CSC231 RB PC Lab

From CSclasswiki
Jump to: navigation, search
CSC231 rb Open Computer.jpeg


The goal of this lab was to investigate the inside of a desktop computer to become better acquainted with the different parts. The computer used was an outdated Dell (PC) desktop.

Parts of the Computer


CSC231 rb Processor.jpeg

Also know as the CPU (Central Processing Unit), the processor carries out instructions of computer programs. It can perform logical and arithmetic operations and uses binary data. It has four registers (eax, ebx, ecx and edx) that are used as specialized storage. The computer's internal clock sends peaks or pulses, and with each peak the processor carries out an action.

The computer had an Intel processor, as do most computers today. The clock speed varies quite a bit depending on the computer, but current Dell desktop models come with between 2.5 to over 3 GHz (GigaHertz). CPUs produce quite a lot of heat while working. This is called power dissipation which is measured in Watts. CPU power dissipation can vary from 75 to 130 Watts. So that the processor does not over heat, a heat sink is placed on top of the chip and a fan transfers the heat from the sink to the air.


CSC231 rb Memory.jpeg

The Memory or RAM (Random-Access Memory) is a computer's temporary data storage. It stores lists of instructions for the processor to carry out. How much RAM a computer has installed controls how fast a computer can run. Every computer has a limited number of slots for RAM, so there is limit to how much it can be upgraded. All of the data can be accessed directly (randomly). The memory card is made of a combination of transistors and capacitors that store a single binary unit of data each. Desktops nowadays come with between 2 and 8 GB of RAM.

Disk Drive

CSC231 rb Disk Drive.jpeg

The disk drive reads and writes data with a floating magnetic head above spinning disks or platters. It is also called a hard drive because the disks, unlike those of a floppy or zip disk, are hard. Each disk is made of magnetic regions that hold a single binary unit of information.

This particular disk has had all the pins on the interface connector were bent flat so that no one could get the data from the drive. Disk drives are usually available with between 250GB and 1TB (1000GB).


CSC231 rb Motherboard.jpeg

All the main components of a computer connect to the mother board. Daughterboards, such as memory, sound or video cards and the processor fit into the motherboard, and drives plug into it. It is also known as the main board or the system board.

Disk Drives

Floppy Drive

CSC231 rb Floppy Drive.jpeg

Can read and write to floppy disks which were a common form of data storage and exchange from the mid-70's to late 90's.

Zip Drive

CSC231 rb Zip Drive.jpeg

Zip drives were a short lived super-floppy storage from the late 90's. They were quickly replaced by flash drives.

CD Drive

CSC231 rb CD Drive.jpeg

Compact disk drives can read data, but cannot write. They are usually used to distribute software or music. This CD drive is also a DVD (Digital Video Disk) drive meaning it can read DVDs that store videos.


Sound Card

CSC231 rb Sound Card.jpeg

The sound card controls the input and output of sound devices.

Video Card

CSC231 rb Video Card.jpeg

The video card controls the output of images. It could possibly also do 3D scenes, 2D graphics, video graphics and many others.

Network Card

CSC231 rb Network Card.jpeg

The network card has an ethernet port that allows access to a network.

Other Parts

Heat Sink

CSC231 rb Heat Sink.jpeg

The heat sink transfers the heat produced from the CPU so that it does not overheat.


CSC231 rb Fan.jpeg

The fan cools the heat sink.

Ribbon Cable

CSC231 rb Ribbon Cable.jpeg

Ribbon cables connects all the different drives the the motherboard.