Plug and Pray

Each PC also has pluggable components in the form of expansion cards (modems, network cards, video cards, and so on). There are also pluggable microchips that usually have two rows of 8 to 16 pins that fit into a similarly sized socket. Each of these types of components is susceptible to physical movement or “chip creep” due to the metal expansion and contraction that happens during heating and cooling. What’s more, contacts that aren’t made of gold are also susceptible to oxidation, much the same way iron rusts, and of course, oxide does not conduct electricity as well as metal.

Any pluggable component (even a cable) is susceptible to these two problems. Fortunately, two simple solutions exist. Many times, pressing down on chips ...

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