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DrJay 03-03-2004 01:04 AM

Magnets and Motherboards (Computer gurus!)
Me and a few friends got in a huge debate earlier today and I was hoping someone on here could shed some light on it. The debate was over whether a 9000 gauss (really powerful) magnet would mess up a motherboard. Not the HD or any other storage device, simply the motherboard itself. The IC's, the CPU, the hard wiring, anything like that. I said no simply because there isn't much in a modern motherboard that is attracted to magnets. Its mostly silicon, copper, and gold. None of which would be affected by a magnet of almost any power. I had one friend argue that it would hold an "and/or/nor" gate in a single position for which I relied on my previous arguement. This went on for almost an hour and we called professors at MIT and a few other places. Nobody could say difinitively yes or no. We're on the edge of buying one and trying it for ourselfs but I don't wanna go that far. Anyone wanna join the debate?

J Wikoff 03-03-2004 01:08 AM

It might delete the BIOS. Other than that, I don't know. My thought is the MB itself would be fine, but you would need to redo the BIOS.

MOS95B 03-03-2004 01:11 AM

I concur. The bios is usually the only thing programmable, thus changable, on a MB.

For the nitpickers, notice I said Usually. Don't start with, "Well, my MB has...."

willwren 03-03-2004 01:12 AM

The computer might not run while it's emitting, but should be fine afterwards. Assuming the Bios is fine as already stated.

An electromagnet is a coil, and as such acts as an inductor. That much will disrupt some circuits while it's energized, but not aftwards. An EMP of the magnitude of an atomic bomb will strip a valence electron (if I remember correctly) from the copper conductor and prevent the circuit from operating indefinitely, but you're not talking that much.

Sol 03-03-2004 09:10 AM

I don't think it would do too much with the board alone. Just gotta be careful with the North/Southbridge chipsets, and any other small controllers. Although those are physically burned in, so they should be fine.

As for the BIOS, being a type of flash memory, would it really get effected? I thought flash memory was protected against that.

kazuki 03-03-2004 11:27 AM

damn you all I could of used that 486 I just tossed after I striped it for this experiment, an I think it'll be just fine theres nothing magnetic on the board that I know of an the bios should be fine its the cmos that I would think might have an issue :?:

BonneMeMN 03-03-2004 12:07 PM

Magnents don't really do much to hard drives either, as long as they aren't spinning. You can't just erase a HD by pulling it, stick a magnet by, and that's it.

Now if it's spinning.... :twisted:

Sol 03-03-2004 12:26 PM

Well, considering that the data floats above a metal platter, if you stick a magnet over it, it's gonna screw something up.

BonneMeMN 03-03-2004 12:38 PM


Originally Posted by Sol
Well, considering that the data floats above a metal platter, if you stick a magnet over it, it's gonna screw something up.

They're shielded a bit, This was on Dans Data a week or two ago. The biggest problem isn't data scrambling, it's the heads being violently pushed into the disks. :shock:

MOS95B 03-03-2004 12:41 PM

HD's can be wiped with a magnet (just like cassette tapes), but they are shielded, so any magnets most home users will have won't do it. But I dare you to take your laptop out and lay it on your subwoofers for a while... :twisted:

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