103b-ac PC Lab

From CSclasswiki
Jump to: navigation, search

CSC103 PC Demolition Lab

Team members holding the motherboard.
  • Team: Clarissa and Tan (Partner)
  • Date of Demolition: February 7, 2011
  • Make and Model Number of PC: Dell Optiplex GX620
  • Goal of Lab: A hands-on exploration of a PC by disassembling, recognizing, and learning about the different computer parts.

Disassembling the PC</span>

Top view of the motherboard.
View of the ports from the rear of the computer.

Disassembling a computer was a surprisingly easy and straightforward process. The only tools required was a screw driver and a curious mind willing to explore. Clearly organized, all of the computer's parts were designed to be easily taken out and put back in. The hardest part to take out, I found, was the motherboard because it was buried under and connected to many other parts. After removing the cover of the PC, the major computer parts visible include: hard drive, motherboard, video card, power supply, optical drive box, RAM, and...etc.

The Central Nervous System: Motherboard

Top view of the motherboard without the CPU.
Close-up view of the mother board showing the battery (lower-center) and crystal (top-right).

The motherboard provides all the electrical connections that allows the computer's parts to communicate efficiently. It is located on the left of the computer under the heating sink.

  • On the mother board is a crystal which stays in sync with the CPU to determine the processing rate of data.
  • Also it has a battery provides power for the real clock of the computer (to show date and time).

The Brain: Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The processor is found under the cooler or heat sink and has its own special place on the motherboard. It gives the rest of the computer instructions necessary to run programs.

  • This particular CPU's brand and number is: Pentium4 650 SL7Z7

A Computer's Short Term Memory: Random-Access Memory (RAM)

Random-Access Memory (RAM)

Manufactured by Samsung, RAM is located close to the optical drive. It is temporary memory that can be randomly accessed as long as the computer is on. Information is lost after the computer is turned off.

  • Two 512MB RAM (totaling 1024 MB of memory) cards were found in this computer. This particular computer can hold up to four cards at a time.

A Computer's Long Term Memory: Hard Disk Drive

Hard Disk Drive

Data is stored magnetically on a hard disk by a read/write head that floats above the platters. Unlike RAM, information can be permanently stored here even after the computer's power source has been turned off. It is located next to the cooling fan at the front/bottom of the computer.

  • This computer's hard drive can store 250 GB of memory. Although one hard drive was found, this computer is capable of holding up to 2 hard disks.

The Peripheral Nervous System: Optical Disk Drive, Video Card, and Input/Output Devices

Optical Disk Drive
Optical Disk Drive inside the Computer
Input/Output (I/O) Device Ports
Video Card

The optical disk drive reads external media such as DVDs and CDs by using an electromagnetic wave to read or write data.

  • This computer model has two optical disk drives

The video card is responsible for generating output images to a display. Input/Output (I/O) devices such as a flash drive, keyboard, and mouse (that were not present at the demolition) are usually connected to the back of the computer.

The Life Line: Power Supply

Power Supply Box
Power Supply Box

The power supply allows the computer to be "conscious;" it allows the computer to input and output data. The power supply allows for electricity to flow from an external source through many wires/cables to all the computer's parts.

Resassembling the PC</span>

Team Members with Reassembled PC

Overall this lab was a fun and educational experience to discover the parts that make a PC come to life. This helped us learn how the PC works the way it does.