Nicole D's CSC231 2014 Page
Nicole's Lab Report
On 10/7/14 I took a PC apart. The lab instructions are available here
Steps taken and discoveries
- The case of the computer before we open it up:
We took apart a Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop DCNE model.
- The inside of the case:
Demolition of the above computer took place on October 7th, 2014. We were asked to familiarize ourselves with the parts of a computer, documenting our demolition as we identified the various components. The goal of this lab was to use simple hand tools such as screw drivers to disassemble and reassemble a desktop computer, identify various items inside of the computer, and understand the basic function and mechanism to each respective item.
- The motherboard:
The motherboard is what holds many of the other various components of the computer, such as the crystal, the RAM, the microprocessor, USB hubs, VGA, Ethernet ports, and also the external battery. The motherboard is the hub where the many components like the ones above along with others such as graphic and sound cards, can electronically communicate with one another.
- The hard disk:
Once the plastic shell is removed:
The disks themselves:
The hard drive is where all of the information that is saved on a computer is stored, and also later retrieved. Our hard drive had 400 GB of memory. Hard drives work similarly to burning music onto a CD, through magnetic recording. Once you remove the screws and open up the hard drive, you'll find several disks (or platforms), motors to spin the disks and motors to move the head that writes and reads information on the disk, and a small microprocessor (which is pictured in the second picture above) that interfaces with the rest of the computer.
- The RAM:
The RAM functions as the temporary memory system of the computer. It is one of the main players of our course this semester. Information is etched onto the RAM in the form of addresses. The RAM is where data is temporarily stored, which the microprocessor can then use or can be transferred permanently to the hard drive. There were 4 Nanya RAMs with 2 Gb of memory per channel, having a maximum of 8 Gigabytes of memory.
- The crystal:
The crystal is a crystal quartz that naturally oscillates with a bit of electricity to begin. It is encased in silver so as not to interfere with other electromagnetic wavelengths occurring in the computer. The crystal determines the speed at which the microprocessor works.
- The microprocessor:
The bottom of the microprocessor:
The top of the microprocessor:
Our microprocessor was an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 made in Malaysia model. Its clock speed is 2.40 GHz with a 4 MB cache. The microprocessor or the CPU is the physical device that performs instructions. It can access information from the RAM via buses and then perform manipulations on the information. Special storage locations in the CPU itself are called registers. The CPU can access data in registers much faster than data can in memory.
- The cooling system:
Above is the fan that cools down the heat that is exhausted by the microprocessor. The cooling fans are to ensure overheating doesn't happen.
- The CD-rom drive:
Our CD ROM drive was located on top of the hard drive. It is where CD ROM disks can be placed for writing and reading.
- The power supply:
External Power Supply:
The Panasonic battery you see pictured above outputs 3 Volts of power.
Battery Power Supply:
The power supply outputs 280 Watts of power.
- The cabling system:
These cables distribute power from the power supply to the components of the computer.
These cables transfer data between the various components on the motherboard.
- Question 1
What is the make and model number of the computer you are taking apart?
- We took apart a Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop DCNE model.
- Question 2
What are the parts visible when you remove the cover?
- The parts that were visible were the motherboard, the cooling fans for the overall tower and for the microprocessor, the CD/DVD drive, power cables, data cables, and the power supply.
- Question 3
Where is the processor? What brand and model number is it? Remove it from the motherboard!
- It is located on top of the motherboard, encased in a silver covering that requires a lifting mechanism to pop it out of place. Our microprocessor was an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 made in Malaysia model. Its clock speed is 2.40 GHz with a 4 MB cache.
- Question 4
Where is the RAM (Random Access Memory)? How much RAM is in the PC you're taking apart? What company makes it?
- The RAM was connected to the motherboard by two slots that upheld them. There was a lifting mechanism that was used to pop them out. There were 4 Nanya RAMs with 2 Gb of memory per channel, having a maximum of 8 Gigabytes of memory.
- Question 5
Where is the CD/DVD player/burner? Is it a CD or DVD drive?
- The CD/DVD drive was easily accessed once the cover was removed as a superficial component at the bottom left, next to the cooling unit for the microprocessor. It is a DVD writable/CD readable CD/DVD drive.
- Question 6
Where is the power supply? How many watts of power can it output?
- There are two power supplies. One that outputs 280 watts of power. And a separate backup lithium ion battery located on the motherboard that outputs 3 V of power. This back up battery is used to excite the oscillations of the crystal.
- Question 7
What are all the cables for?
- The power cables distributes power that then passes through resistors that bring the amount of Watts down to an appropriate amount so that other components on the motherboard can run. The data cables transmit information between different components in the computer.
- Question 8
Where is the hard disk? How many Gigabytes of data does it hold?
- The hard drive was located underneath our CD/DVD drive. It was encased in two layers of plastic shells. There was cable that connected the hard drive to the motherboard. Our hard drive had 400 GB of memory.
- Optional Question 9
What is inside the hard disk?
- Once you remove the screws and open up the hard drive, you'll find several disks, motors to spin the disks and motors to move the head that writes and reads information on the disk, and a small microprocessor that interfaces with the rest of the computer.
- Question 10
Where is the motherboard? What are the lines you see on the board?
- The motherboard is safely stored underneath all of the other components in the computer. This is for protection of the motherboard as well as it being the main hub of the other parts of the computer. The lines that are etched on are etched on with copper that conducts electricity. These are called the buses, such as the data bus and the address bus, that transmit data to all of the various components.
- Question 11
On the motherboard is a crystal. Where is it? What is it for?
- The crystal is a crystal quartz that naturally oscillates with a bit of electricity to begin. It is next to the microprocessor on the motherboard and encased in silver so as not to interfere with other electromagnetic wavelengths occurring in the computer. The crystal determines the speed at which the microprocessor works
- Question 12
You may find a small battery on the motherboard. What is it for?
- This is a lithium ion battery located on the motherboard that outputs 3 V of power. This battery is used to excite the oscillations of the crystal.