103b-au PC Lab
My Lab Report for CSC 103
Monday, February 13, 2011
The purpose of this lab was to take apart the PC so that we could get a better understanding of the structure of the PC and to identify the parts included in a PC but are not visible to everyday computer users.
Process of Disabling the PC
The process of taking apart the PC was easier than I expected it to be. My partner and I was a little hesitant at first to pull this apart but in order to open some of the pieces, a little force was necessary. There was no magic in disconnecting the cables from the components in the computer; all we had to do was pull them out. The one thing that we did have difficulty with was when we were opening the hard drive. We could not locate the last screw by ourselves. That last screw was hiding underneath the label, and it was the reason we had such a difficult time opening the hard drive up. When we took a look at the hard disk, I was surprised that this computer only had 40 Gigabytes of data and that there were only two RAMs. I expected there to be more RAM because there were more spaces on the motherboard where the RAMs could be placed.
Some discoveries I made include: 1) there are a few processors on attached to the motherboard and not just the microprocessor 2) there is a small battery on the motherboard to keep track of the time 3) the colored cables are all connected to the power source 4) the data cable is very flat and wide 5) the crystal is not in the form that I thought it would be in
Overall, I'm surprised that taking apart a PC can be fun!
Inside the Computer
When I first remove the cover, the visible parts include:
- CD DRIVE
- HARD DRIVE
- POWER SUPPLY
- DATA CABLE
- COLOR CABLES (for electricity)
Make and Model Number: Dell NPS-210AB A
- Location: Underneath a black fan and on top of the motherboard
- Brand: Intel '01
- Model: Pentium (We could not identify the exact model number)
- Additional Information: The speed of the processor is 2.80 GHz.
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, a microprocessor "incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit, (IC) or at most a few integrated circuits. It is a multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and provides results as output. It is an example of sequential digital logic, as it has internal memory. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary numeral system." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microprocessor).
- Location: The Random Access Memory (RAM) is located on the motherboard near the microprocessor.
- Make: We could not figure exactly which company made the RAM but the logo on the RAM included an "M." This was written on the RAM MT 8VDDT3264AG-40GA 2000 423 BZACGY J011
- Size and Amount of RAM":There were two RAM in this computer with each of 256 MB of memory.
- Additional Information: The RAM does not have anything stored on it when the computer is turned off. It is when the computer is in use, that the RAM begins filling up with binary codes. Any memory on RAM disappears when the computer is turned off again.
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, "Random access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. Today, it takes form of integrated circuits that allow stored data to be accessed in any order with a worst case performance of constant time." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random-access_memory).
- Location: The power supply is located next to the motherboard, and it is covered by a metal box.
- Additional Information: It has many colored cables attached to it. This is because the function of the power supply is to convert the power that comes from the power outlets to the voltage that is needed by the other parts inside the computer. This power supply can output 210W maximum. (The wide cables that are next to the power supply are data cables, and these are used to transfer data from one part of the computer to another.)
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, the power supply unit (PSU) "converts mains AC to low-voltage regulated DC power for the internal components of the computer." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_(computer)).
- Location: The hard disk is located next to the CD/DVD drive.
- Size: It holds 40 Gigabytes of data.
- Additional Information: Inside the hard disk is a disk that stores magnetic bits. The magnetic recordings are formed onto the circular disk that spins. This can be seen in the picture below.
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, the hard disk drive (HDD) "is a device for storing and retrieving digital information...It consists of one or more rigid (hence "hard") rapidly rotating discs (often referred to as platters), coated with magnetic material an with magnetic heads arranged to write data to the surfaces and read it from them." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive).
Inside the Hard Disk
- Location: The CD/DVD Drive (the DVD Drive in this computer) is located on the opposite part of the computer from where the motherboard is located. From our point of view, it it located on the top part of the case for the pc. It is also next to the hard drive, which is the only other part that is on this side of the case.
- CD or DVD?: Our computer has a DVD Drive.
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, the "optical disc drive (ODD) is a disk drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves near the light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to from optical discs...They are also very commonly used in computers to read software and consumer media distributed on disc, and to record discs for archival and data exchange purposes." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_disc_drive).
- Location: The motherboard is attached to the bottom case. It is more clearly visible after we take out the fan on top of the microprocessor, RAM, battery, and crystal and after we disconnect the cables that are attached to the motherboard.
- Lines on the Board: The lines that are visible on the board is the wires (circuits) that transfer information to all components of the motherboard.
- Additional Information: The motherboard is the central board containing many circuits that are connected with many of the other components inside the computer. Some of the components that are attached to the motherboard include the microprocessor, RAM, and crystals.
- Purpose: According to Wikipedia, "In personal computers, a motherboard is the central printed circuit board (PCB) in many modern computers and holds many of the crucial components of the system, providing connectors for other peripherals." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 19 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherboard).
- Location: There is a small battery (the ones that are used in watches) located on the motherboard.
- Purpose: The purpose of having this battery on the motherboard is to keep track of time even when the computer is turned off.
- Location: There are two crystals on the motherboard in this PC, and they are located in different places on the motherboard. One is located closer to the RAM, and the other is located closer to the processor.
- Purpose:These are circuits that tell processors how fast to go. One of them is most likely for the video processor, and the other is for the micro processor. It also makes sure that the computer operates on a clock signal.
A wiki construct that wasn't in the lab, but that I found in one of the wiki resources listed at the bottom of this page is one that would allow me to change the color of the font. There are a number of codes that correspond to each color it allows the fonts to appear in different colors. Such as this.