Overheating Desktop Repair

An old desktop was brought in that was randomly powering off. A quick look inside revealed some clogged up vents, fans and heatsinks. Even if overheating was not the main problem it was worth a clean!

dusty heatsink and fans clogged up vents




We cleaned up the insides with a small brush and compressed air duster. We could have ran some temperature diagnostic software but the unit was powering off so frequently that a quick test showed that the cleaning had been successful.

all clean clean vents



Intel Core i5-3570 Gaming Upgrade

A customer wanted an old gaming machine upgraded. It was running a core 2 duo and Windows XP with 2GB RAM. The Tower was an Antec NSK 4 series which was in good condition and is a pretty good tower so we decided to reuse it. The DVD writer was also working fine and we kept the existing 1TB hard drive as a secondary drive as it had all the customers data and meant there was no need to start transferring all the files.

I recommended the 2GB XFX Radeon HD 7850 Graphics Card as, in my experience, they tend to perform better for gaming at this price point than the Nvidia cards. It is quite a long card but it fitted in safely without having to remove any drive bays.

I also upgraded the PSU as, although the existing PSU was working fine, it fell below the recommended specification for the graphics card. The Coolermaster PSU’s are pretty reliable and offer good value for money.

The full spec;


  • XFX Radeon HD 7850 Graphics Card 2GB (FX-785A-CNJC)
  • Coolermaster Elite 500W PSU
  • 8GB (Kit) DDR3 PC3-12800 / 8-8-8-24 /Unbuffered / NON-ECC / DDR3-1600 / 1.5V
  • Asus P8H77-M LE MATX Desktop Motherboard – Intel H77 Express Chipset
  • Intel Core i5-3570 3.40 GHz Processor
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA600 – 7200rpm 1TB
  • Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)

Check out Tom’s Hardware for a full Windows 8 review here.

Alesis Masterlink ML-9600 Hard Drive Upgrade

A mastering studio needed the hard drive upgrading in their Alesis Masterlink. Unfortunately, as these units are quite old now, the maximum hard disk size they will accept is 32GB, and it proved impossible to source a drive with a capacity lower than 40GB. This is not a major issue, however, as a number of drives will allow you to limit their capacity to 32GB with a jumper setting. The only problem was that the lowest capacity drive that we could source that supported this feature was a 160GB Seagate Barracuda. Disassembling the unit is pretty straight forward, firstly removing the rack ears then the screws that hold the cover in place. There is a post on this procedure here.

The only thing to note is that the drive needs to have a jumper set to ‘Master’ as well as the ‘limit to 32GB capacity’ jumper, so if anyone is attempting this themselves you may need an extra jumper as drives are often only shipped with one.


Clevo Laptop Repair

This Clevo laptop was brought in as it was not starting up. It was running windows 7 home premium 32 bit and was locking up just before the desktop should have loaded. I ran the standard windows start up repair routine from the hard drive and it reported that it could not repair the problem, however, windows then decided to load properly. After a few tests all seemed to be working fine. I checked the windows event manager and it did not show any issues. I then scanned the hard drive for errors which ran fine. As a final test I took the hard drive out and installed it on the test bench to run a full diagnostic on the drive, checking for read and write errors. I also ran memtest86 for a while to check the RAM was not showing any errors and gave the fan and air vent a clean as it was looking a bit dusty.