Alexandria B's CSC231 2014 Page

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Allie Rose Brenon's Lab Report

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

The goals of this lab are to learn about the inside of a computer and to see the different parts that are being used when we are implementing our programs. This will help us visualize what is happening when a program is run. The computer we are taking apart is a Dell PC made on June 15, 2006. The model number is DCNE and the serial number is 9PXP5B1.


Images from each step of the demolition, with information on each part:

  • The case of the computer before we opened it up:
CSC231ARB case.jpg

The case holds everything together and keeps the inner parts safe from outside influences.

  • The inside of the case:
CSC231ARB insidecase.jpg

The parts visible when you remove the cover are the RAM, the crystal, the cooling system, the CD-Rom drive, the power supply, the cabling system, and some parts of the motherboard.


CSC231ARB cables.png

These cables transmit the data. One set connects the CD drive to the motherboard and the other connects the hard drive to the motherboard.


CSC231ARB motherboard.jpg

The motherboard is underneath all the other parts, and connects them all together. The lines on the board are circuits that are transmitting electrical messages to different parts of the computer.

CSC231ARB battery.png

The battery runs the real time clock. This is always running, even when the computer is off, and without it the computer cannot run. The computer accesses the real time clock to find out the time, and the real time clock also holds some RAM.


CSC231ARB crystal.jpg

The crystal is a small piece of quartz that oscillates at a certain frequency. It is inside a metal casing to protect it. The frequency of the crystal determines how quickly the processor can go through instructions - It can only process one instruction each time the crystal oscillates.


CSC231ARB processor.jpg CSC231ARB processorout.jpg

The processor is underneath the cooling system. It is an Intel Pentium D processor from 2004. The processor takes inputs from the operating system and gives outputs. It uses binary data which can be encoded in assembly language. It is the "computing" part of the computer and all of the instructions from the user input go through it.

Cooling System

CSC231ARB coolingsystem.jpg CSC231ARB coolingfan.jpg

The cooling system helps circulate air within the computer. If it was not there, the processor would overheat and would stop working.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

CSC231ARB RAM.jpg CSC231ARB RAM2.jpg

The RAM fits into slots on top of the motherboard. There are two chips of RAM and each hold 1GB of data, so there are 2GB of RAM in the computer. These chips are made by Intel. RAM is used when the processor is running instructions to temporarily store data. The data stored in the RAM disappears when the program being run is terminated or when the computer is shut off.

CD-Rom Drive

CSC231ARB CDDrive1.jpg CSC231ARB CDDrive2.jpg

The CD/DVD Drive is located on top of the hard drive. It reads information from CDs and DVDs and transmits that information to the rest of the computer through the cables.

Power Supply

CSC231ARB powersupply.jpg

The power supply connects the computer to an outside power source so it can run. It can output 280 watts.

Hard Disk

CSC231ARB harddisk.jpg

The hard disk is where long-term memory is stored. The user's files are stored there as well as other data the computer needs to run. The hard disk is underneath the CD Drive. This disk holds 250 GB of data.

CSC231ARB insideharddisk.jpg

Inside the hard disk is the actual "disk" as well as a reader that transmits the information to the user and writes changes back into the stored data.