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PC Demolition Lab

The PC Demolition Lab was done in the CSC 103 How Computer Works course in Ford Hall Foyer on September 25, 2012. We worked in teams of two and created Student Wiki pages in order to provided illustrated report of the lab when we took took apart the computer. I worked with Jessie Daubner in deconstructing computer #6, a DELL OT7550. To see what other computers my classmates took apart, visit the Student Wiki page to view more reports!


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At first glance


When we first took the cover off our DELL OT7550, these were the parts of the computer we could see:

  • Motherboard
  • CD/DVD Player
  • Fan
  • RAM
  • Power supply
  • Cables
  • Hard disk



According to About.comThe motherboard serves to connect all of the components of the computer together.

The memory, optical drives, video card, sound card, central processing unit, harddrive and other ports and expansion cards all connect to the motherboard directly or through cables.

The motherboard can be thought as the "backbone of the computer. (Retrieved Oct. 10 2012, from http://pcsupport.about.com/od/insidethepc/ss/howitfits_2.htm)

  • As seen in the picture, the motherboard is mounted inside the computer case and attached with small screws. The front of the motherboard contains ports that all the internal parts connect to.
  • A single slot houses the CPU and multiple slots allow for one or more memory components to be attached.
  • Other ports that reside in motherboard allow harddrive, cd player, optical drive to connect through ribbon cables.
  • Power from the power supply unit is delivered to the motherboard by a specific port.
  • Also on front of the motherboard are number of card slots where most video/sound cards are connected.



  • Model
    • Intel Pentium 4
    • Model Number :N3595923a3190

  • The Processor is located underneath the fan and is visible as a big square once you open the cover.

  • According to Wikipedia, the processor also known as the central processing unit is a hardware within a computer system which carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical and input/output operations of the system. (Retrieved Oct. 10 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_processing_unit)

  • The speed of processors for a basic laptop today are between 1GHz and 3GHz. This means that if a processor speed is 2GHz it can run 2 billion instructions per second. THe processor is strategically located next to the fan in order to keep the fast working, heated processor's temperature at a cool rate.



Located on the motherboard and close to the processor is the crystals.

  • Crystals are covered by metal
  • The crystals are the metronome for the processor and allows the processor to go at certain speeds.
  • They determine how fast the computer can operate.

Random Access Memory (RAM)


  • Model
    • Samsumg
    • (2) 512 MB

In our DELL OT7550 it contained 2 pieces RAM made by Samung holding 512MB of memory each.

It was located on the motherboard and fitted into two slots - there were a few empty slots in the case you might want to add more memory.

In this DELL computer's case, it has approximately 1024 million bytes of memory that programs can use. Today, the typical size of RAM for a computer is anywhere from 2GB to 8GBs!

According to Wikipedia, RAM, random-access memory is a form of computer storage. This device enables stored data to be accessed in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location, so data can be tapped into quickly in any random order. (Retrieved Oct. 10 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM)

  • RAM provides space for the computer to read and write data to be accessed by the processor.
  • If you add RAM, you decrease the number of times your processor must read data from your hard disk and this makes your computer run faster
  • RAM only stays when your computer in on and running

Small battery


The small battery on the motherboard is close to the processor and the crystals.

  • It is in charge of keeping track of the date and time when the power to the computer is off.
  • This is how when you turn on your computer it automatically adjusts to the correct time!

Power Supply


The power supply unit is located on the base of the computer behind the CD/DVD player.

  • Max output power : 280 Watts

According to Wikipedia, the Power supply unit of a computer converts main AC, alternate curent, to low -voltage regulated DC power, direct current for internal component of a computer. The power supply unit basically supplies the necessary electricity in order for the computer components to run, turn on and perform tasks of the processor. (Retrieved Oct. 11 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_(computer)



There are many cables connected in the computer that connect to the motherboard, power supply, optical drive and many different parts of the computer.

  1. The wires, power supply cables", help carry and transfer power from the power supply unit to all components of the computer in order to function.
  2. The colorful ribbon shaped cables, data transfer cables, moves and transfer data and information from one component of the computer to another like from the CD drive to the motherboard.



The fan is visible once you open the computer case. It is mounted and installed at the side of the computer case.

According to Wisegeek.com:

  • The fan helps prevent the various computer parts from over-heating
  1. It can draw cool air from outside of the computer case
  2. It can get rid of hot air in the computer
  3. It can move air across a heat sink to cool important computer parts like the processor

Hard Disk

  • Model: Western Digital
  • WD800 Caviar SE
  • ATA Hard Drive
  • 80GB

The sides of the hard drive is pre-drilled and mounted on the side of the computer case. It has cables connecting to the powers upply and port for a cable to the motherboard

According to Wikipedia, a hard disk is a random access, magnetic data storage device. It consists of one or more hard rapidly rotating disc coated with magnetic material. The magnetic heads read and write data the surfaces. (Retrieved Oct. 11 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive)

  • The hard disk is basically the main data storage device in a computer
  • The operating system, software and most files are stored the HDD, hard drive"
  • The end of the hard disk has a port for a cable to connect to the motherboard
  • A typical size for a modern day hard disk is measured in GB and TB

Optical Disk (DVD/CD player/burner)

  • Model: Toshiba Samsung / Model SC-14S / CD-Master 48E

The CD drive is located near the hard disk and is attached to cables that connect to the motherboard and the power supply unit.

According to Wikipedia, optical disk drives use laser light as a process of reading and writing data to optical disc. Some drives only read from disc , but now most are readers and recorders. Compact discs and DVDs are common optical media that can be read and recorded by the the optical drive. (Retrieved Oct. 11 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_disc_drive)