Now that we’ve been learning a little bit about computer software, it’s time to talk some more about computer hardware.
The first thing to know abut hardware is that it can be very sensitive. I can see from the first picture that you captured it while the computer was on. The fans are spinning, and the lights are on. While most of the time, this would be just fine, there’s the other times where it could create a problem.
Have you ever walked around carpet with your bare feet and then gotten shocked when you touched something metal? Or yet another example is when you are holding a balloon near your hair, and your hair starts to float next to the balloon?
That is what we call ‘static electricity’ and it can affect your computer as well. When you don’t ground yourself properly, and the computer is on (or even off), you can have a static discharge which could burn out some of your components.
I have, in fact, had this happen to me while I was flying aircraft. In the air, we call it ‘Saint Elmos Fire’ and it’s a static discharge that is caused from the clouds and debris around us. In my case, I was flying over Spain near the ash clouds caused by a volcano. The ash clouds were so large, that they shut down all of the air traffic for Europe. As we flew near this ash, the static electricity built up all around my plane; so much so that the static wicks that are supposed to dissipate the energy didn’t work. I told my crew to get ready for us to lose all of our electricity! It was also night time, so we were wearing our Night Vision Goggles. Luckily, it never took out our batteries, but what was amazing is that we were completely surrounded by lightning bolts which spider webbed around the entire skeleton of the aircraft. It was quite a site to see… especially under the goggles!
When a spark leaves you, and then touches your computer, it is essentially completing a circuit. That energy is finding the quickest way to leave your body and get back into the ground. In doing this, it may knock down some things that are in the way. If any part of that path is brittle or weak, that spark could damage it permanently.
The way to make sure you are protecting your computer is to wear a static band around your wrist. The other end of the band connects to a grounded object, which would automatically discharge any static electricity that your body has accumulated.
Knowing that you don’t have one of these wrist guards, I want you tell me what you can do to discharge any electricity before you touch the components of your computer.
PART 1: Describe at least two ways that you can dissipate the static electricity in your body before handling your computer. Once you have answered this, you should also know not to put your computer components onto your carpet as you are working on therm. It’s find to have your computer resting on the carpet, as in the picture; however, when you remove components, do not place them directly onto the carpet.
Now, let’s move on to the really cool stuff… the hardware in your computer. You have several components in there. For this challenge, I’d like you to identify each component in your computer. I will describe them, and you tell me what they are:
PART 2: There are to red lines in the picture above. What components are these, and what is the capacity of them? Hint: you may remove them and look at the labels if you’d like… with that information, you can google for answers.
PART 3: In the picture above, there is a fan with a blue label. The object directly under the fan is called a heat sync. Under that part, there is a major component of your computer… what is that component?
BONUS: Using Windows, tell me the component’s name and how fast it can run.
PART 4: You have a component labeled EVGA GEFORCE GT640. What is that component, and what type of slot on your mother board is it attached to?
PART 5: There is a component labeled RGB750W. What is that component and how powerful is it?
BONUS: What does RGB stand for?