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Hard disk drive platter photos and more

LemonComputers

40 months ago

(Note to staff: If this post belongs in a different subforum, please feel free to move it.)

Recovering and Salvaging Parts from an Old Prebuilt PC

Gateway 508GE

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.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4KvOKxnquTXQjV5dHRyRzlsRDg

(Sorry, my camera is kind of a potato.)

Let me know what you think and feel free to ask questions or provide constructive criticism.

Comments

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thirdly, it is listed as a Tier 4 unit, or a unit that is slightly outside the ATX specification

The tier list has a TON of flaws and I wouldn't recommend using it. It does more harm than good.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, still, the other factors. Would you mind listing some of the flaws with the Tier list?

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

There is the GS series, not all of them are the same. The 650 and 550 watt units are different (worse) than the 850 and 1050 watt unit.

The rest of the RM series minus the kilowatt ones should be tier two, they aren't that bad and don't fit the tier 3 description.

It has the Evga B1 series and even the W1 series above the CX series when the CX is better than both of them them and has it in the same league as the FSP raider series which is a terrible unit.

It doesn't differentiate between the new CX series which would be tier two.

It doesn't label which NexG's since the kilowatt one is actually very good and would be in tier 1.

It somehow has the NexB in tier 4 even though there isn't a single review of it out there.

It has the Hyrdo G which I wouldn't call a top of the line unit in with tier 1.

It has the GQ series in tier one but should obviously be in tier 2.

Also it doesn't show a difference between group regulated and non group regulated PSU's. I wouldn't put any PSU that is group regulated above tier 3 which would knock down a few units.

It has the Thermaltake Smart series which I would call mediocre units, not bad, in tier 4.

It hasn't been updated in a while since the Seasonic Prime is out and has reviews and same for the Corsair SF 600.

The W1 series should be in tier 4.

The author refuses to fix any of those things.

It doesn't give enough info as to why a PSU was place in the tier its in or any metrics for doing so.

I'm sure there are more flaws that I missed.

[comment deleted]
  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Update: Photos of the computer's optical disk drive (including its printed circuit board and mechanical components) have been added to the collection.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Update 2: Photos of an old laptop's 2.5" hard disk drive and its slimtype DVD drive have been added to the collection.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

This topic has been moved from "General > Off Topic" to "Hardware > Storage".

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, wasn't sure where this belonged.

[comment deleted]
  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Ubuntu can't brick the computer....

Well, it didn't damage any hardware components, but the computer didn't boot properly after the upgrade. It booted into a weird terminal screen where you could basically do nothing.

If the HDD got messed up, repartition the drive. The rest, Ubuntu can't mess up.

I can't repartition the drive when I'm locked out of the operating system. Anyways, now I'm glad it died since I was planning to use the computer for security research and the power supply could have blown out under load. (It's a Tier 4, which is not recommended for gaming or other heavy-load tasks.)

[comment deleted]
  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

You could boot to a live CD, and through there redo the whole partition table.

Well, I didn't really care that much at that point. I also am not the smartest person.

Also, what was the PSU? Prebuilts usually don't have that awful of PSUs.

HIPRO 305 watts, as stated in the OP. Non-certified, non-modular, Tier 4, 85C main capacitors, etc.

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted]
[comment deleted by staff]
  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

I recently acquired eight computers from an office building. All Pentium 4, Core 2 Duo, and Xeon systems.

Oh, I might be interested in one of those. I have been looking for a free old scrap computer for a while.

[comment deleted by staff]

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