Buildegg Articles Computer Hardware Analysis

14Sep/092

PC Explosion Project: Part 2

We return to our test bed with lessons learned from 'Part 1'. Now that the weakest link, the hard drive, is mounted outside of the case, can the computer be blown up and sustain an operating environment?

All of the original components were functional after two firework artillery shell explosions from 'Part 1', except for the hard drives. We discovered that hard disk drives were prone to failure when submitted to extreme temperatures and shock (wow, really??). Armed with another old IDE drive and long-ass cables, we mounted our storage outside of the case, underneath the blast zone.

HDD Mounted Outside

Windows XP was installed again, along with 3dMark2001SE, and this time: SpeedFan 4.38 for monitoring system temperatures. As long as we can keep the computer running, we can see what kind of temperature abuse the motherboard and CPU are experiencing.

The first artillery shell of the day was placed in the case, at the bottom, pointing up. The wick was ran out the back of the case through a vent hole. After the benchmark software and SpeedFan were loaded, we blew it up.

The Explosion

Unlike the results in 'Part 1', the Lian Li case remained, somewhat, intact. We believe that the earlier explosions warped the side panels enough that most of the blast pressure was expelled through loose cracks (and through the open 3.5" drive bay). As a result, the majority of the firework burned on top of the computer innards.

It Did Not Survive...

The operating environment did not survive; the computer was immediately shut off during the blast. Inspection of the debris revealed melted capacitors, resistors, and solder points. The BIOS chip completely removed, and those things are in there tight. Unfortunately, simply sticking the BIOS chip back onto the motherboard did not bring the test bed back to life. The A7Pro, GeForce 3, and Sound Blaster were dead.

Slightly bummed, we did a quick replacement of the motherboard and video card. The new components were from the some time period, but cheaper. We think the mobo was Asus, but couldn't find a model number (and it was seriously lacking in features). The video card was another GeForce 3, but card manufacturer was some unknown brand. The hard drive survived, but Windows XP had to be reinstalled due to the change in hardware ( didn't have to do that with Windows 7 ).

To make a night-long story short, we blew up the computer three more times and were never able to keep the operating environment intake (still running). Our best shot was from 'Part 1', the second explosion. In that instance, the computer froze, but did not shut off... it may have continued to run if the hard drive did not die. Maybe we'll revisit this project with a modern computer, but for now, we leave you with an explosion montage from 'Part 2'.

Comments (2) Trackbacks (1)
  1. A Lian Li case? Couldn’t you have used something cheaper? Funny test, tho~!

  2. Haha, I’m glad you noticed 🙂 That was actually the oldest of my cases; it served me well.


Leave a comment