Dells Optiplex 7010 Business Class Computer Science Essay

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The motherboard also known as a system board on the Dell 7010 is an Intel Desktop Board DB75EN. Essential components are connected to the motherboard such as the microprocessor and main memory. It provides connectors for other peripherals such as network cards, hard drives,  USB, PCI slots, sata connectors and a variety of other custom components.

Major functional areas of the mother board.


RAM The 7010 can take up to 32gb DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz. The benefit of DDR3 over DDR2 is that it can transfer data at twice the rate and consume 30% less power. DDR3 chip capacities can be up to 8gb while DDR2 only allows for 4GB chips. DDR (Double Data Rate) lets the memory transfer data has the capability to move information nearly twice as fast as regular SDR SDRAM. DDR3 is also sometimes called PC3-1600 for its 1,600 million data transfers per second and a peak transfer rate of 12,800MB per second. DDR3 can achieve transfer rates of up to 64 times the memory clock speed in megabytes per second. The Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) on the CPU supports two-channels of DDR3 memory at speeds of 1600MH.

The Intel i7, connects directly to memory rather than via a chipset and only supports motherboards that require DDR3 DIMMs are incompatible with DDR2, therefore DDR2 cannot be installed on to this motherboard due to different signalling voltages and timings. DDR2 and DDR 3 are also notched differently so they cannot be fit into the wrong kind of socket on a motherboard


The Optiplex 7010 contains Intel's 17-3370S codenamed Ivy Bridge.

This is Intel's 3rd generation m core cpu is a tick on the "Tick Tock" development process and is a manufacturing process update that uses same cpu architecture as the Sandy Bridge. The i7 is a 22nm process allowing the processor to achieve a large performance gain while using a low operating voltage. Ivy Bridge processors have a quad core utilising Hyper-Threading Technology, this allows the operating system to recognise one physical core as two logical cores which in turn allows a multi- threading application that runs two or more threads to address up to 8 cores. This results to more efficient use of the processor resources and improved performance.

Tri-Gate transistorIn keeping with the concept of Moore's law that transistor density can double every two years. According to Intel the 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors deliver a performance increase of up to 37% at low voltage and more than 50% power reduction over the Sandy Bridge. This is accomplished by the Tri-Gate transistors forming conducting channels on three sides of a vertical fin structure, they can have multiple fins connected together to increase performance. The 22nm circuit contains < 1.4 billion transistors whereas the (22nm-Details_Presentation). The new Ivy Bridge manufacturing process produces a smaller di, The die of the quad-core Ivy Bridge is 160sq.nm this is 35% smaller that the Sandy Bridge.


The Dell 7010 comes with Intel's HD 4000 GPU integrated graphics. Since 2007 Intel have considers increasing the performance of integrated graphics to be one of the primary objectives and are working on making integrated graphics another 10 times faster by 2015. The graphics core is integrated onto the same die as the CPU on Ivy Bridge processors. Because of this there is no longer a need for a dedicated graphics card.

The core also has access to Intel Turbo Boost technology allowing automatic overclocking features. When enabled the graphics core can achieve 1150MHZ clock speed. Integrated graphics core cannot take advantage of the dedicated high-speed video memory and have to share cores with the regular system RAM, Intel got around this on the Sandy Bridge architecture by introducing ring bus that connects all CPU components the offers a shorter and more advanced way of communicating with the system memory visa L3 cache. Integrated graphics are now entitled to the L3 cache and memory controller as much as the processor cores. This has significantly reduced delays in waiting for the delivery of the graphics data. It turned out so successful in the Sandy Bridge architecture that it has been incorporated in the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture without any modifications.

A desktop pc with an Ivy Bridge processor can offer three video outputs simultaneously: HDMI, DVI, VGA or DisplayPort with a maximum resolution of 1920x1200 the DisplayPort supports higher resolutions up to 2560x1600.

