Ashley L's CSC231 2014 Page

From CSclasswiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Ashley Loe's Lab Report

Class: CSC231 Date: 10/6/14

On 10/7/2014, I took a PC apart. The instructions are available here.


Steps taken and discoveries:

This lab was meant to help students understand and visualize what a computer is doing when it is processing information as you use it. By taking apart a PC and looking at what is inside of it, we gain a better and clearer concept of what a PC does and the specific parts that come into play as it is being used. Moreover, a hands-on labs allows us to examine each part of the computer and how all the parts work together in order to process information and handle data.

  • Our Dell PC. Model: DCNE.

CSC231AL dell.jpg

  • Opening up the PC by taking off the top cover:

After taking off the top cover of the PC, the fan, the power supply, the CD/DVD drive, and the motherboard are all visible. CSC231AL open.jpg

  • the motherboard

The motherboard is the basis of the entire computer and holds all the circuitry that makes a computer work. It connects all the parts of a computer together.
CSC231AL motherb.jpg

  • the hard disk (which you may want to take apart).

Hard disk contains the discs that store all the data associated with the computer. Unlike RAM, this stores permanent memory is not volatile. This hard disk can hold 250GB of data.
CSC231AL hd.jpg
Inside the hard disk is a spindle motor that reads data off of the discs (also called platters) that data is stored on.
CSC231AL hdinside.jpg

  • the RAM

The PC had two RAM cards, each was 1GB each. In total, there was 2GB of RAM. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which is volatile, temporary memory. Whenever the computer is on and runs a program, those instructions are stored in RAM. After the machine is shut down, the cache and RAM are cleared. RAM is important for being able to run programs simultaneously and quickly.
CSC231AL RAM.jpg

  • the crystal giving its frequency to the processor

This part is located on the motherboard and is kept running by the backup battery, that runs even the PC is shut off. The crystal quartz keeps very reliable time as a oscillator. All electronic clocks are based on a circuit which oscillates at a known frequency. The number of times the output from this circuit passes a particular point in the wave, and the number of time intervals of known duration that have passed, which is also known as frequency. CSC231AL crystal.jpg

  • the processor

Also known as the CPU, this sits on the motherboard and has its own cooling system. All instructions a user gives to a computer are processed by this part, which are done in billions of cycles per second. The better the processor, the faster the computer can perform and complete tasks. After removing it from the case, we saw that it was an Intel '04 Pentium D model.
CSC231AL processor.jpg

  • the cooling system for the processor

The internal fan disperses the large amounts of heat from the energy generated by the processor. The computer system must be kept cool to avoid overheating or other damages. The fan blows out the hot air away from the PC and uses cooler air to cool down the heated components.
CSC231AL fan.jpg
The fan works together with the heat sink to cool off the processor. A heat sink works by taking hot air into its aluminum structure and then the fan pulls the heat away from it. The fan then pushes cooler air through the heat sink vents.
CSC231AL fan2.jpg

  • The CD-Rom drive

Allowed the computer user to insert a DVD or CD into the computer. It is located in the corner of the PC, along the side where the user can insert a CD or DVD to be read by this drive.
CSC231AL cd.jpg

  • The power-supply

The power supply unit takes alternating currents when the computer cord is plugged into outlet, and converts them to direct currents in order to power the computer. The power supplied by this process powers all the functions of the entire PC. It can output 280W.
CSC231AL power.jpg

  • The cabling system.

Cables connected from the power supply to various parts of the computer to keep it running. The cables distribute power to where it is needed in the computer.
CSC231AL cable.jpg


Question 1 What is the make and model number of the computer you are taking apart?
The make of the PC is a Dell and the model number is DCNE.

Question 2 What are the parts visible when you remove the cover?
parts visible: fan, motherboard, RAM, cd/dvd drive, cables, power cords, battery, crystal cover, power supply.

Question 3 Where is the processor? What brand and model number is it? Remove it from the motherboard!
The processor brand is Intel and the model number is 84 Pentium D.

Question 4 Where is the RAM (Random Access Memory)? How much RAM is in the PC you're taking apart? What company makes it?
Attached to motherboard, there is 2GB of RAM in the PC. The RAM is made by infineon.

Question 5 Where is the CD/DVD player/burner? Is it a CD or DVD drive?
Located in one corner, touching panel that user can interact with.

Question 6 Where is the power supply? How many watts of power can it output?
grey cables connected to motherboard and other devices like fan and cd/dvd drive. power output is 280W

Question 7 What are all the cables for?
Cables supply power from power supply and other mother board and other devices in PC

Question 8 Where is the hard disk? How many Gigabytes of data does it hold?
The harddisk is underneath the cd/dvd drive. Holds 250GB of data.

Optional Question 9 What is inside the hard disk?
Inside the hard disk is a spindle motor that reads data off of the discs (also called platters) that data is stored on.

Question 10 Where is the motherboard? What are the lines you see on the board?
The motherboard is underneath everything when you initially open the case.

Question 11 On the motherboard is a crystal. Where is it? What is it for?
The crystal is a quartz underneath a metal cover in the middle of the motherboard. The crystal oscillates. Each tick executes a cycle.

Question 12 You may find a small battery on the motherboard. What is it for?
powers the clock.