103a-ad PC Lab

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Tu Nguyen

October 7, 2008
Tu Nguyen
Unfortunately, I had to take a few days off school to go back home for a funeral. While I did not get the full experience of taking apart a computer with the class, I have looked at and helped my brother put computers together before.

Open It Up! PC Lab

Computer Model: Dell 620GX

The main parts inside a computer and how they work

  • The Processor
  • The Memory
  • The Disk Drive
  • The CD-ROM
  • The Power Supply
  • The Battery
  • The Crystal
  • The Cables


Lab Report

Open Computer 1
103a-ad computer2.jpg
This is the computer before it was dissected.

  • CPU: Central Processing Unit

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer and receives and sends signals and instructions to drive the computer. The CPU is made up of several small transistors which work together to perform tasks. There are many brands of processors, but Intel is the leading brand. In terms of speed, the CPU's frequency, or internal clock speed is measured in megaheartz and has ranged from 1MHz-4GHz. Some computer enthusiasts overclock, or manipulate their computer to work at faster speeds, which can sometimes cause it to overheat if not properly cooled. The CPU's main 4 jobs are

  1. fetch
  2. decode
  3. execute
  4. writeback

  • Memory

Memory, also known as RAM, or Random Access Memory, and has many circuits to store data and information. It comes in many shapes and sizes, including megabytes (MB) and gigabytes(GB) and performs a various number of tasks. 1 gigabyte is approximately 1024 megabytes. Computers operate on a base-2, or binary system A bit, short for binary digit, is a unit of electronic storage. 8 bits make up one byte. The CPU accesses the memory to process the computer and run programs and the operating system. The computer's operating system also manages the memory in use my the computer program.

  • Power Supply
Power Supply

110 Volts, 5 Volts, 12 Volts. The Power Supply converts electricity, the alernating current (AC) to to supply power, direct current (DC), to the computer. It converts high levels of voltage (usually 110-120) to lower levels. Each cord, or wire, sends a controlled voltage:

  1. yellow= +12, used for running motors in disk drives and fans
  2. red= +5, used for digital circuits

It is a metal box in the back of the computer usually containing the cooling fan and the power-cord receptacle.

  • CD/DVD Rom Drive
CD/DVD Rom Drive

The CD/DVD Rom Drive is an optical disc drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves to read and write data from CDs, or DVDs. These discs have been adapted to read binary data ROM and are processed in different speeds from stands for read-only-media. Information is stored on the land, or disc which is made up of grooves, also known as pits. Each pit is measured in bits and the laser reflects off the pits and transfers the encoded information.

  • Hard Drive Disk
Hard Drive

A Hard Drive Disk, or HDD, is a non-volatile memory, data, and information storage device. The HDD has a magnetic medium stored on a hard platter that contains data. It also contains a read-write head which can read or write data onto tracks and store it into bits. The data and seek time vary depending on the capacity of the HDD, which is generallly mesarued in GBs

  • Motherboard

The motherboard is the primary circuit board that contains basically everything in your computer. It is used to communicate with other parts of the computer and to recieve and send electrical connections to process programs. The motherboard contains a bus, which is a wire that connects one part of the motherboard to another. The speed of the bus is measured in MHz.

  • Battery

Most electronics contain a battery, which is used to keep track of time. In the computer is a small battery-powered chip called a Real Time Clock, or RTC chip. The RTC is a quartz watch that keeps track of the time so that your computer will always start with the right time, whether on or off.

  • Crystal

Computers contain a small quartz that also acts as an external clock when the computer is off to maintain real time and date. The clock runs on a crystal that generates a signal on MHz to keep track of time.

  • Cables

A cable is bound by optical fibers or wires usually bound together in a jacket, or protective sheath. To communicate throughout the computer, cables are used to connect components and relay information quickly.