103b-ap PC Lab

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Take apart a PC Lab

On Monday, February 07, 2010, I took part in the CSC103 lab.

My partner (Alisa) and myself Sarah Iverson worked on taking apart a Dell 620GX. 103a-ap teampicture.jpg

Disassembly

First, we popped off the computer cover. We were greeted by the motherboard, power supply, optical drive, fan, and RAM.

103a-ap insides.jpg

Then we decided to investigate the Intel Pentium 4 model A4629 35440193 processor on the motherboard.

103a-ap processor.jpg

The RAM, also on the motherboard, came next. We found two Samsung 512MB RAM sticks, which means that the computer had a total of 1GB of memory.

103a-ap RAMRAM.jpg

We moved on to the power supply. It had a 305 watt capacity and was located in a corner next to the motherboard. There were tons of cables running out of it, which provide power and pass information to the rest of the computer.

103a-ap powersupply1.jpg

103a-ap powersupply2.jpg

The hard disk, located next to the fan/cooling unit toward the front of the tower, contained 250 GB of longterm memory.

103a-ap harddrive.jpg

Our DVD ROM was next to the hard drive.

103a-ap DVD Rom.jpg

Then it was time to take out the motherboard! It was located along the side of the computer, connected to the other parts through cables. The lines on the board are used as pathways for information to travel through circuits.

103a-ap motherboard1.jpg

103a-ap motherboard2.jpg

We tried searching for the crystal on the motherboard, but could not find it. Prof. Thiebaut pointed it out to us, and explained that it tells the computer how fast to execute and acts like a conductor synchronizing the different parts.

103a-ap crystal.jpg

There was also a small battery on the motherboard. We speculated that it is used as backup to the main power supply in case of a power failure, so that data does not get lost.

103a-ap smallbattery.jpg

Steps in disassembly

  1. Turn the computer sideways, pop off the cover.
  2. Remove the cooling unit situated atop the motherboard
  3. Unhook the processor but pulling the lever.
  4. Pop off the two RAM sticks, staggered on the motherboard.
  5. Unscrew and unplug the power supply unit, take it out of the tower.
  6. Pop out the harddrive.
  7. Unscrew and push forward the DVD Optical drive.
  8. Unlatch the video card from the motherboard.
  9. Unscrew motherboard, remove from tower.
  10. Remove fan.
  11. Put everything back the way it was!

Problems

Challenge Surprise Difficulty
We had a surprisingly difficult time removing the motherboard. We did not realize that the video card was connected to the motherboard via a lever AND a screw, and that the motherboard also had two other screws in the middle of the panel which held it down. I was surprised by how easy it was to take apart and put the computer back together. All of the pieces fit together like a puzzle, and it wasn't too difficult to figure it out, even without any sort of manual. Initially, when we were looking for the crystal on the motherboard, we pictured a shiny glass stone, and so were mystified as to its location. But Prof. Thiebaut pointed it out to us, and we realized that a computer crystal is different from a rock.

Putting it back together

We went from an empty cavity...

103a-ap empty.jpg

to trying to figure out how the pieces fit back together.

103a-ap reassembly.jpg

We managed to place everything right back where it belonged...

103a-ap reassembly2.jpg

and our computer was once again whole!

103a-ap compwhole.jpg

Minus a few screws!

103a-ap screws.jpg