CSC231 2010 Julia

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PC demolition report

Julia Burns

CSC 231



For this lab, as a class we deconstructed a Dell desktop PC and removed its parts. The purpose of the lab was to familiarize ourselves with the workings of a personal computer to begin our study of microprocessors and assembly language. When studying assembly language it is very important to understand what is going on in a computer at the physical level; this is the main difference between the study of assembly language and higher-level languages. More specifically, we wanted to get an idea of what the processor and the memory of the computer look like in real life, since we will be dealing with them throughout the semester.

Parts of the Computer


The central processing unit, also known as the CPU or the processor, of a computer is the part that reads, interprets, and executes the instructions of a program. When we write in assembly language, we are sending instructions to the processor directly. The instructions must be very basic for the processor to understand them, this is why assembly programs are written in more elementary steps than programs in higher-level languages. The operating frequency of a CPU is a large factor in determining the efficiency of the computer; Modern CPUs run at operating frequencies exceeding 3 GHz. A common CPU model is the MOS 6502.


Power supply

Hard disk

Heat sink


Sound and video

Sound card

Video card


Floppy drive

Zip drive