The HD 4000 supports state-of-the-art DirectX 11 rendering, Open CL 1.1, and Open GL 3. The HD 4000 has no problems playing the latest HD games and what's more is the InTRU 3D technology supports 3D Blu-ray playback in full 1080p resolution.

CPU Cache

Cache is the high-speed memory for temporary data storage that is located on the processor. If a single core on the i7 requires a specific piece of data while executing an instruction set it will first search for the data in the local caches L1 and L2. If the data is not found also known as a cache-miss, it then accesses the much larger L3 cache. If that attempt fails, then the core performs cache snooping and searches the local cache of other three cores. If this attempt also fails it will then access the system RAM for the information.

L1 Cache is the fastest cache, each core has its own L1 cache and it is the first one to be accessed by the core. 

L2 Cache is slower than L1, L2 cache is the 2nd cache that the core search's and is bigger than L1. 

L3 Cache is shared between all cores and is larger than both L1 and L2. 

The i7 processor features an integrated L3 cache that can be up to 8mb in size. Each core has 32 kilobytes for instructions and 32 kilobytes for data of L1 cache, 256 kilobytes per core of L2 cache. The L3 cache is shared across all cores and sits on the physical core and can be used by the processor cores as well as the graphics core.

Different types of caches on the cpu.

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The below diagram shows how every component is connected to the 256-bit ring bus of the i7 3770s. The ring bus was first introduced in the Sandy Bridge architecture and the exact same technology has been implemented in Ivy Bridge processors. The ring bus is used to move data between the cores and cache.

I/O (Input/output device)

The Dell 7010 comes with a multitude of external I/O ports. An I/O device is one that can accept input information as well as having the capability of outputting the same information.

4 USB 3.0 ports

Usb 3.0 supports a new transfer mode called "super speed" and can transfer at 5 Gbit/s. USB 3 is  backward compatible with USB 2

6 USB 2.0 ports

USB 2.0 can transfer data at 480 Mbit/s 


Supported speeds 10/100/1000

1 Serial

1 VGA, 2 DisplayPort, 1 DVI

3 monitors can be displayed simultaneously using all 3 ports at the same time

2 PS/2

Used to connect a keyboard and mouse

4 Audio Ports

Microphone, headphone sockets


The 7010 comes with a 500GB 2.5 inch serial ATA II (7.200 rpm) hybrid hard drive as standard. The advantage of a hybrid drive over a traditional hard drive is that the hybrid can offer up to 500 GB while still giving SSD-like performance while still been far cheaper than a SSD. The manufactures SeaGate have achieved this by doubling the size of the cache on the disk from 16MB to 32MBand adding 4GB of SLC NAND Flash.

The NAND Flash acts as the drives SSD. Utilizing the 7200RPM spin speed and the NAND Flash frequently used data is moved into Flash memory for faster access rather than spinning the disk. The hybrid HDD also boots 40% faster than a traditional 7200-RPM drive. (

PCI Express

The mother board on this pc has 4 PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) slots. 2 full height PCIe x16, 1 full height PCIe x1 and 1 full height PCI. PCIe is a high-speed serial expansion bus that was designed to replace PCI. PCI could reach speeds of 1,064 Mb/s and is only one directional but PCIe can transmit in both directions at once and reach speeds up to 2 GB/s. PCIe also uses a lower voltage of 3.3 volts instead of 5V on PCI thus decreasing the heat generated by the cards. PCIe also has a smaller foot print therefore taking up less space in the pc case. PCIe is not backward compatible PCI and is not possible to but an old card into the newer slots and vice versa The keying is the same on PCIe cards, you can plug a smaller card into the larger slots but some of the pins will not be used. The most commonly known pcie cards would be external graphics cards. Ivy bridge processors will support the new PCIe 3.0 graphics cards.(

PCI Slots on a motherboard

Operating System

The operating system that I have chosen for this pc is Microsoft Windows 7 32bit. The Windows 7 OS comes in 6 editions Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. All of these editions are basically the same except for extra features on the more expensive editions such as Enterprise and Ultimate that have the ability to add to a domain, BitLocker Drive Encryption and UNIX application support.

