Sharon V's CSC231 2014 Page

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Class: CSC231 Date: 10/6/14 On 10/7/2014, I took a PC apart.


We took apart a desktop computer, a Dell DCNE, with the purpose of observing and learning about its components. This picture shows the assembled PC:

CSC231 SV CPU.jpg

On the side of the PC are stickers that show the make, model, and serial number. On the sides are also the USB and Ethernet ports, as well as the headphone and microphone jacks. There is also a CD/DVD drive.

CSC231 SV CPU side.jpg

Upon removing the cover, the first parts that are visible are the power source, the motherboard, the RAM, several cables, and other components such as the video card and the cooling system:

CSC231 SV CPU open.jpg


On the motherboard are several components, the most important of which is the processor. On the motherboard itself, several lines are visible. These are called bus lines, and they are what allow it to connect and communicate with other parts of the motherboard. It also serves as the interface between the CPU and some external devices, such as flash drives.

CSC231 SV Motherboard.png


In this case, the processor is an Intel Core Duo, 2.4 GHz. The model is E6600. It was located underneath the cooling system. The processor carries out the instructions of a computer program, which is done through basic arithmetic, logic, and input/output operations. Since the processor carries out thousands of instructions per second, the processor becomes extremely hot. For this reason, a cooling system is necessary.

CSC231 SV Processor.jpgCSC231 SV Processor2.jpg


Another one of the components is the RAM (Random Access Memory), which in this case is a 2GB Samsung. It is positioned closest to the CD/DVD drive, and there are two slots for RAMs, but in this case only one was in use. RAM is a form of data storage, and what is useful about it is that data items are read and written in roughly the same amount of time, whereas with other types of memory storage it depends on the location, and it takes significantly longer than it does for the RAM.

CSC231 SV RAM.jpg


Other components visible are the battery and the crystal. The crystal is made out of quartz, and it vibrates or ticks in order to give a frequency to the processor. The battery is what powers the computer’s clock while it is turned off. The battery usually lasts several years without problems, but it stops working eventually. When this happens, the computer won’t be able to save the time settings properly anymore. In this case, all that needs to be done is replace it.

CSC231 SV Battery.jpgCSC231 SV Quartz Crystal.jpg

CD/DVD Drive

One of the components visible upon opening the computer is the CD/DVD drive. Underneath the DVD drive was the hard drive, and in this specific computer it holds 160 GB.

CSC231 SV DVD drive.jpg

Hard Drive

The hard drive (or hard disk) is a data storage device used for storing information. The information is stored using disks that rotate rapidly. The data is stored in sectors, called tracks. The disks, called platters, cannot move independently, although they each have different read/write heads. On this specific computer, the hard drive holds 160 GB, and it was located underneath the DVD drive.

CSC231 SV Hard drive.jpgCSC231 SV Hard drive 2.jpg

Cooling System

The cooling system consists of the fan and a large heat sink, which help dissipate the heat. The cooling system is essential to the computer because the processor becomes extremely hot while it’s performing instructions. A computer or laptop overheating is one of the most common issues computer users experience, and if it overheats too much, it could burn out the motherboard, rendering it useless. The computer’s performance will also be much slower if it’s overheating, and in some cases it will also freeze and shut down.

CSC231 SV Cooling System 1.jpgCSC231 SV Fan.jpg

Cabling System

There were several cables connected to the motherboard. They were connected to some of the other components, such as the DVD drive and the USB ports. The cables allow information to be sent between the motherboard and the components.

CSC231 SV Cables.jpg

Power Supply

The power supply is in charge of converting AC to low-voltage DC power that allows the internal components of the computer to run. There are several cables because each one is used for a specific component.

CSC231 SV Power Supply.jpg