103a-bd PC Lab

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Jenn Han

103a-bd Open-it Up! Lab

The main parts inside a computer, and how they work

  • the processor:
    • The processor, called the central processing unit (CPU) is an active part of the computer that executes programs stored in the memory. It can be considered the most important piece in the computer. A modern processor contains millions of transistors that are inscribed onto a square silicon called a die. Most CPUs in computers are Intel processors, the first processor to be sold. The Pentium has more transistors and can operate at the speed of 60 MHz to 200 MHz. In the CPU, programs are executed in a two-step procedure, following the instructions from the memory. Inside the CPU, there is another memory called program counter that stores which memory location has the next instruction to be followed.
  • the memory:
    • Memory, also called RAM, is a temporarily stores its operating systems application programs used by the CPU. It stores bits of data. It is measured in bits, bytes, megabytes, gigabytes. Before a program is run, the program is executed into the memory, which allows the CPU direct access to the program. Most computers have a memory chip that is at least 64 MB. A larger memory is measured in gigabytes.
  • the disk drive:
    • Hard disk drive is the primary storage location where data is permanently stored. Data is written and read as series of bits. These bits are recorded onto a platter surface by the longitudinal orientation of particles in the magnetically sensitive coating that are changed (written) or recognized (read) by the magnetic field of the read/write head. Read/write heads are looking for the proper track, one of the concentric circles of data on the drive. These tracks are organized in to logical units called sectors.
  • the cd-rom
    • A CD (compact disc) is an optical disc 12 cm in diameter and 1.2mm thick made out of plastic (polycarbonate) substrate. When the laser passes over the polycarbonate substrate, the light is reflected off the reflective surface. Compact Disk Read Only Memory is a drive that reads aluminum-coated round plastic disc but is incapable writing to any disc. The CD-ROM reads the encoding on the disc that is encoded zero bits as land and one bits as pits.
  • the power-supply
    • The power supply supplies power throughout the computer. Power supply converts lethal 110-115 or 220-230 volt alternating current (AC) into a steady low-voltage direct current (DC) usable by the computer. Power supplies come in 110 volts, 5 volts, 12 volts, etc. 12 volts is used for drives, and either 3.3 or 5 volts is used for the electronic circuitry.
  • the battery
    • Most computers have small batteries that are connected directly to the motherboard. These batteries are easy to replace. Computers, camcorders, and digital cameras all have batteries. Pretty much anything that keeps track of time has a battery. The battery powers the Real Time Clock (RTC) chip. When the computer starts up, the RTC is processed to get the correct time and date.
  • the cables:
    • The role of cables are to transmit data which is in the form of electric pulse called the "bit". For example a cable connecting the monitor and the computer will send signals of color, sound, etc to the computer through the cable.
  • the motherboard:
    • The motherboard is the most important part of the computer system. It has three major components: the basic input/output system chip, the central processing unit, and the system buses. Each component in the computer has to be able to communicate with the CPU through the motherboard. This is done through a collection of copper and gold tracings attached to the motherboard, tiny wire that are called buses.


[1] Computer Hope.

[2] Computer Hope.

[3] Computer Hope.

[4] Computer Hope.

[5] Computer Hope.

[6] PC Mech

My PC Lab Report 9/24/08

I've used my computer alot but I never knew what it looked like inside or what parts worked for which function. It was interesting to actually take it apart and not worry about breaking anything!

Pictures from Lab

103a-bd before.jpg 103a-bd processor.jpg 103a-bd memory.jpg 103a-bd powersupply.jpg 103a-bd hard.jpg 103a-bd CD.jpg 103a-bd motherboard.jpg 103a-bd after.jpg

Extra Wiki Construct

before taking apart pieces

hard drive


This looks more neat!