103b au 2012f

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PC Demolition Lab

Assignment: Take apart a PC and take notes on the parts of the PC

Purpose: Understand and recognize the important elements of a computer


The make and model number of the computer I disassembled Windows R XP Professional DELL OPTIPLEX GX620


The parts that were visible when I removed the cover:

  • Motherboard
    • Circuit
    • RAM
  • Fan
  • Cables
  • DVD Drive
  • Power Supply



  • bottom of the fan, next to the power supply/ DVD drive


According to Techterms: "The motherboard is the main circuit board of your computer and is also known as the mainboard or logic board. Attached to the motherboard, you'll find the CPU, ROM, memory RAM expansion slots, PCI slots, and USB ports. It also includes controllers for devices like the hard drive, DVD drive, keyboard, and mouse. Basically, the motherboard is what makes everything in your computer work together." (in Techterms. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.techterms.com/definition/motherboard)

The lines seen on the motherboard are the circuits, which transfers data from the memory to the processor. The motherboard also has small battery attached to it called the motherboard battery. According to Kids-online: "The motherboard battery is used to preserve the computer's time and BIOS settings while the computer is turned off." (in Kids-online. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.kids-online.net/learn/clickjr/details/bat.html)


  • Found on the motherboard
  • Intel '04 Pentium
    • Model: 3518B008

Processorsq.jpg 103b-auprocessor.jpg

According to ComputingStudents: The Processor also known as Central Processing Unit (CPU) or microprocessor "controls the operation of a computer. Units within the CPU perform arithmetic and logical operations and decode and execute instructions... The processor consists of the Control Unit and Arithmetic-Logic Unit." (in ComputingStudents. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.computingstudents.com/dictionary/index.php?word=Central%20Processing%20Unit)

According to Kioskea: The processor is also defined as "an electric circuit that operates at the speed of an internal clock called a crystal. The crystal subjected to an electrical current that sends pulses, called "peaks." The clock speed (also known as cycle), corresponds to the number of pulses per second, written in Hertz (Hz)." (in Kioskea. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2012, from http://en.kioskea.net/contents/pc/processeur.php3)



  • In the PC, the RAM was found next to the DVD Drive and power supply. It was attached to the motherboard.
  • Made by Samsung. 512MB

According to Techterms: "RAM is an acronym for random access memory, a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; RAM is made up of small memory chips that form a memory module. These modules are installed in the RAM slots on the motherboard of your computer.

Every time you open a program, it gets loaded from the hard drive into the RAM. This is because reading data from the RAM is much faster than reading data from the hard drive. Running programs from the RAM of the computer allows them to function without any lag time. The more RAM your computer has, the more data can be loaded from the hard drive into the RAM, which can effectively speed up your computer."(in Techterms. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.techterms.com/definition/ram)

Hard Disk

  • The hard disk was found on the bottom of the DVD drive
  • It holds 40GB


According to Webopedia: "A magnetic disk on which you can store computer data. The term hard is used to distinguish it from a soft, or floppy disk. Hard disks hold more data and are faster than floppy disks. A hard disk can store anywhere from 10 to more than 100 gigabytes." (in Webopedia. Retrieved in Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/hard_disk.html)

Opening the hard disk, I saw:

  • the platter (disk)
  • the head
  • arm

According to Webopedia: "A single hard disk usually consists of several platters. Each platter requires two read/write heads, one for each side. All the read/write heads are attached to a single access arm so that they cannot move independently." The head can read/write the tracks (where data can be written) on the platters. (in Webopedia. Retrieved in Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/hard_disk.html)

Power Supply

  • Output of 250W
  • Next to the DVD Drive and motherboard(right-hand side)


According to Webopedia: "The power supply (unit) or PSU is a component that supplies power to a computer. The power supply pulls the required amount of electricity and converts the AC (Alternating) current DC (Direct) current. It also regulates the voltage to eliminate spikes and surges common in most electrical systems." (in Webopedia. Retrieved in Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/power_supply.html)

DVD Drive

  • The DVD R/RW drive was found next to the headphone/ microphone jack and below the power supply.

According to Techterms: DVD R/RW drive is also referred to as an optical drive. "In the real world, "optical" refers to vision, or the ability to see. In the computer world, however, "optical" refers to lasers, which can "see" and read data on optical discs. These discs include CDs and DVDs, which are made up of millions of small bumps and dips. Optical drives have lasers that read these bumps and dips as ones and zeros, which the computer can understand. Some common types of optical drives include CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-RW, and Blu-ray drives. CD and DVD writers, such as CD-R and DVD-R drives use a laser to both read and write data on the discs. The laser used for writing the data is much more powerful than the laser that reads the data, as it "burns" the bumps and dips into the disc. While optical drives can spin discs at very high speeds, they are still significantly slower than hard drives, which store data magnetically. However, because optical media is inexpensive and removable, it is the most common format used for distributing computer software." (in Techterms. Retrieved in Oct. 7, 2012, from http://www.techterms.com/definition/opticaldrive)