Mitchel F's CSC231 2014 Page

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Mitchel's Lab Report

On 10/7/14 I took a PC apart. The lab instructions are available here.

The goal of this lab was to get a concrete understanding of the structure of a computer and to test our ability to recognize different components in the process of deconstructing computers that would have otherwise been thrown away.


Steps taken and discoveries:

  • The case of the computer before we opened it up. The computer we took apart was a Dell Dimension 8250:
CSC231MSF Case.jpg

CSC231MSF Case2.jpg

  • The inside of the case:
CSC231MSF CaseInternal1.jpg

CSC231MSF CaseInternal2.jpg

  • The motherboard. The motherboard is the main circuit board and connects the CPU to the RAM, power supply, optical drive, cooling system, and hard drive.
CSC231MSF Motherboard.jpg

  • The processor (CPU). Our processor was a Pentium 4 3GHz processor made in 1981:
Beryl pro.jpg

  • The hard disk, a rotating metal disc that is magnetized to store bits of data. This one is 80GB:
Beryl hard.jpg

  • The RAM was 1GB split over two DDR SIMMs: one manufactured by Infineon and the other by Samsung:
Beryl ram.jpg

  • One of the two crystals determining the motherboard frequency. Next to it is a small battery used to keep track of time:
CSC231MSF Crystal.jpg

  • The processor:
Beryl pro.jpg

  • The cooling system for the processor:
Beryl cool.jpg

  • The optical drive. This computer's optical drive was a CD/DVD reader and writer:
Beryl where is mitchel that slacker.jpg

  • The power supply (PSU) and associated power cables. This power supply is 250W:
Beryl posup.jpg

  • The cabling system. These cables carry data between various parts of the computer and the CPU:
Beryl cab.jpg


1. What is the make and model number of the computer you are taking apart?

2. What are the parts visible when you remove the cover?

3. Where is the processor? What brand and model number is it? Remove it from the motherboard!

4. Where is the RAM (Random Access Memory)? How much RAM is in the PC you're taking apart? What company makes it?

5. Where is the CD/DVD player/burner? Is it a CD or DVD drive?

6. Where is the power supply? How many watts of power can it output?

7. What are all the cables for?

8. Where is the hard disk? How many Gigabytes of data does it hold?

9. What is inside the hard disk?

10. Where is the motherboard? What are the lines you see on the board?

11. On the motherboard is a crystal. Where is it? What is it for?

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