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Just wondering if I've got my facts straight....

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July 26, 2009 8:03:22 AM

Hi all!

Just wondering if anyone could confirm if i've got my facts straight on several things when it comes to upgrading a new PC:-

In regards to ESD:-

Some places have said to touch the PSU and/or Metal case of the system that is not plugged into the power outlet - the instructions in the motherboard manual actually say to not only turn off the power, but also unplug the PSU's power plug from the power outlet too.
Others have said to leave the PSU power plug plugged-in to the power outlet, but have the power turned off, since then this allows you to ground yourself since the PSU is actually plugged in.

I'm just wondering if you were to upgrade say a video card, RAM modules or HDD (or handle any computer components in general), which is the best approach to take to ensure to discharge static electricity? What approach do you take and just wondering what has/hasn't worked.

Also on this topic, my room has a timber floor with a small carpet on top. I've always rolled the carpet back before handling components since wood does not conduct electricity - from my understanding, but I'm still not sure which is the best way to ground myself.


Using 8-pin PCI-E connector for 6-pin video card

Just wondering, some new PSU's (like Antec TPQ-850) have one or two PCI-E 8 pin connectors fixed to the PSU, if I was to install a 4890 that requires 2 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, could I just use the 2 8-pin connectors - but simply only connect the 6-pin portions of them and leave the 2 extra pins dangling on the side? or do I have to use one of the modular PCI-E 6-pin cables and connect them via that? I just ask, since if I could use 6 of the 8-pin PCI-E which are already fixed to PSU and it would cut down on cabling.

At the moment, I have a single case fan plugged in via a Molex connection to the Antec TrueControl 2.0 550W PSU. On the Molex power connection it has "FAN ONLY" written on it, just wondering, if a new PSU does not indicate fan only on any of it's Molex power connectors, can the fan be plugged into any old Molex power connector then?

Just also wondering in general if putting my case on the side (since I find it easier to take out and insert video cards this way) is harmful for the HDD? I'm always super careful, but just curious if that can have a negative effect on the HDD..


Hope this isn't a too long a read! But any help, tips, etc would be great. I'm trying to learn what I can and some of the things like ESD in particular have me slightly worried.

Thanks.

July 26, 2009 8:32:42 AM

TL;DR

Unless you pilot a hydrogen zeppelin I wouldn't be overly concerned about ESD.

The instructions regarding the PSU conflict because they're targeting two different causes of ESD, electrostatic induction and triboelectric charging.

I'd say keep doing what you're doing. It's good to keep ESD in mind just don't get too Howard Hughes about it.
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 3:04:34 PM

At the moment, I have a single case fan plugged in via a Molex connection to the Antec TrueControl 2.0 550W PSU. On the Molex power connection it has "FAN ONLY" written on it, just wondering, if a new PSU does not indicate fan only on any of it's Molex power connectors, can the fan be plugged into any old Molex power connector then?
The connector says "Fan Only" because it is not wired for 5 volts (the red wire). Any molex will do.

Just also wondering in general if putting my case on the side (since I find it easier to take out and insert video cards this way) is harmful for the HDD? I'm always super careful, but just curious if that can have a negative effect on the HDD..


You will not damage the hard drive by laying your case on its side.
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July 26, 2009 3:28:20 PM

1965646,1,457008 said:
Hi all!

Just wondering if anyone could confirm if i've got my facts straight on several things when it comes to upgrading a new PC:-

In regards to ESD:-

Some places have said to touch the PSU and/or Metal case of the system that is not plugged into the power outlet - the instructions in the motherboard manual actually say to not only turn off the power, but also unplug the PSU's power plug from the power outlet too.
Others have said to leave the PSU power plug plugged-in to the power outlet, but have the power turned off, since then this allows you to ground yourself since the PSU is actually plugged in.

>> Buy a groundstrap and use it. In fact, be PARANOID about ESD. Computer components can be damaged by an electro-static discharge that is so small that you would not even feel the discharge. Better safe than sorry.

I'm just wondering if you were to upgrade say a video card, RAM modules or HDD (or handle any computer components in general), which is the best approach to take to ensure to discharge static electricity? What approach do you take and just wondering what has/hasn't worked.

Also on this topic, my room has a timber floor with a small carpet on top. I've always rolled the carpet back before handling components since wood does not conduct electricity - from my understanding, but I'm still not sure which is the best way to ground myself.


Using 8-pin PCI-E connector for 6-pin video card

Just wondering, some new PSU's (like Antec TPQ-850) have one or two PCI-E 8 pin connectors fixed to the PSU, if I was to install a 4890 that requires 2 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, could I just use the 2 8-pin connectors - but simply only connect the 6-pin portions of them and leave the 2 extra pins dangling on the side? or do I have to use one of the modular PCI-E 6-pin cables and connect them via that? I just ask, since if I could use 6 of the 8-pin PCI-E which are already fixed to PSU and it would cut down on cabling.

>> Yes, any PSU that has 6+2 connectors can be used as both a six pin or an eight pin connector as required by some video cards.

Hope this helps.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2009 7:30:26 PM

On Grounding and ESD, the debate comes from trying to establish a good Ground connection when servicing. The power cord to your computer contains a solid Ground connection to the PSU case (and hence to all of your machine). Keeping it connected during servicing work is one way to maintain that Ground. However, that does mean that the interior components of your PSU still have power, so you can't do any work inside there. More importantly, the PSU actually supplies power to some of the mobo components when the machine is shut "off" with the front switch. To remove all power inside the case, you must turn off the manual switch on the back of the PSU. (And don't forget to turn it back on again when you're done!)

If you REALLY want the machine to have no power plus a good Ground during servicing, remove the power supply cord and connect separately a Ground lead from a reliable Ground source to the computer's metal chassis.

Working on a wood floor actually may, in rare cases, increase the probability of trouble. When you stand on that floor, any static charge built up on you has no place to go. Unless, of course, you wear a good wrist grounding strap, or constantly ground yourself to a well-grounded chassis. However, moving the carpet out of the way is good - some of them are good sources of static charge as you walk on them.

Oh, and don't wear a sweater!

Re: the Molex and fan question, any fan can connect to any Molex 4-pin connector, as long as you have the right connector type. The one you have that is marked as dedicated to fan use is unusual. I suspect it is simply limited to a small current of no more than a couple of amps, whereas the 5 vdc supply lines to your mobo must be able to supply 15 to 35 amps, depending on your PSU and mobo. The fan-only connector may also provide power with poorer regulation on it, since the fan is not likely to be damaged by minor power fluctuations.
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July 28, 2009 4:13:14 AM

Hey guys,

Thanks heaps for the replies.

I asked about ESD since there are people with differing views on it all over the place - you only need to look as far as the HardOCP forums.

From what I've read here, there and a few other places, it seems if you take the measure of leaving the PSU plugged in, but turned off at the power AND the back of the PSU, ground yourself via the non-painted metallic insides of the case before handling components each time (or any new ones you take out of an anti-static bag), you are at least putting yourself in a better position to avoid ESD damage.

I'm just curious though, what about some of the new PSU's such as Antec SG-850 which have a black matte finish/paint job, this doesn't change it's ability to be able to ground the case and its components, etc?

Thanks again heaps!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 28, 2009 4:20:00 AM

no, because technically the grounding occurs through the screws that secure the PSU to the case as they provide nice clean metal on metal contact that wont corrode and lose conductivity. It doesnt take much of a connection to ground something it just has to have one.
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February 12, 2010 10:02:03 PM

How much does the interior paint on cases mess this up?
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