40 months ago
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Recovering and Salvaging Parts from an Old Prebuilt PC
Recently, I was planning to use an old, scrap desktop computer for security research. However, a Ubuntu distribution upgrade bricked the computer, and I decided not to fix it and instead to just tear it down. Nothing important was lost, but I was kind of disappointed that it died. (After all, it died for good since I have since discovered that it has a HIPRO 305 watt power supply that is non certified, non modular, and Tier 4, that could have exploded.)
Well...as I have mentioned here before, sending old electronics to e-waste is usually a bad idea. If my numbers are still accurate, 88% of electronic waste is exported to third world countries where it is burnt with no consideration of the environment or safety to recover metals, which are then recycled. For this reason, I decided to tear down my desktop as opposed to sending it to e-waste. (I suggest everyone else with old desktops to do the same.)
Having already torn down an older desktop (which was bricked because it had a WD Caviar hard drive fail after 12 years), it was relatively easy to tear down the desktop since I decided that I did not need to be careful (since I had to plans to fix it or start using it again). I was able to recover the processor, hard drive, motherboard, memory, and power supply.
I haven't really done anything with the Intel Pentium 4 540 processor so far but want to learn how to delid it so that I can see inside it. As far as hard drives, there were two hard drives, a 40 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and a 300 GB Maxtor DiamondMax. For a long time, I didn't have the right screwdrivers to open the hard drives, but one day I found a set of screwdrivers and decided to open both of the hard drives. The Seagate had one platter and the Maxtor had three platters (could be predicted based on their storage capacities). Neither of them had headparks and both of them park their heads on the platters.
As usual, the platters were very, very pristine. The platters from the Caviar, Barracuda, and DiamondMax are/were all very pristine. (Maybe you should open a hard drive that you don't care about anymore, too.) I have several photos of the Barracuda and DiamondMax platters, and have disassembled and reassembled the DiamondMax several times. Inside the hard drive are four main components: the spindle, the platter(s), the actuator, and the actuator arm (and its heads). Hard disk drives use heads flying 5 to 10 nanometers over platters typically spinning at 5400 to 7200 RPM to read, write, and store data. They can't be taken for granted because without them there would be almost none of today's technologies...not even solid state drives.
The motherboard is an old, green Intel Desktop Board with an LGA775 socket that held an Intel Pentium 4 540 processor and the Intel 915G chipset. I was able to angle the camera as if you were walking around the motherboard in a mode that automatically enhanced the colors. The motherboard had four 184-pin DIMM RAM slots which held two sticks of Nanya memory and two sticks of Kingston memory, which made up 512 MB of DDR memory.
Now, I feel like telling you why I think it's a bad power supply. There are several reasons. Firstly, it's most likely new enough that it could have 80 Plus certification, but it does not. It is not 80 Plus certified. Secondly, it is completely non-modular. Any good power supply should be at least semi-modular or even better fully-modular. Thirdly, it is listed as a Tier 4 unit, or a unit that is slightly outside the ATX specification. Fourthly, it looks very cheap and is marked up with a bunch of 'voltage shall not exceed' warnings, when any good power supply should just power itself down when it exceeds its rated voltage. Finally, its main capacitors are 85 Celsius rated instead of 105 Celsius rated, which is a red flag.
Anyways, I have a few photos of the HDD internals from the day I opened the hard drive as well as a few photos of the motherboard.
(Sorry, my camera is kind of a potato.)
Let me know what you think and feel free to ask questions or provide constructive criticism.