103b bc 2012f

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PC Demolition Lab

On September 25, 2012, my partner, Michelle, and I participated in a PC Demolition Lab in CSC 103. All the students in our class uploaded their lab report on the main wiki page.


The model of the computer we took apart was a Dell OptiPlex GX280.

Dell OptiPlex GX 280

The following parts were visible when we removed the cover:

  • Motherboard
  • RAM
  • Battery
  • CD drive
  • Cables/wires
  • Fans
  • Power Supply



According to Wikipedia, a motherboard is also known as the "mainboard,system board, planar board, or logic board" and composed of the major elements of the computer, such as the "central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherboard). The motherboard is the big green board located next to the CD drive and the power supply. The lines on the motherboard are for bits to move through.

  • The major components of the motherboard include:
  1. Processor
  2. RAM
  3. Battery
  4. Crystal


  • Intel® Pentium® 4
  • Generally range from 1 GHz to 3 GHz
  • Located under the fan
  • The processor or the central processor unit (CPU) is like human brain. According to Wikipedia, it interprets and carries out data and instruction of the computer program through performing the "basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_processing_unit).


  • 512 MB
  • Made by Samsung
  • Located between the processor and the CD drive
  • There were 2 RAMs on our computer
  • Random-access memory (RAM) allows the computer to run smoothly. It is "a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes." Also, RAM is a temporary storage device. (in Webopedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/R/RAM.html).


  • Located on the motherboard, small objects
  • Crystal determines the frequency of the processor. It gives speed to the processer. According to an article by Ken Dwight on TechRepublic, crystal "generates the basic timing signal that is used to produce the various frequencies required by the different parts of the system bus, as well as the processor speed itself." (in TechRepublic. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/your-motherboard-revealed-part-2/5033567).


  • Located on the motherboard
  • The Battery keeps track of time and date on the computer even when the power supply is off.

CD drive

CD drive
  • Located next to the RAMs, on the top of the motherboard
  • CD-Master 48E Model Sc-148, made by Samsung
  • It was a CD drive on our computer, not a DVD drive.
  • According to Wikipedia, CD drives work by employing "a near-infrared 780 nm laser diode." The laser beam is "directed onto the disc via an opto-electronic tracking module, which then detects whether the beam has been reflected or scattered." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-ROM#CD-ROM_drives).

Hard Disk

Hard Disk
  • Located beneath the CD drive and the Floppy-disk drive
  • 120 GB
  • Inside the hard disk, there was a platter (plate that stores info.) and a head (that writes on the magnetic plate).
  • According to Wikipedia, a hard disk drive is "a non-volatile, random-access, magnetic data storage device." The hard disk is composed of "one or more rigid("hard") rapidly rotating discs(platters) coated with magnetic material" and magnetic heads that "read and write data to the surfaces." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive).

Power Supply

  • Located next to the RAMs at the lower right corner.
  • Its output was 280 W
  • Power supply or power supply unit (PSU) "converts mains AC to low-voltage regulated DC power for the internal components of a computer," thus providing power to every parts of the computer. (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_(computer)).


  • Located over the processor
  • Fan is significant for cooling many important components in the computer such as, processor and RAM. According to Wikipedia, these components of the computer must be "kept within a specified temperature range to prevent overheating, instability, malfunction and damage leading to a shortened component lifespan." (in Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 5 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_fan).


  • Located all over the computer
  • Cables/wires connect all the parts of the computer and supply power.