Top positive review
106 people found this helpful
Watt out a doubt, ESD DAMAGE HAPPENS OVERTIME and degrades your components, but rarely in one complete zap!
on April 10, 2016
There are two types of damage that ESD can cause, immediate and latent, with latent being the most common type of damage we see today.
A nice, good jolt of static electricity can really damage your PC components. As many Youtube videos prove that you would need a powerful jolt of static electricity to completely fry a computer component outright, other DIY videos on Youtube show that ‘real world’ testing by rubbing your feet on carpet and touching certain components like hard drives, ram, motherboards, etc. would not necessarily fry your component (they will still work), but what people do not realize is that these weaker jolts of static electricity still damage the components! You can search Youtube for the videos under, “Can Static Electricity Damage Computer Parts? Do You Really Need an Anti-Static Wrist Band?” for this demonstration.
When an ESD event occurs, the charge surges into the semiconductor IC (integrated circuit), while the total energy transferred is small and the energy discharged is less than a micro second, the voltage is high, commonly up to 10 kV, but up to 25 kV can be reached (max potential achieved on human body). Low relative humidity may also increase the charge buildup. We may not be able to feel it, but to ICs, it is practically like a lightning striking.
Note that static discharge below 3000 volts (3 kV) is not typically detectable by humans.
Latent damage may not have completely destroyed the circuit and while the circuit may still complete (like the picture shown), the performance will be degraded. There will be higher resistance due to less conductive material along it’s path which can affect timing and signals, which can be critical for high speed communication, especially with todays smaller circuits. The damaged component will continue to operate at a degraded and possibly unstable level until failures start to occur.
If you take an ESD course, you will be shown what static electricity does to components under 15,000x magnification. It is small, but the component layer gets punctured by the tiniest of zaps! IC pathways get annihilated! Over time, this damage will cause your component to cease operating. Just because you touch your computer component with static electricity and it still works, does not mean it has not been damaged. The damage is there!
Everyone that says, “ESD is not true”, “I’ve built hundreds of computers and never used a strap and everything was always ok”, “I never use a strap because I’m careful and it has always worked” are all full of it. Avoid these people as these people never took the time to do their due diligence. ESD damage is a proven fact and ESD prevention are cost efficient and that is why every single respectable company dealing with components use some type of ESD control measure. From anti static bags to flooring to mats, wrist straps, chairs, ion generators, etc.
People that do not use straps don’t kill components outright, but if the component did experience a ESD event, you can be certain that you have damaged it, degraded it and it will fail much sooner than it should. Latent ESD damage is not immediately noticeable because it is very subtle and microscopic, but the damage is there.
So you may ask; what makes a good setup for a hobbyist or a home user?
Get a proper anti-static wristband and an anti-static mat large enough for your computer equipment, tools and feet/chair. Avoid plastic / synthetic type clothing, make sure you are properly grounded through the wrist strap and make sure your computer and part you are going to install is on the anti-static mat. Another thing to remember is that you don’t need to necessarily touch the component to cause a ESD event, just being close to the component can cause damage.
So yes, protect yourselves when handing delicate components! Even if you do not purchase this one, get one! Always properly attach the the chassis of the case (not paint) and make sure it is properly grounded (plug the computer that your wrist strap is attached to into the power outlet). I liked Rosewill’s ESD Anti-static wrist wrap mainly due to it’s price. The velcro was not intrusive and ok, though an elastic band may have been better but this was still comfortable after an hour of use. The metal snap allowed me to disengage and use the restroom.
Google, "ESD ElectroStatic Discharge Tutorial", for complete information on ESD. Educate yourselves!
To be clear, I attached a picture of microscopic damage from ESD. Hardly noticeable to the naked eye, but damage like this could weaken a circuit path, or outright do irreversible damage, eventually causing it to fail as the cumulative effects of thermal enlargement and contraction. A strong enough ESD event can also cause your hardware to cease functioning immediately which would indicate an "immediate" type ESD event, but most likely it will be "latent" type event.