No matter how careful you are, the cooling fan of a laptop always gets piles of dirt accumulated inside it. And if you are using a desktop computer, then almost all the parts of the computer case are going to get more or less dust settled on them. This is why we should keep cleaning the internals of notebook or desktop computers every few months. Keeping them clean ensures good air circulation and satisfactory cooling of the various components.
Another thing that we also should change every year or so is the thermal paste because it might get dry and stop working. The thermal paste the the thermally conductive paste that is put between the CPU, GPU and the heat sink. It makes it easy for the heat to flow from the outer metallic layer of the processor to the heat sink which is then cooled by a cooling fan.
Whenever we change the thermal paste or clean the dust off the cooling fans, we should ensure that we have done a good job and now it is being cooled efficiently. This is done by running the PC, putting the CPU or GPU under stress and then checking the temperature of the CPU or GPU whatever the case may be.
In order to stress the CPU, we can use a small freeware tool called CPU Grab Ex. It is a portable application and requires no installation. The same package contains executables for both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions of Windows operating system.
In the CPU Grab Ex, we have to select how much of the CPU cores are to be put on stress – the default value selected by the application being 50%. We can use a slider control to change the stress level. Be careful when picking more than 50% value as it might cause the computer to become unresponsive.
There are two options for starting the stress process – Grab or Grab only the selected cores. If we pick “Grab” then it will stress all the cores of the CPU. In the second case, it will stress only the selected cores of the CPU. It will show the usage level of each of the cores along with a graphical chart. Similarly, if your GPU supports OpenCL then it can also stress the GPU cores.
CPU Grab Ex is very easy to use and can quickly load the CPU cores in seconds. It is an ideal tool for testing how the CPU is behaving under stress. For example, a faulty CPU might end up giving a BSOD. Also if your CPU temp is going very high, then you should consider replacing the CPU heat sink assembly, thermal paste or both.
You can download CPU Grab Ex from https://www.the-sz.com/products/cpugrabex/.