During normal usage, the central processing unit, or CPU, in your Dell Dimension can become extremely hot. To prevent damage from overheating, a metal heatsink with a cooling fan mounted on top is installed over the chip. The heatsink and fan draw the heat up and away from the CPU. On the Dimension 8400, an airflow shroud is installed over the fan; it directs air from the heatsink, allowing the hot air to be blown out of the chassis and cooling the heatsink so it can disperse more heat from the processor. If the cooling fan fails, the CPU will burn up in a matter of seconds. If you suspect that your fan may be failing, it should be replaced immediately.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Anti-static wrist strap
- Small Phillips-head screwdriver
Shut down the Dell Dimension and unplug the power cord and all other cables connected to the computer. Lay the chassis down on a flat work surface so that the arrow stamped on the bottom of the computer is pointing up.
Press the release buttons on the top and bottom of the computer with your fingers while pushing the side panel up with your thumbs. The buttons will snap in and release the side panel, allowing you to lift it free.
Put on your anti-static wrist strap and attach the lead to bare metal on the computer chassis. This will prevent accidental discharge of static electricity that could damage the computer's sensitive internal components.
Locate the wire that extends from the fan, right behind the CPU. Trace the wire to the motherboard and disconnect it. Be sure to only disconnect the wire rather than pulling the connector out of the motherboard.
Lift up and remove the airflow shroud to provide access to the fan. Remove the four small Philips-head screws holding the fan to the chassis and then remove the fan.
Replace the fan with a new one and follow the disassembly instructions in reverse.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear an anti-static wrist strap when working inside of your computer. Even a small discharge of static electricity could damage the internal components.
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