Weekend Open Forum: How often do you open your PC case?

By on August 30, 2013, 6:30 PM
desktop, case, computer, pc, enclosure

When I first started getting into the hobbiest side of PCs, I'd open my case at least a few times a week -- in fact, it was something of a necessity because I could only get the thing to boot by clearing the CMOS on its budget Abit motherboard. Although I still count myself as a PC enthusiast, I hardly ever slide the top off my HAF XB and when I do, it's generally to clean or occasionally to troubleshoot, but rarely to upgrade.

There are many reasons why I don't tinker inside my computer as much these days, not least of which because it's simply less novel to me. I'm also pretty content with my setup as it is, so I don't really have a reason to start fixing things that aren't broken. It's the same for many of our staffers -- some of which don't even have an enthusiast-grade desktop anymore. How about you? How often do you open your case?

HAF XB image via Overclock.net

User Comments: 46

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1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Unless upgrading parts, about 3 or 4 times a year for cleaning.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

About once a month on average, but recently upgraded my video card to a gtx 780 and new motherboard that was compatible with it (my 2 yr old Z68 mb didn't like the 780 even with bios updatewhich didn't take). Also changed my case so that I can see inside it instead of just side fans. So Ive got a renewed interest in showing it off after just spending a grand on it lol.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Once every six to eight months, or every time I start the thing...To clear the CMOS so it will boot properly. Interestingly, it just so happens to be an Abit mobo (NF-8).

EEatGDL said:

Unless upgrading something, twice a year for cleaning.

Guest said:

Every three months to clean the case filters, brush off fan blades and admire my handiwork and choice of parts.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

About once a week at least.

Dusty semi-rural environment, and my chassis is decked out with very fine mesh DEMCIflex filters. The ones covering the push+pull high cfm fans attached to the radiator especially benefit from a regular clean.

2 people like this | ikesmasher said:

Recently a few times a week, got a new case, graphics card, still contemplating between finishing decking out my case or getting a PSU (for when I upgrade the rest of my PC next summer)...

I enjoy messing with my hardware more than I enjoy gaming. Its too bad that I dont get more oppurtunities to do it :P

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

4-6 times a year for cleaning, more if I am showing off what I have in my case (since I don't have a windowed side panel).

5 people like this | yRaz yRaz said:

This is a really interesting question for a weekend open forum. I honestly probably open it once a week. I've lost interest in gaming so I pretty much have a $2500 paperweight on my desk. I usually do nothing but look at how cool the stuff I wastes money on is.

Gnome Gnome said:

I used to open my case all the time. A lot less these days since external storage solutions have changed so much (big NAS drives). Seems like hardware doesn't change as fast as it used to so not as much need for constant changing.

After reading this, I gotta admit I felt bad about how little I clean the inside of my computer. :)

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I open mine around 6 times a year for a full cleaning job normally.

cmbjive said:

Speaking of opening the case I have to clean mine out. Damn cats, dogs, and all other types of air particulates.

JC713 JC713 said:

Havent opened mine laptop since 2010. I will open it in a few days though to add in RAM.

TheDreams TheDreams said:

I haven't opened mine since 2009 XD until about 2 weeks ago, will post pictures later of my dusty discovery :P

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Used to open it quite often, now only to clean it on occasion.

Guest said:

On my current rig a I7 920 I've done periodic upgrades in the course of its lifetime, between video card upgrades and ssd install id say in the last 5 years ive done upgrade about 4 times, other than that about 3-4 times a year to clean the filters and the inside of the case..I dont get ot enjoy it as much as id like to anymore..but soon getting new mobo, i7 haswell and ram..sticking with my xfired 6970s for about a couple more months til I upgrade them to 7970s most probably

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

About once a month for cleaning. I have an HAF X case which is one big and heavy mother, so that alone discourages me from cleaning more often. When I do my upgrades, it's more a complete rebuild than an upgrade, so that's about once very 2-3 years.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I'm impressed, looks like we have a lot of hygiene conscious PC users around here. Like many of you I tend to open my case 2-4 times a year, but the cleaning is usually a byproduct of an upgrade.

misor misor said:

A. every 2 months:

1. intel i3-530, dh55tc mobo, palit 9800gt 1gb ddr3 NVidia gpu, thermaltake 630w smartpower psu in an antec one case, windows 7 home premium x64

2. intel Pentium dual core g630, ecs h61h2-m12 mobo, intel gpu, 700w generic psu in a generic case, windows 7 home premium x64

3. intel i5-3570k, asrock z77 extreme4, intel gpu, seasonic M12II 650W psu in a HAF932 case, windows 7 home premium x64.

b. every year:

intel e5400, ecs g41t-m mobo, evga g210 512mb ddr3 NVidia gpu, intex accopia 600w in a generic case, windows 7 home premium x64.

c. not yet cleaned as I don't know how:

acer 4720 laptop with intel core 2 duo 1.6ghz, 2gb ddr2-800 ram, windows vista home premium x86 dual boot windows 7 home premium x64.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Least once a month, Lots of filters on the system intakes, I normally clean the filters though at least once a week.

