What’s inside?


Have you ever wondered what is inside your computer? If you wondered what powers your website and how it differs from your desktop PC, have a look at the following videos.

Desktop or Gaming PC

Over the Christmas period, my brother in law wanted his new gaming PC assembled, so I built it with him and the computer wasn’t that much different to the video, a MSi Tomahawk B550.

It’s worth looking at the manual and the board to see which way to install memory, as this one has DIMM1 A and B as well as DIMM2 A and B, but if you have two memory sticks it needs DIMM1 and DIMM2 to have the B slots populated.

Two problems can occur, the I/O shield has clips that have to go above the sockets, so make sure they don’t go inside them. Ethernet, USB and HDMI are prone to doing this, so care when installing the motherboard is a must.

The second problem is resolved by something called a Q connector. Some of the cheaper cases have individual wires to connect USB ports as well as the front panel connections, so you push the wires the right way around into the Q connector and use that to connect them to the board. If you get the wires the wrong way order, then your computer may not turn on when you press the power button.

Rack mount servers

Rack mount servers originally came from the music industry that needed something of a standard size that could be dismantled and transported from place to place on planes in flight cases that would fit easily in a hold. Musical instruments might be carried by the players but the equipment that makes the sound loud enough for a gig or concert has to be a uniform shape for transit.

When the music industry started using rack mounts, they decided that each unit would have a 19″ wide bezel that would be secured into the rack. A unit of measurement called a U (measured as 1.75″ high) defines the height of the unit, so a flight case designed to carry a 1U high unit would have a foam cut-out that is 1.75″ deep and 19″ wide for the bezel and around 18″ wide for the rest of the unit with removable foam inserts for the depth.

A full height rack is usually about 7 foot and is called a 42U, because the top is usually reserved for fans and the bottom for power supplies.

Rack mounts are designed to be accessible, so everything connects in a uniform fashion at the rear and slides in from the front.

A rack is typically 2 feet wide because data centres have 4 feet floor tiles that enable 2 racks to sit side by side. Underfloor cabling can feed up the remaining 2 feet as well as provide access from the rear for cabling.


Unlike desktop PCs and rack mount servers, laptops don’t come as separate parts because each manufacturer makes a board that only fits that model.
The exception is the Pi-top, because you use a Raspberry Pi to power the computer, it can be more modular in design.

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