Lab 3 Computer Hardware: Report

Objectives: The objective of this lab was to further my knowledge of what goes on inside the computers that are used everyday, and to find out how they can be safely assembled and disassembled.

Equipment list: The equipment used was an old decommissioned PC, and simple toolkit, as well as the old computing equipment scattered around the room for observation.

Notes and Observations: After acquiring the retired PC, the first order of business was to remove the shell. I later learned that the shell did not originally belong to the computer in question, but was installed there by Dr. Genereux. With the shell removed me and my partner went to work.

Before this date, I hadn’t so much as seen the inside of a computer, let alone disassembled one; so the plan was for my partner to disassemble the machine, so that I could reassemble it, having seen the process done in reverse. The first step in the disassembly process was to remove the graphics and audio cards.

After these were removed, the next thing to go was the network interface card.

These three chips were previously blocking many of the PCs assets, so with them gone we could reach whatever we wanted; we continued by removing the Hard drive.

After that we pulled out the RAM memory chips.

Next was dislocating the CPU

Lastly was the detachment of the power supply.

This all meant the the motherboard was now completely exposed.

Now that the computer had been successfully disassembled, I took notes on the detached parts and then began the reassembly process, which was the reverse of the disassembly.

After the PC had been successfully disassembled, examined, and reassembled. I took to the edges of the lab which were filled with historic computer parts.

These are some old hard disk drives.

This is a laptop from 1981

This is an antique oscilloscope.

With all this observed, the lab promptly ended and I was left only with a head racing with thoughts and questions about all of the cool things I had just seen and done.

References:

Computer history Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/memory-storage/8/253

Bozier, R. (2015, August 10). How magnetic core memory works. Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://rolfebozier.com/archives/113

Tyson, J. (2000, August 23). How computer memory works. Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://computer.howstuffworks.com/computer-memory1.htm#:~:text=Whether%20it%20comes%20from%20permanent,about%20cache%20and%20registers%20later.

Questions:

What is the purpose of the CPU, the HDD and the RAM memory?

The purpose of the CPU is to process data. The CPU is where operations such as calculation, sorting, and searching happen. In order to do this, it needs data stored electronically through memory. The quickest and easiest way it can access this data is through Random Access Memory, or RAM. The problem with RAM is that being volatile, it looses all stored data, when the power is turned off. That’s where the hard drive comes in. The Hard Disk Drive saves data in a non-volatile form, by writing information on a physical disk. This method however, is much slower and less efficient.

What does magnetic core memory look like?

Magnetic core memory looks like this. This board was being displayed in the lab and is similar to the kind that put humanity on the moon.

What is the purpose of magnetic core memory?

The purpose of magnetic core memory was to store data before we had the storage methods of today, the way it works is through thousands of tiny loops made of magnetic material strung through wires, magnetized one way for zero, and the other way for one.

Conclusions: This lab was extremely fun and informative, I got to learn so much about the machines that make up so much of our modern lives. The lab went swimmingly, and I honestly cannot think of any errors or troubleshooting that could be done. The information attained from this lab is extremely practical and has the potential to be used to a significant degree by all who partook in it. In fact, I have an old PC back at home with a faulty hard drive and burnt out CPU. Before now, I didn’t really know what that meant or how to fix it, but with this newly attained knowledge about hardware, I might be able to repair the old thing. Because of the quality of this first physical lab, I am very much looking foreword to the sub sequential ones to come.

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