Lurker101 said:

Every 2 months to clean it

FLWrd said:

You open your computer for troubleshooting? Mmm...

I've got a Macbook and in two years, I've opened it twice: once to expand memory and install an SSD in the optical bay, and later to expand memory further. Both times, it wasn't really dirty.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

My case is open 24/7, you see... I dumped the wrong case cover into the garbage three years ago and since then my computer has been working all day without a cover, how cool is that?

fimbles fimbles said:

5 or 6 times a year, or whenever my antec 1200 dust filters looks dusty, Which is quite often with 12 fans running 24 hours a day!

Complete tear down, dust and rebuild every 12 months or so.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

My computer lays on its side and I haven't closed it in about 2 years. I look inside every now and then just to admire the spinning fans and glowing lights. Other than that I clean when I upgrade.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Every couple of months. The Phantom 410 doesn't have fantastic air filters.

Spykezxp Spykezxp said:

For my computer - every 4 to 6 months. Its usually for an upgrade (when I can afford something new) and also cleaning. For clients computers that come in for "repair" - probably once or twice a week. It amazes me how dirty some people let their computers get, but I'm not surprised (with a common person they do not know that they have to pop it open and clean every couple months). Should remember to take pictures of the dust buildup on these computers so I can post them.

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

Let the dust bunnies out every 6 months or so. Maybe a couple of times more each year.. occasional hardware upgrade (graphics, memory, storage) and I play with the dust bunnies when I do that .. rather than sandbox, I drop in a reformatted drive to try out an OS .. and I keep my original OS disk inside the case so I can find it, so I need to open the case for an OS repair.

My trick for catching dust bunnies.. put a small hole into a cap from a jug of milk ... thread it with a small diameter clear hose (like $0.29 @ foot) 12"-18" long ... place jug cap on open nozzle of vacuum cleaner and have at it (some vacuums let you open a small relief hole which keep motor from straining) or just put more holes in the milk jug cap. Suction is not excessive and the small diameter means you can clean fan blades, etc.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

I've had mine, 2nd hand, since 12/23/12 & I opened it once but nothing to clean. Guess I'm fortunate.

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

About 3 times a year aside from upgrades. I tweak cable management every so often as well. I have a lot of crap in my case so I have to stay on top of it when I add new stuff.

BigMack70 said:

About once a month just to dust/vacuum everything out.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pretty much only when I upgrade, the dust filters on the 600T work pretty well and I don't live in a dusty environment anyway.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Once or twice a month.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I must admit I haven't done it in a almost 6/7 months now (since I haven't even had time to turn it on). But I usually opened it for cleaning every 6 weeks or so.

tmcclelland47 tmcclelland47 said:

Since my hard drive's power connector is getting finicky, pretty much every time I boot it. So about once or twice every few days.

Guest said:

2x a year then blow and suck every dust inside.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow... I'm a bad person xD

Unless I'm installing upgrades... I Never open them up, and I build my machines so they don't need upgrading for years.

Latest PC has a GTX 780 and i7 4770k so I probably won't be opening it for a good 2-3 years xD.

To be fair, the case is a Corsair 600T Special White Edition so I can see the cool lighting effects and if there is any dust build up without actually having to open it up and the case is fully filtered so it doesn't really get dust build up anywhere.


Just checked my old pc which used a Cooler Master Cosmos S case, that hasn't been opened in a good 3 years and there's a light layer of dust on the PSU and the radiator has got a bit on but it's actually not to bad! Considering its been on, a good 12 hours a day, everyday, since it was built.

Guest said:

Once a year, not very obsessed with this. It's just a box.

DuhWookie DuhWookie said:

Ever, I would break something aha

Rick55 said:

Computer is cleaned once every 3 months....

Emexrulsier said:

My pc modding enthusiasm is kinda dinted since getting married . Normally open it up to clean or repair a hole

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Who closes his computer case? So once is the correct answer.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Who closes his computer case? So once is the correct answer.
I do!

However there was a time, I couldn't put the cover on my case. I was participating in a computing project and had a case with poor ventilation. I had to remove the cover, so I could blow additional air into the case. Talk about a crash course in case design. lol

Guest said:

Every few months, mostly due to update.

When I was younger I used to open it regularly, because it's where I hid my weed

Guest said:

My case side panels are always off... :D I sometimes have problems with my ram sticks, case is always open to easily wiggle things around!

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Unless upgrading parts, about 3 or 4 times a year for cleaning.

Same here but in my case (no pun intended) I can't afford to upgrade as often as I'd like to so I use the excuse of blowing out the dust just so I can look at the parts I paid so much for but hardly ever see.

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