103a-ak PC Lab

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Morgan's Open it up! Lab

The main parts inside a computer, and how they work

  • The Processor is officially known as the microprocessor, which is the driving force of the computer and run at one gigahertz. The first processors were invented for a home computer in 1974 by a company called Intel, or Integrated Electronics Corporation. Their trademarked brand of processor is known as the Pentium. The processor consists of an IC (integrated circuit), commonly known as a microchip, onto which thousands of transistors are embedded. Its language is called assembly language. The processor functions by 1) performing mathematical operations, 2) moving data from one part of the memory to another, and 3) execute different sets of instructions.
  • The Memory serves as a temporary storage facility so that the microchip doesn't have to access the hard drive every time it needs data. It is made of bytes, which consist of eight bits, or numbers that represent an action. Memory is measured in megabytes and gigabytes. Besides bits and bytes, memory contains the Operating System (OS).
  • The Hard Drive operates the hard disk, which has the important task of storing information permanently when there isn't power. The disks have a hard platter because the information is recorded onto a magnetic, metal material.
  • The Power-Supply has a vital function: namely, to transform the 110 Volt alternating current (AC) from one power source to lower 5 Volt direct current (DC), that is necessary for the computer to run, and distributes the power. Twelve volts are used for the motor in the disk drive.
  • The Cables connect the motherboard to all the different parts of the computer. Its function is to transmit bits, thereby providing a means of communication throughout the machine.
  • The Motherboard holds almost all of the major components of the computer, such as the memory cards, the battery for the computer's clock, and video and network cards. Most importantly, it contains the microchip and connects all the other parts to it, using cables.
  • The Battery is in the motherboard, and runs the computer clock. This allows the computer to 'remember' the correct time after having been shut down. Specifically, it powers the Real Time Clock chip.


HowStuffWorks Computer Hardware: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/computer-hardware-channel.htm

Wikipedia- Intel Corporation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel

Wikipedia- Pentium: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium

Wikipedia- Disk drives: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_drive

Class Notes September 24, 2008

Class Notes September 29, 2008

Lab Report

On Monday, September 22, Sierra Brezina and I, Morgan Middlebrook, took apart a Dell computer. It was an intimidating project to take on, but once we opened the computer tower, it was surprisingly simple to pull out the different parts. It only required some strength, and once we got over our fear of breaking it, we had a lot of fun. During the lab, I saw a real memory card for the first time, and was amazed at how small the processor actually is. Here our the pictures we took during the lab.

Morgan and Sierra.jpg

Sierra and I!

Open computer 1.jpg

This is our Dell!


This is the processor, attached to the CPU.

Memory cards.jpg

These are the memory cards.

Power supply and power chords.jpg

This is the power supply.

Hard drive.jpg

This is the hard drive.

CD and DVD drive.jpg

This is the CD/DVD drive.


This is the motherboard.

Video card in motherboard.jpg

This is the video card, which connects to the motherboard.

USB port and headphone connector.jpg

This is the USB port and headphone connector.

ID cables.jpg

These are the ID cables that connect all the different parts to the motherboard.

Gutted computer.jpg

This is the computer, after we gutted it.