103b at 2012

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The life and death of Dude the Dell*

Lab report for CSC 103
By: Ariana DasGupta

Prep-work and naming

After prepping the work station, my partner and I were ready to dissect the John Doe in an attempt to learn more about his life and eventual death. First, however, we decided to christen John Doe “Dude the Dell” in honor of the popular “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” ads that aired on TV during the early 2000s. Naming him Ben Curtis would have just been morbid.

If the above video does not work, you can view the commercial on YouTube by clicking here.

Initial reactions

Dissecting Dude the Dell was not difficult—there were two buttons conveniently placed on either side of Dude that, when pressed, revealed everything under the hood. Bellow is a labeled picture of the subject:

103b at open labeled.jpg

Power Supply

Electricity was to Dude what air is to us—without it, he couldn’t function. As such, he had an area where a cabled could attach him to a power supply:

103b at power plug.jpg

and a method of converting the electricity to a voltage he could safely handle. In Dude’s case, the power supply outputted 210 watts. The electricity would then travel to other parts via electrical wires.

103b at power.jpg 103b at power label.jpg

Motherboard

The large green structure that takes up the majority of Dude’s cadaver is known as the motherboard. The motherboard acts as Dude’s skeletal and nervous system. Electrical signals pass through the various circuits in the motherboard. Because the electricity flows through the motherboard, Dude’s other parts must be some how connected to it, be it through a direct connection or through wires.

Examples of the mother board can be seen in the macroscopic picture provided above and in the background of the "battery" and "crystal" pictures.

Processor

The processor would have acted as Dude’s brain. It would have received user input, processed the information, and sent out instructions to the RAM. There would have been constant communication between the Processor and RAM while Dude was functioning and powered on. Because of this constant communication, a fan was placed on top of Dude’s processor to prevent overheating and, in extreme cases, melting.

Much like the Dell in the above commercial, Dude sports a Pennium 4 processor. Bellow is a picture of Dude’s processor.

103b at processor2.jpg 103b at processor label.jpg
(Intel Pentium 4, 2.8GHZ, 3420A336)

This outdated processor was used in Dells during the 2000’s. Based on this, we can deduce that Dude was anywhere between 4 and 12 years of age before his eventual demise.

RAM

The next step to figuring out who Dude was and how he acted on a daily basis was to look at his memory. Dude had half a gigabyte of memory, with the capacity for what looks like two or three full gigs. Based on this, it can be assumed that dude was not as good at multitasking as newer computers are. His limited short-term memory would have limited the number of applications that could be running simultaneously. This limited memory would have caused Dude to move at a turtle’s pace, especially when he upgraded to newer applications that, while fancier, take up more RAM (usually).

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Left: All RAM.
Right: Strip of RAM

Hard disk

While short term memory is important for in-the-moment tasks, without long term memory, all progress would be lost the moment Dude powered down. Because of this, he was equipped with a Hard disk. All long term information was stored in the hard disk, where it would survive even after losing power.

103b at hardrive outside.jpg 103b at hardrive open.jpg
Left: Dude's hard disk before being opened.
Right: My lab partner and I opening the hard disk

The inside of the hard disk resembles a record player. Inside are platters, something that resembles a record player’s needle, and a high powered magnet. The magnet makes the “needle” spin quickly and there for read the information stored in the platter quickly.


103b at hardrive inside2.jpg


Dude could only hold 40 gigs of memory in long term storage. As a matter of comparison, modern laptops can hold several hundred gigabytes in their hard disks.

Battery

Located in the motherboard was a small silver disk. Further investigation found the silver disk to be a battery, the function of which was to, like the hard disk, remember information after the power was cut. The battery would have stored information like the date and time.

103b at battery.jpg

Crystal

Like the battery, the Crystal was found directly on the motherboard. The crystal vibrates and generates the frequency of the processor.


103b at crystal.jpg

CD Burner/ DVD drive

Dude’s CD Burner/DVD drive would have allowed users to both burn CDs and play DVDs. It assumed that if Dude could play DVDs, he could also play CDs. The CDs and DVDs in question are not limited to music and movies—Dude would have been able to play anything from videogames to presentations stored on a CD or DVD.
103b at DVD outside.jpg 103b at DVD inside.jpg
Left: Outside of the DVD drive
Right: DVD Drive as seen under to hood

Closing

After detailed search, it seems Dude’s cause of death was old age. With a mere gigabyte of RAM and paltry 40 gigs of Hard disk space, Dude simply could not adapt to the every changing fast-paced technology world.

103b at done.jpg



* Note: this assignment is written as a mock autopsy purely for comedic purposes and refers to the “dissection” of a computer, not a person/humanoid.