103b al 2012f

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Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270


The Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270 is a standard desktop PC with a Windows operating system created in 2001.

After first opening the computer the parts visible were:

  • power supply
  • motherboard
  • fans
  • wires
  • chipset(s)
  • ports
  • heat sink

Power Supply Unit

  • to the right of the motherboard
  • max output 210 watts
  • The power supply is a large metal box with wires coming out of one end that converts high voltage AC electricity to low voltage DC electricity that can be used by the computer circuits. The circuits on the motherboard only need 5 volts of electricity to function. The power supply is controlled by the motherboard [1]



The motherboard is the home of the CPU (within the microprocessor), memory, and sockets. It is a printed circuit board and connects all peripheral drives. The electrical connections on the motherboard make it possible for the various drives to communicate. The RAM, chipset, and processor are located on the motherboard. Therefore, motherboards need to be cooled with fans and heat sinks.


  1. Sockets
  2. RAM slots
  3. chipset
  4. battery
  5. integrated circuits
  6. power connectors


  • Intel Pentium 4
    • 3.2 GHz
    • “A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit (IC) 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.” According to the Microprocessor Wikipedia article

Random Access Memory (RAM)

The RAM is located on the motherboard near the heat sink. Two ‘’’512 MG’’’ RAM chips were in the Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270. RAM is used for data storage in personal computers. Data can be accessed quickly because it can be retrieved in any random order.


There are 2 types of RAM:

  1. static RAM (SRAM), in which “a bit of data is stored in the state of a flip-flop”. SRAM is generally faster but more expensive to produce. “[2]
  2. dynamic RAM (DRAM) is used in most computers because it is less expensive. DRAM is composed of transistor/capacitor pairs that form memory cells. [3]


  • The small quartz crystals are contained in aluminum cases on the motherboard. It supports the processor speed. The vibrations of the oscillating crystal create electrical energy that allows the processor to run at a much faster speed than it would on electricity alone. Crystal oscillator Wikipedia page


Fan on top of microprocessor

“As processors, graphics cards, RAM and other components in computers have increased in speed and power consumption, the amount of heat produced by these components as a side-effect of normal operation has also increased. These components need to be kept within a specified temperature range to prevent overheating, instability, malfunction and damage leading to a shortened component lifespan.” See the Computer fan Wikipedia page

Heat Sink

Heat Sink

Heat sinks dissipate the heat produced by a microprocessor into the surrounding air. It is mounted on top of the microprocessor on the motherboard. It prevents the microprocessor from overheating and malfunctioning.



The battery on the motherboard allows the computer to keep track of the day and time even when it is turned off. The one found in the Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270 happened to be a Panasonic 3 volt round battery.

Hard Disk

Open hard disk drive
  • located beside the CD-ROM drive
  • 40GB

The hard disk is a magnetic disk used to store and retrieve information. The entire drive contains a platter, a spindle, an actuator arm, and the actuator itself. It is connected by wires to the motherboard and power supply. If the hard drive is exposed to air it almost immediately stops working because the dust in the air damages the disk and makes it unreadable.

Optical Disk Drive

top view of the CD-ROM drive
  • CD-ROM drive
  • “An optical disc drive (ODD) is a disk drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves within or near the visible light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs.” [4] The Dell had a CD-ROM drive. ROM stands for ‘read only memory’, meaning the Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270’s optical drive can only read and not burn disks.


Ribbon cables and power cables connecting the optical drive and the hard drive to the motherboard and power supply unit

The wires in the computer act as an interface connecting the internal devices. In the Dell Opti-Plex GZ-270 outdated ribbon cables connect the CD drive, the hard drive, and the floppy drive to the motherboard and transport data. [5] Other colored wires with pins also connect the peripheral drives and the motherboard to the power supply.


According to Wikipedia: “a port serves as an interface between the computer and other computers or peripheral devices. Physically, a port is a specialized outlet on a piece of equipment to which a plug or cable connects. Electronically, the several conductors making up the outlet provide a signal transfer between devices.” Ports include:

  • Ethernet
  • IEEE 1394 interface
  • Parallel port
  • PS/2 connector
  • Serial port
  • USB drive
  • VGA connector


--103b-al 17:51, 8 October 2012 (EDT)