Dirty Nasty Mac Studio Max

Are folks noticing dust build-up on the intake holes on the bottom of the Mac Studio?

I’ve been running mine for about a month and just now peeked at the intake holes on the bottom of the box. There was a significant build-up of dust in and around the holes. Some of them even look like they were plugged.

Now I’m on a quest to find a good small vacuum cleaner to clean the intake holes out. Does anyone have suggestions for what would work for this?

It seems like there is an opportunity here for some after-market hepa filter thingy that these boxes could sit on.

I use this on all my electronics: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dusters-EG-1000-UK-Electric-Air-Duster/dp/B073F9NY1X/

Not exactly a vacuum, but the dust it removes is staggering. Works a treat on my NAS drive enclosures.

Canned air works great. A vacuum cleaner wouldn’t do much for all the dust that has already gotten inside.

Just noting that filters reduce airflow by their very nature, so I don’t think I’d be keen on trying it with something as expensive as a Mac Studio. :slight_smile:

Help me understand how blowing on dusty intake holes doesn’t result in the dust getting blown into the machine?

Ok then I’m guessing we may need a mini clean room to keep the dust out of these machines? :cowboy_hat_face:

The internal fan has already sucked in the dust, now you need to blow that out once a year or so. I don’t mean in this in a disrespectful way, but have you never opened up a computer? The components are always covered in dust. It’s fine, but they do need to get blown out occasionally.

Edit to add, my PC has thin foam in front of the intake fans, which does a decent job of keeping dust out. Of course, my PC has about 8 fans total and you can hear them.

If I’m understanding this design correctly, the fans suck the air in from the bottom, and blow it out the big grille on the back. Compressed air directed into the machine, with properly-running fans, would loosen up caked-on dust and should allow the tiny particles to move and get blown out. If you see dust caked on the exhaust vents themselves, blowing across the vents (as opposed to in) is a better option.

Or put a bit more simply, blowing compressed air is a violent process. It makes a big ol’ cloud. And if any fan is running, it can push that cloud around. :slight_smile:

Also, the Studio does disassemble on the bottom, so getting at that part to blow out air would be much more trivial than a complete disassembly to get at the exhaust.

I have seen people say never blow air through a computer, use a vacuum. That’s great on a desktop PC where I can open it up and easily get to everything. Not so much on the Studio. I don’t see what harm it could do if you turn off the computer, let it cool, and do not tilt the can as you use it.

But yes, blow the air in the bottom and you will see the dust go out the back. Or you could just take it to Apple to do it if you ever have problems. Marco Arment of ATP was having fan problems on his iMac Pro and I believe he said he took it to Apple to get it cleaned out. I never blew out my old iMacs or laptops and never had cooling issues that I noticed.

It’s really not something we need to worry about. Dust is going to get in there no matter what you do. Just this week I noticed my Studio already had some dust bunnies forming around its foot as well.

That said, dust will always form around the computer. Can’t be helped, pretty much. But that’s different from tons of dust being inside the computer. Vacuuming around the outside of the Studio or wiping around the base with an ever-so-lightly-moistened towel never hurts. :slight_smile:

You mean it doesn’t suck? :slight_smile:

Sure keep it in a dust free area as much as you can. I used to give my nephew my old computers. He left his window open with a box fan in it 24 hours a day, year round. It killed a Mac Mini so I gave him a big PC. He never blew it out like I told him. Thing was just covered in dust. It died too.

My first thought on that would be, if it maybe makes a difference, if the dust covers “only” the fan-area, or if the dust is blown, with some extra pressure, all over the inside of the casing, and could even go into the tiniest little gaps, or accumulate on top of the chips, battery’s and some other vulnerable parts.
I mean, you are not removing the dust by blowing it up, you are just blow it up inside the casing.

