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Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC

Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC - PCSTATS
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Abstract: Ever wonder what are the most common ways by which you'll eventually kill your PC? Despite your best intentions, computer hardware's worst enemy is YOU, as it turns out.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Feb 11 2009   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC


PCstats guides you through the list of the most popular ways by which you will eventually kill your PC, despite your good intentions. This is a good primer for "what not to do" folks. - Version 1.3.0

Computers should be essentially immortal right? They are just a collection of circuits and signals, and as long as power flows to them, they should continue to operate; there's nothing to break down, nothing to age... uh-huh. Anyone who's ever owned a computer knows that this is not quite true.

Computers and their component parts do have a finite life span, and just like us, they have a list of afflictions that are most likely to claim their digital existences. Also just like us, most of these problems stem from careless handling, neglect, unhealthy environments and old age. Toss careless manufacturing into the mix, and you can see why the average computer system rarely survives more than ten years without some sort of catastrophic failure.

Ordinarily, this brief lifespan would not be of concern, since the average useful life of a computer system, the time in which it is still relevant and capable of running the software of the day, is far shorter, five years tops. The thing is though, careless handling can cut your computer down while it is still in its prime. I know this is true, I worked in a computer store. Chances are anyone who has ever owned more than one computer has experienced some sort of unexpected computing catastrophe from a system that still had years of useful life left to it.

A while back PCSTATS asked its readership a pretty simple question; "have you ever killed your PC?" Hundreds of stories flooded in, encompassing everything from standard computer failures to tales of blue smoke and fire.

If you had a story about a system that died unexpectedly, or that you killed, we wanted to hear it. To say that we were overwhelmed by the responses would be an understatement. So before we go on, I'd just like to say "thank you!" to everyone who took the time to share their story. As it turns out there have been plenty of PC's accidentally killed, hundreds of CPU's fried, and more than a few power supplies unceremoniously cremated.

Most Common Problems
26% PSU and power issues
23% Bad gear and user negligence
13% Heatsink related
15% Assembly and moving
10% Lightning strike and static
3% Computer cruelty
6% USB related
2% Overclocking
Out of all these tales, one thing became clear; sometime soon, one of your computers or one of its essential components is going to get fried and fail. So here are the most common ways this is likely to happen!

The Power Supply (PSU)

Three little words, but loaded with such destructive potential. Faulty power supplies are by far and away the most common source of computer mortality. In our reader survey, power issues accounted for over 30% of all dead-PC tales, and after working in a computer store for a few years I'm surprised it wasn't actually higher. We saw system after system come into the store for service with the immortal words "it just won't turn on" or "smoke came out of the back... Will it be ok?"

Here's a typical tale of bright lights, big balls of smoke;

"...The customer came in saying that the PC wouldn't start at all. Of course I suspected the PSU, but had to test it anyway. Plugged in the unit and pushed the power button and was illuminated by a flash of light. The PSU had indeed failed, and now had also blown a MOSFET on the system board and scorched the 512mb stick of PC3200 RAM..."

That the power supply is the most dangerous of PC components should come as no surprise. After all, its responsibility is to filter the massive wall voltage into the bite-sized 12V, 5V and 3.3V DC allocations that modern PCs need.

© 2014 PCSTATS.com
Please respect the time and effort that went into creating each PCSTATS Beginners Guide, do not illegally copy. Thank you.
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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC
 Pg 2.  Power Supply Failures
 Pg 3.  That Heat-Sinking Feeling
 Pg 4.  Computer Assembly Issues
 Pg 5.  The Wrath of Zeus
 Pg 6.  Bad Gear, Dead PCs
 Pg 7.  Power Struggles
 Pg 8.  USB Device Mishaps
 Pg 9.  Static Shocks and Integrated Circuits

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