Windows 7 is Microsoft's flagship operating system launched in 2008. New results from StatCounter Global Stats show that it is currently installed on 52.6 % of all PCs or 670 million PCs worldwide.

Windows Architecture

Windows 7 is known as a Graphical User Interface that is used to interact with the hardware and to run applications and programs.

In the below diagram the boxes above the line show user-mode processes and the boxes below show the kernel-mode operating system services. Applications and programs run in user mode and core operating system components run in kernel mode. 

Simplified Windows Architecture

The user mode threads execute in a protected process address space. When they are executing in the kernel mode they have access to the system space, while Service process, environment subsystems, system support processes and user applications each have their own private process space.

The four main types of user processes are

Fixed system support processes, such as the logon process

Services Processes that host the Windows services such as the print spooler

User Applications

Environment subsystem server processes, to implement part of the support for the

Operating system environment,

The kernel mode in Windows 7 stops the user mode services from accessing critical areas of the OS that they should not have access to. When a user-mode application is started a process is created for that application. Each application runs in isolation and if one application crashes the crash is limited to only that application. A process running in user mode cannot access virtual address reserved for the operating system. This prevents the application from altering or damaging the critical operating system data.


Windows 7 uses a NT hybrid kernel. All code running in kernel mode shares a single virtual address space. This means that kernel-mode drivers are not isolated from other drivers or the os. If a kernel-mode drive was to write to the virtual address operating system data or another driver could be compromised. If a kernel-mode driver were to crash the entire operating system would crash.

Windows Kernel-Mode components include

Windows Executive, contains the base operating system services memory

Management process, networking, interprocess communication, I/O, thread management and security.

Windows Kernel, consists of low-level operating system functions, multiprocessor synchronization

Device Drivers, includes hardware device drivers and nonhardware device drivers such as network drivers.

The hardware abstraction layer (HAL), this is a layer of code to isolate the Windows executive from platform-specific hardware differences

Memory management in Windows

Virtual Memory

Virtual Memory combines the computers RAM with temporary storage on the hard disk. When RAM is running low virtual memory moves the data to space on the hard disk called a paging file. On a windows pc the operating system will check the RAM for areas that have not been used recently and move them to the Page File to free up space in RAM. Read/write speed of a hard drive is much slower than accessing RAM so if the pc is acting sluggish when running multiple applications it is recommended to upgrade the RAM rather than changing the size of the Page File.

Windows File Management System

A file system is used to organise files and folders so that the operating system can access them. Files are normally organised into folders, the file system allows the user to find their files.

Windows 7 supports the following file systems.



FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32



Windows 7 can only be installed on a NTFS (New Technology File System) file system. NTFS provides improved performance and better security than any FAT file system.

Features of NTFS

file and directory security

file compression



Built-in fault tolerance

Microsoft have introduced some new efficient ways to organise and locate your files, it is called The Library function and works like a filing cabinet in an office. Anytime you are in Windows Explorer, you can access libraries from the Navigation Pane.

This makes it easier to find, work with, and organize files scattered across your PC . A library brings all of your files together in one place, no matter where they are stored. In Windows 7, you can create a new library, name it e.g. Photos and then tell Windows what folders your new library should include. Your photos will still be physically located in different places-but now they show up in a single window. Windows 7 comes with libraries for documents, music, pictures, and videos as default.


Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate contain a new security feature called Bitlocker Drive Encryption. Bitlocker allows you to encrypt all data on the operating system. Many new computers now come with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on the motherboard. BitLocker will use the TPM to lock the encryption keys that protect the data. The TPM master key is encrypted with a 128-bit or 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AEs) and RSA, the key is tethered to specific hardware meaning that if the pc is stolen and the hard drive is placed into another pc the data will still be secure. BitLocker locks the normal boot process until the user supplies their PIN giving an extra security measure to provide multifactor authentication.