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If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid state?

  1. Jul 28, 2012 #1
    Other than the fan and hardrive, nothing else seems to be moving...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2012 #2

    mfb

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    Ions in capacitors might move, and electrons move of course, but I think you got all macroscopic parts.
    So what?
     
  4. Jul 28, 2012 #3

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    No, not by any means. There are capacitors and resistors and stuff, especially in the power supply but also the motherboard.
     
  5. Jul 28, 2012 #4

    Bobbywhy

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    Solid-state: adjective Electronics .
    designating or pertaining to electronic devices, as transistors or crystals, that can control current without the use of moving parts, heated filaments, or vacuum gaps.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/solid-state

    Solid-state electronics are those circuits or devices built entirely from solid materials and in which the electrons, or other charge carriers, are confined entirely within the solid material.[1] The term is often used to contrast with the earlier technologies of vacuum and gas-discharge tube devices and it is also conventional to exclude electro-mechanical devices (relays, switches, hard drives and other devices with moving parts) from the term solid state.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_(electronics [Broken])
     
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  6. Jul 29, 2012 #5
    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    I would agree that computers can be considered solid state devices if you exclude the hard drives and fans. If you use a SSD (solid state drive) then it's just the fans. And if you use a low-power device like the Rasperry Pi, with only an SD card and passive cooling--well, you're there.
     
  7. Jul 29, 2012 #6

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    So you think the power supply is solid state with no resistors and capacitors and inductors? Do you really think solid state devices alone can convert 110V wall power to 12V DC power?
     
  8. Jul 29, 2012 #7

    Bobbywhy

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    If you accept the definitions of "solid-state" in post #4 above, then yes.
     
  9. Jul 29, 2012 #8

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    So you think the resistors, capacitors, inductors and so forth are "transistors or crystals" ???
     
  10. Jul 29, 2012 #9

    Bobbywhy

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    the definitinon referred to is this: (I have added the word "such" to show that there are two examples of electronic devices given)

    "electronic devices, (such) as transistors or crystals, that can control current without the use of moving parts, heated filaments, or vacuum gaps."

    The key point is that solid-state devices do NOT have moving parts, heated filaments (like vacuum tubes), or vacuum gaps.

    Of course a "wall-wort" that converts 110VAC to 12 VDC which contains a transformer, rectifier diodes, and filter capacitors would be considered "solid-state" because it does not contain those three items mentioned in the above definition.
     
  11. Jul 29, 2012 #10

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    Sounds like nonsense to me. "Solid state" is normally a term used to discuss active circuitry that uses crystalline substrates such as silicon, as opposed to vacuum tubes. I've never heard it used to describe resistors, capacitors, or inductors (unless same are part of the silicon substrate which they most certainly are not in a power supply).
     
  12. Jul 29, 2012 #11
    It's safe to say that a computer with no moving parts can be referred to as a computer with no moving parts. Is that not good enough?
     
  13. Jul 30, 2012 #12

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    It would be fine, if it had been the original question, but it wasn't. The question was is it solid state throughout. I prefer to answer the question that was asked rather than make up my own and answer it.
     
  14. Jul 30, 2012 #13
    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    Traditionally, a "solid state device" was used to denote a device that relied on transistors, or solid semiconductors, rather than vacuum tubes. However, since resistors and capacitors are still needed in most any circuit with transistors, just as they were also used with tubes, i would consider the presence of resistors and capacitors immaterial of whether the device is solid state or not.

    Since vacuum tubes are rarely used outside the high performance audio and sometimes RF world, when people say "solid state" today, they usually are referring to a device with no mechanical parts. A "solid state relay" still has resistors and capacitors inside, and often times optoisolators (LEDs), but everyone still calls it a solid state device.
     
  15. Jul 30, 2012 #14

    phinds

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    OK, I see what you mean, and maybe I'm just being old fashioned, but to me "100% solid state throught" does NOT include standalone resistors, caps, etc. To me a silicon logic chip such as a CPU is what's "100% solid state throughout"
     
  16. Jul 31, 2012 #15

    berkeman

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    In case it helps, I still remember the first hand-held radio that I had back in the late 1960s. It was a small black Emerson radio, and it was labeled "Solid State", to advertise the fact that it was built with transistors instead of vacuum tubes.

    So a more correct terminology would be to call computers "Solid State Devices", since they do not use vacuum tubes. To say 100% solid state is the confusing part.

    BTW, on second thought, many personal computer systems are not Solid State. Hah! Quiz Question -- why not? :biggrin:
     
  17. Jul 31, 2012 #16
    I'm just questioning the need to categorize devices in this manor... Is that inappropriate here?
     
  18. Aug 1, 2012 #17

    berkeman

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    Is what inappropriate? The original question was not stated very well, and that led to disagreements in how to try to answer the question.
     
  19. Aug 6, 2012 #18

    NascentOxygen

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    Re: If a computer's hardware has no moving parts, does this mean it is 100% solid sta

    No. As [some] others have pointed out, ¨solid state¨ as generally applied to electronic equipment means it contains no thermionic devices. I recall it first popularized as a selling feature in the adverts of equipment such as home stereo amplifiers and ham radio transmitters—¨All Solid State¨ they proclaimed—where the final amplifier stages had until that time stubbornly held to thermionic valves.

    ¨Solid state¨ is not contingent upon an absence of moving mechanical parts. Just as it is not related to an absence of liquid coolants or gel thermal pastes, etc. :smile:
     
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