103b ay 2012

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What's Inside a Computer?

Model of the PC: Dell NPS-210AB A

This is what the PC looks like before we took it apart...

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...And, these are the visible parts of the PC right after we removed the cover: 

  • Power supply
  • Fans (one for the power supply and one for the processor)
  • Motherboard
  • DVD-CD drive
  • Hard drive
  • RAM
  • Wires
  • Battery
  • Crystal


Model: Intel ’01 Pentium

Clock rate: 2.80GHz

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The processor is located on the mother board, but it is not immediately visible when we first removed the cover as it was hidden below a fan that is used to dissipate heat generated from the processor.

The processor carries out the instructions of a computer programs to “perform basic perform the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system”. (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 18 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_processing_unit#Design_and_implementation)

There are also other microprocessors on the motherboard for this PC. One of the other ones is specially used for running programs on video games.


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Two crystals are found in this PC. Both are located on the motherboard, and they are used to tell the processors how fast they should run. Crystals can create electrical signals with precise frequency.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

103ay RAM.png 103ay motherboard2.png

Model: We didn’t recognize the brand of the company making these RAMs, but we have its logo, as shown in the pictures!

Two RAMs are found near the CPU on the mother board in our PC. Each of the RAM has a memory of 256MB – it means the PC has about 512MB memory that programs can use.


103ay motherboard.png

Motherboard is the central printed circuit (appeared as the lines we see on the board) board that “holds many of the components of the system, providing connectors for other peripherals.” (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 15 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherboard).

Power Supply

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The power supply is located next to the motherboard and it is separated from other components by a metal cover with a fan attached on one side. The computer uses electricity with a much lower voltage; therefore the power supply is needed to convert the power from outside to the voltage required by the components of the PC.

Maximum output: 210W

Hard Disk

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The hard disk is located on the upper case – opposite to where the motherboard is located. It is a device for “storing and retrieving digital information”, hence computer data.

The hard drive we have in this PC consists of one “rapidly rotating disc coasted with magnetic material and with a magnetic head arranged to write data to the surfaces”. (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Feb. 18 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive)

Optical Disk (CD-RW/DVD drive)

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The CD/DVD drive located side by side with the hard drive. It is used to read CD and DVD.


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There are two types of cables as far as I can recognize. Some cables(marked in RED) are connected to the power supply to carry electricity to other components in the PC, the others(marked in PURPLE) are cables that transfer data between different components.


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One piece of battery is found on the motherboard and it is only functioned as the power source needed to keep track of time when the computer is turned off.


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