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I have a 21" iMac model identifier imac5,1 (Late 2006). (It's the one with a 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo and a max of 4 GB RAM, 3 GB addressable. You know, the white LCD ones)

Starting this weekend after I cleaned it... probably too aggressively... by vacuuming the exhaust slits and air intakes, it is now making a grinding / whirring noise. I suspect is is the case exhaust fan.

The temperature in the iMac seems okay, but I don't push it very hard so I am not sure if it will eventually fail due to heat. I do know that the noise is very annoying. Either way I would like to solve the problem.

Can the fan in an iMac (Late 2006) be replaced? I'm fairly certain it's not user servicable, however I could try it if it's possible without requiring special tools / training. I'd also be happy to pay to have it replaced but I don't even know if this is a service that's available for a 5 year old machine...

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I don't know about replacing the fan, but with XRG you can monitor your system's temperatures on screen. smcFanControl lets you tweak your fan speeds; maybe you can use it to dislodge whatever's in there, before you try opening the box.

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I should have mentioned I tried smcFanControl and it seems to have no effect on fan speeds whatsoever... – Josh Nov 8 '11 at 15:10
I have been monitoring the temperature with Temperature Monitor, and the CPU code is ~120°F or ~50°C – Josh Nov 8 '11 at 15:12
60 degC is about the hottest we can touch without getting burned. My (admittedly unproven) rule of thumb is that a device running at less that that isn't in danger from heat. Also, I have an iMac 24" of a similar vintage whose fans don't seem to ever react to increased temperatures. I use smcFanControl to bump them up 500 to 1000 RPM each when I'm playing a flash game. On my machine, the power supply and the GPU diode sensors are always the hottest ones. I picked values that would keep them at or below 60 degC. – JRobert Nov 8 '11 at 22:14

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