program, it acts as a clock, keeping track of how long a computer has been filtering dust. Since the program is active only when the computer is powered and filtering is occurring, it provides a good reminder of when you need to install a new filter.

If you've had a perfectly good system mysteriously die, the cause could have been dust buildup inside the box. The PuraPC system is an inexpensive way to help keep your PC from biting the dust.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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