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How Heat Affects Computers

Computers are electronic devices and just like other gadgets, they are bound to generate heat. A computer has some mechanical components as well which in turn dissipate considerable amount of heat. Mechanical devices like the hard drive, optical drive, and floppy drive get heated up in just a few minutes of their operation. All the other components like processor, mother board, input-output devices, memory cards, graphic cards, BIOS and all the other components consist of millions of transistors and flip flops which either manipulate the electronic signals or store them for some time. Heat is also generated by the oscillating circuitry of the motherboard. The digital pulses control the overall cycle of processing. Theoretically the semiconductors which are used in making these chips and other components change their behavior with change in temperature. If the temperature increases beyond the operational limits then you can face problems like slow performance, frequent lockups, blue screen errors, or complete device failure if not taken care. In this post I will discuss effects of heat on various components of a computer system.


A processor generates heat and that is the reason why we install heat sinks and a fan on it to maintain its temperature within the operational limits. Processor consists of millions of micro sized transistors made up of semi-conductors. These semi-conductors dissipate heat when current passes from within them. If you have ever opened a computer tower, you must know how hot the processor becomes after just a few minutes of working. It becomes so hot that without proper cooling it can literally burn itself and melt. Over-heated processor causes system lockups, and shutdowns. This is the reason why it is advised to run keep computer systems in a cool work place.

Memory and Graphics Card

Memory is another component which is in use almost all the times but not in an idle situation as during this time memory just holds the current and this does not cause the heat to dissipate. So not much care is required for cooling the memory modules because memory modules never generate too much heat, but a device which gets enough to destroy it without proper cooling is the graphics card. The operating system and applications available these days are very graphical and require lots of graphical processing and thus it makes the card very hot while operation. Graphics cards available these days have processors of their own and it tends to get hot while processing the graphic signals. Some of the graphic cards have their own cooling systems.

Most of the modern motherboards have heat sensors which communicate with the software installed in the operating system and takes necessary measures in keeping system cool. This could be done by either increasing the speed of the fan, or by intimating the user and shutting down the system. These sensors keep the user updated about the mechanical status of the CPU fan so that if it is faulty then it can be replaced before any further damage occurs.

How IDE Controllers Work

For anyone using a computer, storage options offered by the computer are extremely important. These days, several storage options come into to play such as floppy drive, hard drive, CD ROM drive etc. Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) interface is the means by which any storage device can connect with the computer. Actually IDE was first built for IBM’s AT computer and was named AT Attachment (ATA). However, because of its success and convenience, several other companies adopted this and called it as an IDE.

The reason behind the Development

The main aim behind the development of IDE was to combine the hard drive and the controller, hence standardizing the use of hard drives in a computer. Earlier, every company had a separate hard drive and its controller. Then again, both were set apart so far that this resulted in poor quality of signal and performance. Thus, IDE was conceived so as to simplify the entire process. For those uninitiated, a controller is a small circuit board with chips that looks into guiding the hard drives for storing and accessing data. Most controllers also comprise of a memory helping these towards enhancing the hard drive’s performance.

The Current Scenario

These days, most motherboards comprise of an IDE interface. This interface is also referred to as IDE controller by many; however, this is a wrong usage of the term. This interface is actually just a host adapter aiming towards connecting a complete device to the computer. The actual controller, rather, is placed on a circuit board which is connected to a hard drive. The initial IDE interfaces was aimed at connecting hard drives. However, these days, IDEs have been developed to be used as a universal interface for connecting all possible drives such as floppy drive, CD-ROM, tape back up drives etc to the computer.


The IDE devices are connected by a ribbon cable, where the wires lie next to each other instead of being bungled up or wrapped together. Certain characteristics of the cable are listed below:

• The cable has three keys – blue (attaches to motherboard), black (attaches to primary drive) and grey (attaches to secondary drive).
• One side of the cable comprises of a stripe that tells the user that the wire on this side is attached to Pin 1 of each connector.
• Wire 20, though not connected to anything, ensures that the cable is correctly attached to the drive.
• These days, most manufacturers also use a cable key to ensure that the cable is not reversed. This cable key allows the cable to be attached in one position only.

Now at any given time, one IDE interface can connect two devices. These days, most motherboards come with integrated interfaces of dual IDEs, hence supporting up to four IDE devices. Now there is no separate controller to look into the functioning of these four devices to check if they are communicating with the computer. Nevertheless, the manufacturers decided to get into a master and slave formation in case of multi-connections. They let one drive be called master (primary drive), while the secondary drive was called a slave. The secondary drive will only start functioning once it has ascertained that the primary drive is idle at that moment. In case the primary drive is communicating with the computer, it will tell the secondary drive to wait and give the signal for continuing only once it has completed its transfer. Any drive can become slave or master as and when desired by the manufacturer!

Work function of BIOS

BIOS is the primary initiator of the computer devices and software which starts all the devices to work according to their menu. Basic input/output system (BIOS) is a boot firmware or primary system device or code of computer which helps to run and test all other applications and devices. BIOS is expressed as the initiating media which helps to coordinate all other activities of computer after it is powered on. After computer is powered on, the BIOS identify and run the hardware like floppy drive, hard disk, graphics card etc. In the same way BIOS also make the software files executable after computer starts. The BIOS works in a sequence that is stored in the ROM of computer.

BIOS is attached to motherboard of the PC and the primary work function of BIOS varies according to general or professional use of users. According to its usage in different manners, the different BIOS setup is fixed in different spaces. After the start of PC, the post work of BIOS includes self test works like virus identification, disability or troubleshooting of hardware, power system, over clocking system etc. Then BIOS hands over its duty to operating system to run the PC according to its configuration. But in case of transferring OS data, BIOS also helps from the backend. BIOS looks over the hardware whether it face compatibility problems. In fact BIOS works as an interpreter between software and hardware applications.

The communication job of BIOS is not done in a single stage as the overall service of BIOS is performed in three stages. In first stage, after primary investigation, BIOS transfer responsibility to BIOS. In the second stage, in case of any problem or difficulty OS send a signal to BIOS and in third stage BIOS takes step accordingly. The whole process is done within a very short period, so that users can’t identify the steps manually.

BIOS failure:

After switching on the PC, BIOS activates and then operating system and other applications. If PC restarts continuously then it is termed as BIOS failure. Any message can come in black screen which will dictate what to do. BIOS failure can occur due to various reasons:

1. Virus attack
2. Failure of any hardware device
3. Over clocking

To get rid from these types of problems one must change or replace BIOS chip.

Dual BIOS:

Dual BIOS is a system where two physical BIOS-ROM are attached to the motherboard together, one of which is principal BIOS and other is auxiliary or supporting BIOS. Principal BIOS helps in booting of PC and supporting BIOS works as default BIOS which helps to run the computer. The main aim of duel BIOS is to enable the PC work if anytime primary BIOS fails.

For a PC BIOS is a must to run it without any interruption. Dual BIOS can help more in future computing for better service.

Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003