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Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks

Neil Robb_1

Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks

We have two Proliant DL580s. Both have been in a hot and dusty environment for over 2 years now and have accumulated a huge amount of dust through them.

Insight is now rebooting the servers as the CPU's have reached their 85C thresholds even although the ambient temperature inside the server is 26C. Outside the rack the ambient temperature is 17C.

CPU's are indeed reporting that they are running about 80C or so - close to the limit.

What is the most sensible way to deal with this problem. Would it simply be a case of using a vacumn cleaner to suck up the dust from the inside?

Does HP have a dust removal guide that I could look at perhaps?

Esteemed Contributor

Re: Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks

Well I used to drag them outside and give em a blast from a can of air duster but vacumn cleaning should be ok. Just put an anti static strap on grounded to the cab and don't get too carried away :-) There used to be a company that went site to site doing just this to PCs and Servers but I've not heard of them for a while.
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Neil Robb_1

Re: Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks


My worry is that I create a new hardware problem from removing the dust.

If I do create a new problem then I am worried what the implications will be if HP Support ask me why I opened it in the first place.

I wonder if I should just log a new hardware support call with HP and let them deal with it?

I don't suppose there are any support articles or policies on how to 'manage' dust build up.

I've been burned in the past with a similar issue and don't want to be in an awkward situation going forward.
Honored Contributor

Re: Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks

there is no problem at all about opening servers and do some maintenance

if something is faulty you just call HP (if you still have warranty) and say the usual I was doing my windows maintenance and now my server bla bla bla whatever

I work for HP and that happens a lot
as simple as I took my server out of the rack I inserted a new Proc or memory....
now there is a amber LED or my server does not have video so nothing else to do
HP do some troubleshooting with you and send you the part that needs to be replaced

so go ahead and use the vacuum
since there is no such article
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Neil Robb_1

Re: Huge intake of dust onto CPU heatsinks

Thanks for your response guys. We removed the processor board from the DL 580 and found a 2cm thick layer of dust on the front of each CPU heatsink (we have x4 CPUs)

We carefully removed the dust and started the server back up. CPU's were reading 30C instead of 80C and they have stablised at around 40C after a few hours.

I also checked the inside of the server and it appears the dust intake was confined only to the CPU area. This goes to show how well designed the DL 580s with intake and cooling focused on CPU area. It seems the rest of the server is quite well sealed.

Anyway - got another DL 580 to do but this time its the domain controller so need to schedule some downtime.

Thanks again for your replies.