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I just got a new desk which has a cabinet spot for a PC tower. The problem is that it gets really hot in there. Should I wire up a fan to draw the hot air out?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You should just need to make sure that there is an unrestricted airflow around the case.

How big is the gap between the sides of the cabinet and the sides of the PC?

Is the cabinet open at the back? If not, can you take the back off or drill some holes in it to let the air through.

Is the cabinet open at the front? Does it have a door? If so and you want to keep the door closed you might have to drill some holes in it to allow the air to flow. If you're careful to make sure they all line up and drill from the visible side they should look like part of the design.

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I'd hate to see a bunch of ugly wires and a noisy fan spoiling your brand new desk. Instead, I'd just make sure the space has adequate ventilation — drill a few holes for airflow along the inside where they won't be noticed.

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Just make sure that there is a good clearance on the front of the tower, the side opposite the motherboard, and the back. Top too if you have a fan on the top of your case.

Like ChrisF mentioned, also make sure that the back of the cabinet is open and allows the hot air to escape.

Also check to make sure that your airflow isn't causing air collisions within your pc. This probably won't be the case since I'm guessing it hasn't gotten hot before you put it into the cabinet, but airflow should go from bottom to top, and front to back of the tower.

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I would recommend to measure the cpu/in case/hdd temperature first, to find out if there is an actual need for more cooling.
You could do that using a program like motherboard monitor while your computer is under high cpu load for a while. If the cpu temperature stays below the (cpu specific) upper boundary (try to find out on the manufacturer's website or wikipedia) I would just leave it at that.
"Really hot" doesn't necessarily equal "too hot".
If the temperature actually exceeds the specification of any of your vital parts (cpu/hdd) you should of course take measures to improve the airflow.

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