103b-ab PC Lab

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PC Lab Report

Basic Information

My name is Julia Fernandez . My partner's name is Rebecca Lew.
Here we are!

We performed the PC demolition lab on Monday, February 6, 2011. The computer we took apart was a Dell Optiplex GX 620.

Our Computer, Disassembled

When we opened the computer, we could immediately see almost all of the major parts:

  • 103b ab computerlebelled.jpg
  • As we began to take the computer apart, we were able to identify many different parts. These include:

The Motherboard


The motherboard was screwed flat into the side panel. It was connected to the power supply by many wires. All over the motherboard we could see little gold lines. These were circuits, tiny wires that provide a path for electrical current to flow, and also carry information.

Attached to the motherboard were the CPU, a crystal, and a small battery. The crystal is there in order to control the speed/rhythm of the computer--it tells the computer how quickly or slowly to do things. The small battery acts like a watch battery, and is used to keep the time of day.

The Processor


The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the computer was located on the motherboard, underneath the heat sink. It was very easy to remove. The processor in our computer was an Intel 04 Pentium 4 processor.

The Memory

two memory sticks

The Random Access Memory (RAM) is located in slots attached to the motherboard. Our computer had two memory sticks of 512 MB each, for a total of 1024 MB--or 1 GB--of memory. There were additional empty slots, presumably so that one can add more RAM to the computer. The memory sticks inside the computer were manufactured by Samsung.

The Power Supply

the power supply

The power supply can be found in the top back corner pf the desktop tower. Many colored wires connect the power supply to various other parts of the laptop. Our particular power supply put out 305 watts, and was easily unscrewed from the case.

The Hard Disk

hard drive
Hard drives, as I learned, are very shiny

The hard disk was located at the bottom of the desktop power, and there was apparently a slot available for a second hard disk. Our computer's hard disk held 250 GB of data. Inside the hard drive was three stacked disks on a spindle and what looks like a record needle.

The CD/DVD Rom

Image from web

Our computer had a a DVD player/burner, located on the top left of the desktop tower.

In Conclusion

Taking apart our computer was a lot of fun and much easier than expected. Aside from occasionally requiring a screwdriver to unscrew something, such as the motherboard, most things came apart just by pulling. I imagine this makes it very easy to replace or modify an individual part of the computer without taking apart the whole thing. What made it fascinating for me was that a computer had always been like a black box: I press this button, which makes this happen. It was very interesting to see the physical parts of a computer that work together, just like any other machine. One of our challenges was actually identifying what was what, since all the circuitry looks vaguely the same, at least to the untrained eye.