Technology and Efficiency

The market for computer products is a multi-billion dollar business where one can
find a perfect balance of technology and efficiency. The huge industrial market is lead by
such names as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Compaq. The steps that are taken to bring the
computer from several small components to a desktop product are organization of the
manufacturing facility, assembly of hardware, installation of software, and a test process.
The production of a high quality product is important to computer buyers. Manufacturing
factories produce approximately 14,000 systems weekly. Companies generally use 2
methods of computer assembly. One method involves complete unit assembly by one
person, the other being group assembly where several people construct a single computer
(the latter method is known as assembly line production).
When assembling a computer, there are 8 to 10 major components installed
including the processor speed chip, the motherboard, RAM (Random Access Memory),
diskette drive, modem or network card, video card, hard drive, sound card, and CDROM.
Before the components are placed into the computer, each part undergoes an
extensive testing process called “quality control” . Quality control ensures that faulty
systems are not shipped. As an initial step, prior to the assembly process, an inspection of
the outer case to ensure that there are no scratches or defects. The brand name and
indicator labels are put onto the computer case at this time.

Next the motherboard is
installed and prepared for the processor chip. The chip (which is often a Pentium chip) is
attached to the motherboard along with the RAM component. Once the chip and RAM
are installed, the internal speakers and sound card are placed into the case. The hard
drive, disk drive and CD-ROM drive are attached to the computer chassis. All these
components are then attached to the motherboard with cables so that they may
communicate with each other. Power supply is then applied to the computer and other
additional components such as the video card, and modem are added near a final stage of
assembly. After all these components are installed to create the finished ‘PC’, the unit is
thoroughly inspected to ensure that all the cables connections are in place and all other
defects are fixed. Inspectors also ensure that cables are in appropriate places so that they
do not touch components. The CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductorcircuitry
for the memory and processor) is set up at this time. The top cover is placed
onto the computer and it is shipped off for further testing. All companies differ in their
testing of finished products. A common practice in most companies includes the 48-hour
burn in period. After it, final diagnostic tests are completed to ensure all components are
working well. If a computer is ordered with sound cards, speakers are attached to the unit
and they also are tested. Mouse and keyboard components are tested manually by
connecting a testing mouse and keyboard to the ports. The computer is then shipped from
the manufacturing site to the distribution center. Here, additional tests are possible as
computers are randomly checked and inspected. The computer is then further shipped to
department or retail stores for sale to the consumer. In conclusion, the production of a
computer from a number of components to a finished product is a complex
procedure.(…) The usefulness of the computer and subsequent consumer demand for
improved models will keep pressure on manufactures to build more efficient, high quality
machines in future years.

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