I have some sort of desktop PC for the last 30 years, I have built my own and done routine maintenance/upgrades countless times. Any computer with a fan is constantly sucking in dust for hours a day. The biggest buildups are always the fan and heatsinks, but the whole computer will get a coating. The stuff like pet fur will build up in the nooks and crannies. Canned air will blowoff the major bits and blow them out the back (at least on smaller computers), following the natural air flow path of the computer. You can see it a cloud go out the back. With a desktop PC it helps to open it up so you can really get in all the tight spots that don’t get much airflow.

That YouTube guy who hates Apple but runs a channel fixing Apple products while he complains about how bad they are has some examples of what Macs look like after running a few years without cleaning.

Canned air has been the way to clean a computer for 20+ years, it just now seems to be a no-no to some people, but I have never seen why, other than you can blow in chemicals if you tilt the can. I have never heard of anyone damaging a computer with it.

But like I said, I have never worried about it with Macs. No doubt Apple cleans them up if you ever bring them in, but they don’t make it so a user can easily do it. It’s just not something people really need to worry about unless they see their computer is running hot after several years.

The thing is, dust buildup can also cause fan failure. So if the dust is accumulating on the fan, that’s actually a rather large potential problem.

With most computers, the fan is running constantly to keep it cool - and there’s a direct exhaust path from that fan to the outside. So if you kick up the dust with compressed air at a reasonable pressure it’ll make a nice little cloud and the fan will push it out of the computer.

Not sure what the Mac Studio does in that regard, but if there’s a way to tell it to ramp up that internal fan’s speed (I’m thinking perhaps an app like the old SMCFanControl) while you’re cleaning, that would be optimal.

Otherwise, as I mentioned, the bottom of the Studio comes off - so you could at least blow that part out. The top seems to be a royal pain to get to.

You don’t want to do it with power on. The air could force the fans in the wrong direction and the air gets quite cold. I always make sure computers are at room temp before cleaning.

First of all, you should switch off the Computer, before you hit him with compressed Air.
Second, it is very unlikely, that a fan is dying because of the accumulated dust on it. Yes, there are Fans dying, and they could be covered with dust, but normally there is no direct relation between this two thinks.
Third, the Fan is just not able to remove the Dust, if you blow it “with compressed air at a reasonable pressure”, because alone the Airspeeds produced by the pressure, and the Airspeed produced by the Fan just don’t work together. The Fan has just no chance, to get the Dust, that has been blown up, into a somewhat controlled Airstream, to remove him. And, if that would be possible anyway, there would no dust accumulation at all.
I had build Computer for Friends, Family and Customer during the last 3 Decades. I haven’t counted them, but it would likely sum up into some three digits.
And I had never one, that died because of Dust on a Fan.
BUT I had a couple of them dying, because of a “clean” Fan, and Dust all over the interior, on the RAM, the CPU, the Cooling Elements, on the circuit board, within connectors and so on.
And I had also a couple of dead Fans, after they where hit by compressed Air, and just overturned, or damaged the bearing by being hit on one side.
If somebody really thing that it is necessary to clean the inner part of an computer, take a Vac, with a small hose (“PC-Hose”) and/or a soft cloth, and wipe the parts you want to clean carefully, while the system is open (and Off, of course!), and remove the dust immediately by the Vac.
I live in a rather dusty environment.
I have my woodshop in the house, a Dog with an almost year-round Coat change, a Dog-Toilet with wood shavings, a lot of trees and flowers around the house, producing a lot of Pollen, and so on.
If I keep the area of my 4 computers and 3 NAS running 24/7 somewhat “clean”, by vacuuming once in a week, I had never a problem with Dust on one of my systems.
So it might be an idea worth considering, to clean the area around the computer once in a while, instead of spreading the dust already inside the computer, with the risk of some damages, caused by this.

Who cares about computers, I want to see where you live now. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Get AppleCare and gather take it to Apple Stire to get it professionally cleaned :grinning:

It would be interesting to know if Apple evaluates dust penetration/accumulation during development and product qualification.

I know my 2017 iMac had a fair amount of dust penetration as it would intermittently drop dust from the intake holes onto my desk. That machine seemed not to suffer from whatever dust it had collected inside.