103b-am PC Lab

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CSC103 PC Demolition Lab


Stacey A. Schmutz


February 7, 2011

Team Members


Model Number

Dell Optiplex GX620

103b am tower1032.jpg

What is Needed

Your hands and a screwdriver for most of the demolition, and a special tool to open the hard drive case.

Demolition Steps

  • We removed the side of the computer tower to reveal the parts inside.
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  • We located the motherboard and the cpu.
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  • We removed the fan and the heatsink first, then we removed the cpu with just a flip of a locking hinge that was holding the cpu in place.
103b am 1062fan3.jpg Image103b am 1041finfan.jpg 103b am 4040cpu.jpg

  • We had to scratch off some heat protecting gunk on the cpu before we could read the make and model number.
103b am 1043cpu5.jpg Image103b am 1045cpu3.jpg 103b am 1048cpu4.jpg

  • Next we removed the graphics card and RAM from the motherboard. These were easily pulled out.
103b am 1049RAM.jpg Image103b am 1050RAM2.jpg 103b am 1053graphicsonmb.jpg Image103b am 1052graphicscard.jpg

  • The hard disk came out next and a special tool was needed to open the case.
103b am 1038harddisk4.jpg Image103b am 1039harddisk2.jpg 103b am 1054harddisk3.jpg Image103b am 1068shinyhd.jpg

  • The motherboard was the next to come out.
103b am inside1058motherboard.jpg Image103b am 1059cumotherboard.jpg

  • The last items we removed were the CD/DVD drive and the power supply.
103b am inside1055cddvd.jpg Image103b am 1057powersupply.jpg 103b am 1060 powersupply2.jpg

  • After the tower was emptied out, we put everything back in it's place and closed it back up again --- good as new!
103b am 1066empty.jpg Image103b am 1072backtogether.jpg 103b am 1074back2gether2.jpg

Questions and Answers

1. What is the make and model number of the computer you are taking apart?

  • Dell Optiplex GX620

2. What are the parts visible when you remove the cover?

  • Motherboard, video/graphics card, power supply, cpu, CD/DVD drive, hard drive, & fan.

3. Where is the processor? What brand and model number is it? Remove it from the motherboard!

  • Looking at the computer, the processor is to the left side and middle of the motherboard, towards the front of the computer tower. It is an Intel 04 Pentium 4 340 GHz/2M/800/04A 3449A893 658 SL727 COSTA RICA

4. Where is the RAM (Random Access Memory)? How much RAM is in the PC you're taking apart? What company makes it?

  • The RAM is made by Samsung and is located on the top of the motherboard. There are two RAMs @ 512mb for a total of 1024MB.

5. Where is the CD/DVD player/burner? Is it a CD or DVD drive?

  • The CD/DVD drive is located at the top front of the tower. It is both a CD and DVD drive.

6. Where is the power supply? How many watts of power can it output?

  • The power supply is located in the back of the tower at the top. It's output is 305watts.

7. What are all the cables for?

  • The cables serve multiple purposes. They are used for connecting parts together and for transmitting information/power back and forth.

8. Where is the hard disk? How many Gigabytes of data does it hold?

  • The hard disk is located at the front of the tower towards the bottom. It is made by Western Digital and holds 250GB.

9. What is inside the hard disk?

  • There are 3 disks and an "arm" located in the hard drive.

10. Where is the motherboard? What are the lines you see on the board?

  • The motherboard is located bottom right third of the tower (towards the back) when looking at it. The lines are wires / circuits used for transporting information.

11. On the motherboard is a crystal. Where is it? What is it for?

  • The crystals are located on the motherboard. Crystals control speed and are also used for keeping the clock updated.

12. You may find a small battery on the motherboard. What is it for?

  • Keeps the computer time updated and for the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) setting in memory.

Challenges, Surprises, & Discoveries

The screws securing the power supply to the tower were very tight, three of us tried to unscrew them and they would not budge. Finally Professor Thiebaut was able to loosen them for us.

Most parts came out easily enough, some more than others. We had a little trouble getting the fan out, but it finally popped free.

I was surprised at how much dust was inside the computer. Taking apart a computer is a dirty job.

On the other hand, the disks inside the hard drive were super clean and shiny. they looked like mirrors.

103b am 1067insidehd.jpg Image103b am 1070insidehd3.jpg

External Links

To watch a video describing computer hardware, click here

There are more resources on about.com such as this tutorial/slide show

For instructions on how to take apart a computer, click here or here

What is inside a computer?