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Which components are most susceptible to falling damage? i.e. Off a desk or being dropped.

I guess the most obvious answer would be a hard disk, are there any other components that are very susceptible to this kind of damage?

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I like the user-failure tag :D – Tomasi Apr 14 '10 at 4:03
I thought it was appropriate. ;) – Josh K Apr 14 '10 at 4:17
Note that hard drives with glass platters are generally less resilient to drops, and the success rate for recovering data from dropped aluminum platters is considerably higher. Trust me :-) – AffineMesh Apr 14 '10 at 5:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'd say that pretty much anything is susceptible to damage.... if you try hard enough!

Beyond casings and the items with moving parts that others have identified, many other components are prone to damage. Consider the CPU heatsink; on higher end systems they can way up to 800gms - given that most are only secured where they attach to the motherboard, there is potential for fatally damaging the motherboard due to a fall. Heavy or poorly secured graphics cards, or any other large cards can flex enough to damage the PCB or perhaps even their sockets. PSUs carry a lot of weight, and can damage the case around them, but there will also be the potential for internal damage. Some of the internals in an optical drive could equally be damaged in a bad fall.

I would guess that small (light) PCI/PCIe cards and RAM would be most likely to survive...

Is this a hypothetical question or have you suffered some High-G-related misfortune?

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I have dropped components (motherboards, cd drives, ram...) several times, they were in a box so i guess this saved them. – Tomasi Apr 14 '10 at 15:44
A former colleague dropped his laptop (in protective bag) down the centre gap of a stairwell - 3 floors. The only damage was his mouse (presumed to have been damaged by the manual he had in the same pocket). Next week, you'll merely look at an component an it will break! – CJM Apr 14 '10 at 16:37

Displays, plastic casing, large areas of sheet metal (especially aluminum).

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Anything that moves. Hard drives and optical drives are big things to watch out for.

Crush damage is too. If you chip or fracture a circuit board it's basically shot. Displays and polycarbonate casings are easy to crack.

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Offcourse the screen is very fragile, but you can also damage things like attached cards on the motherboard. Think like a large bulky/heavy videocard. Or the memory modules that get shifted.

Then you also have aesthetic damage, Most laptops are made of a plastic and when dropped on a corner or so it'll almost certainly crack. Steel/Aluminium housings will get scratched etc.

Attached wires that jank out connectors when the device is dropped...

Oh and out of my own experience, WIFI cards with external antenna's are very fragile when dropped :P

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