“How to: Get Inside Gateway Flexatstc BRO Essential 933C”
25 May 2006
Was given Essential 933C in payment for repairing a laptop and as I had a friend looking for a cheap, 1GHZ machine, thought I would get into the 933C and see what I could do to upgrade it and make it useable again.
The 933C is\has: ATX-based motherboard with a 90 watt power supply; an Intel 933Mhz CPU; maximum memory of 512MB (PC133) via (2) 168-pin DIMM memory slots; (1) parallel port and no serial port. Motherboard-mounted chips provide SVGA video, modem, and sound. It also is a USB machine, as it has no ports for a PS2 mouse or keyboard. The machine I received had a Linksys Ethernet card in one of the 2 PCI bus card slots, which will only accept half-high PCI boards. Finally, the 933C is about as small a system as I have ever seen, measuring just 4 3\4 inches high, 12.5 inches wide and 12.5 inches deep (including PCI slot cover, which sticks out considerable from the body of the case).
In the following images, I document how I got to the motherboard of the 933C and how I changed out the hard disk drive and CD-RW drive.
- At boot, function key 1 triggers BIOS setup. I tried to use a PS2 keyboard through a PS2-to-USB converter but the BIOS would not recognize F1. Worked fine with a Gateway keyboard.
- As per usual, like other manufacturers, Gateway did not place any sort of heat sink compound between the CPU and the heat sink. If you are having random system shut downs, could be a thermal problem with the CPU chip and you will need to remove the heat sink and place compound on the chip and then reseat the heat sink. To remove the heat sink, you must depress the metal strip holding the heat sink in place and at the same time, insert a small flat blade screwdriver between the heat sink and the socket and twist the blade such that the metal strip is pried down, away and off the tab on the side of the CPU chip socket.
- There is one system fan, which is located inside the power supply. This fan draws air off the CPU heat sink through a black plastic tunnel , over the components of the power supply and then out the back of the system chassis. If you do not care for this shared fan arrangement, there is one extra power connector coming out of the power supply, which can be used to power a fan directly on top of a CPU heat sink. Heat sinks with integrated fans are still available for this CPU socket type.
- The power supply is a Newton Power, LTD, model NPS – 145PB-117A. It is interesting that an Internet search revealed that Newton Power supplies are still available and in larger power wattage ratings than the original 90watt unit. With a limited power supply of 90 watts, I would not recommend connecting more than 3 system power supply powered USB devices. If you need to connect more than 3 USB devices, go with a powered USB port expander.