103b-ao PC Lab

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  • On Monday, February 7, 2011, 9:00 am CSC103 Lab had an up close and person look inside Dell computers.

The Demolition Team

THE ADA'S DO IT RIGHT!! Stacey.jpg Jan.jpg

Intact Dell Optiplex GX620: Under the Hood


These pictures just prove the computer was well intact and secure before we began the demolition process.

We removed the cover by giving a good tug on the release and found lots of dust on the components. Visible were the power supply, motherboard, heatsink, fan, RAM and video and sound cards and lots of cables.


The Juice and the Veins

The power supply was a bit difficult to remove. The screws secured the power supply from outside the case, and thankfully Professor Thiebaut provided physical assistance to encourage their release.

The power supply was heavy compared to the other components, and ours showed an output of 305 watts.

DellPowerSupply.jpg DellPowerSupplyAtt.jpg The cables connect the mother board to the peripherals, such as the CD/DVD, power supply, fan, video cards, et cetera. The cables are the "bus" for moving information from the mother board to the other components of the computer to receive information and communicate.

The Brains

Commonly referred to as the brains of the computer, the hard drive sat firmly
in a slot on the bottom of the computer towards the front. This particular drive held 250.0 GB of memory.
The drive is encased in plastic and required a special tool and expertise to open.


When the hard drive was opened, it revealed three round disks. The disks are magnetic and a laser reads them at a very high speed. The disks are similar to a DVD in size, however, significantly thicker.

DellHardDrive2.jpg The hard drive felt slightly heavier and about the size of an old 8-trak tape.

The Cortex

If the hard drive is the brains, then the RAM (random access memory) is the cortex. The arrow shows where to insert card.


RAM cards were easily removed, once you released the tabs on either end and pulled the card straight out of the slot. The RAM cards we removed were manufactured by Samsung. Each card held 512MB of memory. RAM likes to travel in pairs, and if a user wanted to upgrade, they would need to have either two or four individual RAM cards to insert into the available slots. In our computer, there were two empty slots and could have accommodated additional RAM to increase its speed.


The Rhythmn

This Dell computer had a combo CD/DVD readable/writeable drive installable at the top and front side of the computer.

DellCDDVD.jpg DellCDDVD2.jpg

The Flagship: Mother Board, her crystal and BIOS battery

DellMother.jpg DellMother2.jpg Click on photo to enlarge

The mother board is attached by screws to the side of the computer and connected to components by cables. There are lines embedded in the board that transmit signals to the processor to run the programs.

By clicking on the photo to the right, you will also see identified the crystal and the BIOS battery, which keeps the BIOS chip alive.

The Processor

ProcessorB.jpg ProcessorA.jpg ProcessorC.jpg

The processor is attached to the mother board, and embedded in a case that opens by releasing the metal bar lever from its locked position. We were able to remove the processor, as seen in the photograph. However, we needed to clean off the debris covering the etched in information regarding specifications. This is an Intel '04 Pentium 4, 3.40 GHZ/2M/800/04A, Model No. 650 SL 727 3449A893 from Costa Rica.