103a-ba PC Lab

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103a-ba Open-it Up! Lab

The main parts inside a computer, and how they work

  • the processor
A microprocessor is a central processing unit on a single integrated unit (IC). Any type of computer needs a microprocessor to execute its jobs. Processors were first constructed out of small and medium-scale ICs containing the equivalent of transistors. The early microprocessor was the Intel 4004, but now many other types of microprocessors are available for us. For example, Pentium chip is Intel's fifth generation of high-speed microprocessors. Megahertz (MHz) is used to measure a microprocessor's speed. One MHz equals one million clock cycles per second. The more cycles a processor executes, the faster a computer runs its tasks.
  • the memory
Its job is to store data temporarily and to allow the CPU to access the data quickly. Megabytes (MB) and gigabytes(GB) are the measuring unites for the amount of information a computer's memory can store. Memory is an essential part for the CPU, the hard drive and the operating system to work together as a team. When computer is turned on, because data is written to a bit, memory reads from that bit to check if the memory chips are free from error. The bit size of a CPU tells you how many bytes of information it can access from RAM. For example, a 16-bit CPU can process 2 bytes, and a 64-bit CPU can process 8 bytes.
  • the hard drive
A hard disk consists of read-write head and rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces. A group of sectors that form a circle is defined as a single track. Tracks define a single surface of a disk's platter, and today's hard disks are comprised of these several platters with tracks on both sides. This determines the hard disk capacity. Hard drives have different storage capacities, and they are in bytes. i.e. one byte is equivalent to eight bits.
  • the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM
CD-ROM is an abbreviation of Compact Disc Read-Only Memory. This is an optically read disc for holding different types of data such as music and reference materials. When data is being stored on the disc, a laser is shown onto the reflective surface of the disc to read the pattern of pits that are contained in the spiral track. CD-ROM has data encoded in a spiral track from the center to the outermost edge of the disc. The spiral track holds about 650MB of data, which is about 5.5 billion bits.
DVD-ROM stands for Digital Video Disc. This is similar to a CD-ROM but it stores and plays both audio and video.
  • the power-supply
Power supply serves as a source of electrical power and provides voltages that are needed for a computer to function properly. The typical voltages supplied by power supply are 3.3, 5, and 12. The 3.3 and 5 Volts are usually for digital circuits. The 12 Volt, on the other hand, is used to run motors in disk drives and fans. Today's power supply is much more efficient not only because it is smaller and lighter, also because it can easily convert 110 Volts down to the voltage needed by the other computer component.
  • the battery
A watch battery provides backup power for a computer. A watch battery is applied to allow a Real-Time Clock (RTC) of a computer to keep track of the time. Low power consumption, free main system for time-critical tasks, and higher accuracy are the three main advantages using a computer clock supported by a watch battery.
  • the cables
Cables carry bits from one part to the other within a computer.
  • the motherboard
Motherboard does a crucial job for a computer: it lets the computer's microprocessor to be connected to all the other components of the computer. Motherboard uses a circuit called bus, which is the electrical wire that connects one part to another. Megahertz (MHz) is used to measure the speed of the bus, and the speed of the bus depends on the amount of data a bus can handle at aone time.
  • the heat sink/fan
Heat sink and fan are parts of a computer's cooling system. As computer components generate a tremendous amount of heat, they absorb and dissipate heat to keep the computer from overheating.
  • the sound/video card
Sound card records and plays audio by converting analog sound into digital information and vice versa. Video card is one of the components in computer that generates a simple image to a display. Sound card and video card share similar principles.

References

How Stuff Works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com
Fact Monster: http://www.factmonster.com
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/

Yura Kim's Open it Up! Lab Report

Monday, September 22, 2008

My team

Yura Kim(that's me!) & Saran Amartuvshin

103a-ba team.jpg

Components

  • Processor

103a-ba processor.jpg

  • Memory

103a-ba memory.jpg

  • Power supply

103a-ba powersupply.jpg

  • Hard disk

103a-ba harddisk.jpg

  • CD/DVD Rom

103a-ba cdrom.jpg

  • Mother board

103a-ba motherboard.jpg

Steps

  1. DELL OptiPlex GX400 - the model no. of my team's computer 103a-ba gx400.jpg
  2. Opened up - struggled from the beginning trying to open up the computer, but eventually realized there were locks! 103a-ba opened.jpg
  3. Without power supply - no computer will work without power supply! 103a-ba withoutpower.jpg
  4. Without sound/video cards 103a-ba cards.jpg
  5. Processor revealed! - processor needs heat sink connector PLUS fan connector 103a-ba prorevealed.jpg
  6. Without memory 103a-ba nomemory.jpg
  7. No cables! - cables are carriers that transfer bits through many wires 103a-ba nocable.jpg
  8. CD/DVD Rom taken out 103a-ba norom.jpg
  9. Fan out, now working on the mother board - took so long to take the mother board out!! 103a-ba fanout.jpg
  10. Computer is now EMPTY - computer is the most b-e-a-utiful machine in the world!!! 103a-ba empty.jpg

Other interesting discoveries

  • Cables - carry bits through many metal wires

103a-ba cables.jpg

  • Fan - it cools down the computer so it doesn't explode

103a-ba fan.jpg

  • Heat sink - takes heat from the processor (processor generates too much heat)

103a-ba heatsink.jpg

  • Battery - it's like a clock for computer

103a-ba battery.jpg

  • Sound card - it literally makes computer make sound

103a-ba scard.jpg

  • Video card

103a-ba vcard.jpg

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