CSC231 2010 Colin

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My name is Colin Roache and I am a Hampshire student taking CSC231.

Below is some of my work for the class.


PC Demolition Lab Report

While I was not present at the time of the PC demolition, here is a list of the major parts of a working personal computer:

A slightly blurry photo of a motherboard
  • Motherboard
    • A motherboard is the backbone of a computer's physical architecture, holding all element in place, while providing electrical conduits for centralized signal, power and data distribution between other components. Some motherboards will have built-in facilities, such as an integrated sound card, while others start bare, leaving it to the person assembling the PC to insert such elements.

The bottom of a CPU
  • Central Processing Unit
    • A central processing unit (CPU) is the main computational portion of a PC. A CPU may contain a single or multiple processing cores which each have limited memory registers and can each run manipulations, or instructions, on said registers. CPUs come in different architectures, which defines the type and amount of available registers and instructions. When writing in assembly, a programmer is working directly with the facilities of the CPU, reading and writing to registers and explicitly sending instructions.

While it is not clear what the manufacture of this processor is, many modern computers use Intel x86 processors. Most modern processors are 2-3Ghz, usually have 2-4 cores and produce up to 100W of heat.

A HDD with mounting brackets
  • Hard Disk Drive
    • A hard disk drive (HDD) is currently the most common and economical persistant mass storage device found in a PC. It contains a magnetically encoded disk, a read/write arm, a motor to control the disk spin and a controller to manage power and data I/O. A modern HDD typically ranges from 500-1500 GB.

A floppy drive
A zip drive
  • Removable Storage Drive
    • Removable storage drives, is a classification of hardware components which allow for the reading of storage media. This can include CD drives, floppy drives, Blue-Ray drives and flash card readers. While some drives can only read media, some are also capable of writing or rewriting.

A stick of RAM
  • Random-Access Memory
    • Random-access memory (RAM) is a rapid and temporary data storage location. While HDDs provide large and persistant data storage, they have relatively slow read and write times. Conversely, CPU registers offer very fast read-write times, yet are very limited in availability and loose data upon power loss. RAM provides an intermediary step, by offering large temporary memory with rapid read-write times. RAM contains many integrated circuits which allow for contant-time data read-write. Most modern RAM chips are 1-2 GB, and can be run in parallel, meaning that the modern computer usually has 4-8 GB of RAM.

A Sound Blaster sound card
  • Sound Card
    • A sound card is a dedicated chip designed for audio processing and conversion. multiple outputs and input and usually present on a sound card.

A video card
  • Video Card
    • A video card is a dedicated chip designed for graphics processing. Video cards are contain a GPU and dedicated graphics RAM.
  • Graphics Processing Unit
    • A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a processing chip, much like the CPU, which is optimized for graphics. While a CPU has integer operations, which can be combined for floating point operation, and a small register set, a GPU's instruction set is designed to natively handle floating point numbers. Additionally, a CPU has a small number of registers, but a GPU has many concurrent registers, and one instruction can operate on all registers simultaneously. This allows for repetitive floating point operators, such as those common in graphics, to be completed very rapidly.

A heat sink for a CPU
  • Heat dispersion
    • The shear amount of electrical operations that make a PC run generate a considerable amount of heat. While a warm PC is not usually a problem, an uncooled PC will reach temperatures high enough to melt its internals or possibly burn its users. To combat this, PC designers implement many methods of heat dispersion. The simplest and most common method is the use of fans. While this can cool the PC as a whole, it is important to cool the CPU even more, as it is the hottest part of a computer. PC designers commonly place a heat sink directly on top of the CPU, which absorbs the heat, and releases it faster then the CPU normally could. This is achieved by the heat sink's clever grooved design which increases metal surface area and in turn increases the rate of achievable heat dispersion.

The power supply can be in on the far right of the picture
  • Power Supply
    • The power supply unit (PSU) is rezponible for taking common house hold electrical current (120V AC) and converting into 5V and 12V DC to power the different parts of a computer. Power supplies range in output, but typically output around 300-500W.

--Ccr09 00:14, 12 September 2010 (UTC)