looking inside the lid of a computer

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In this report which I will be writing, my main aim will be to look inside the lid of a computer and analyse the vital components. This will mean that I will have the opportunity to select which comonents I think are necessary and important for a computer to run and their roles.




To start off with I had five people in my group, as we were limited to computers in the room, the main purpose of this  workshop was to open the lid of the PC and find what we thought where the most important components inside the PC.

To do this we were given screwdrivers and antistatic wrist strap, for safety reasons. Before we started off we had to make sure that the cables where all unplugged and safety revelations where met, which meant two cables had to be removed, such as the tower unit and the Screen. Once this was all done one person was told to unscrew the base which was metal for the lid of the computer to open. When we successfully removed the lid we started to disconnect most of the components to see how they are connected and see how they are put in place. Once we did this we had to connect back the components and check if the PC will come on as usual, which was successful. Before finishing we had to write down all the components we thought where important and needed for the whole system to run successfully, which are:

  • Hard Drive
  • Processor
  • RAM
  • ROM
  • Motherboard
  • Graphics Card
  • BIOS chip
  • Slots




Hard Drive:

When I opened the Lid of the computer, the first component which got my attention was the hard drive, as I think has a major role in for the computer. The reason to this is because I believe it is the heart of the computer and its components; this is because it has the actual operating system stored onto it. An OS operates the computer system; this would mean that it will allow the software and hardware to communicate with each other. Also the hard drive is storage where the user stores all its files, this is important because without storing files, drivers, OS's etc you cannot go forward and the computer will become limited to its usage. The amount of hard drive memory is important it could start from 20GB and go to 1TB. The amount of hard drive will depend on how much use you will be making and how much you will be needing, movies, games, software's and OS's take up a lot of spaces so the hard drive would need a reasonable amount of space. This would again vary on how much space would be needed by the user, nowadays around about 300GB should be fine per home user.

The hard drive of a computer has different components in itself for it to work and run properly, it will help the hard drive to read, store, and record its data. The Components are the Platter, the Spindle, head, and actuator arm. Actuator axis power connector, jumper block, IDE connector and the actuator which I will define below:

Platter: A platter is what actually rights the information into the hard drive, to do this it will have to spin continuously for it to add data to the computer hard drive.

Splindle: vital part of a hard drive as it will be holding the platter in its place so it can spin at the right speed without problems

Head: A magnet which is there to help the recording of information to the hard drive.

Actuator Arm: This is for when it is moving backward and forward when recording information

Actuator Axis: Lets the actuator move backward and forward from corner to corner in the hard drive while recording information

Actuator: What reads and records the information

Jumper Block: A useful component which will allow a cable to connect to a power supply of a computer also to the motherboard device.

IDE Connector: This is a cable which connects the hard drive to the motherboard.

Power Connector: This where it provides power from the power supply.


Inside the lid of a computer there is a small Intel processor chip which is visible but  at times not seen, it is known as an CPU (Central Processing Unit). This is connected to the motherboard like all components of a computer. It is the brain of a computer and is made to processor the computer which is why it is called the processor, its main job is to process instructions and also to manipulate data, which is done after fetching it from the RAM memory. Having processor is vital because the computer will not work without it. The processor is measured in speed which is Megahertz (MHz), one cycle in a MHz is 1 million cycles per second this would mean 2 MHz would be 2 million cycles in a second and so on.

There are many different types of CPU's such as Intel, Apple, AMD and centrino. The  processor has different sizes matters to the requirements of the user, for example of a normal program like office 2007 is in process the requirements are only 733MHz whereas if playing a game depending on the graphics it could require up to 2.0 GHz.  Also the CPU has three main parts which are:

  • ALU - Known as arithmetic and logical unit this is what performs all the calculations
  • Control Unit- This is what controls the flow of all data around the computer by sending out control signals
  • Memory - This is used to store data


When looking inside a lid of a computer you can also clearly see the RAM (Random Access Memory) which has its own slot mainly comes with extra 2 or 3 slots for more RAM to be added to it. A RAM is a component which is essential for running applications. The more RAM you have the faster the processor would work this would depend on the capability of the motherboard. It can run applications such as MSN, Microsoft Word, and Frontpage etc when the application is running and closing.  Furthermore RAM has many purposes such as it can hold onto data when in use and also it helps the processor to run efficiently, smoothly and without freezing as much, this will depend on the RAM's size and power. So as we can see RAM is important for the overall performance of a computer and is required in all PC's at the same time it is used for graphical use, gaming, animation, picture etc.


Motherboard:  Motherboard is the heart of a computer, which is made of silicon semi conductors with millions of micro connections. It is the circuit board which connects all the different components together for it to work, and for it to make the computer run, this means the components can connect to each other through the motherboard.  They all get embedded into the motherboard using soldering. The connection which is provided by the motherboard is vital as they provide communication pathways for different components. This would mean that if there is no motherboard the computer would essentially not work.

A secondary name for the motherboard used is PCB (Printed Circuit Board), all the components communicate and respond with each other through using the motherboard.  It also manages other important components that connect to it such as PCI slots, USB ports, motherboard chipset, serial and parallel ports, PS/2 connectors and many more; this means without the motherboard there is no chance of put a PC to work.

Graphics Card:  This has an important role on a PC and is vital for the graphics side of a computer. It is mainly used for controlling and enhancing how the graphics will be displayed on a computer screen, such as pictures, videos, programs, animations. It is mainly used for controlling and enhancing how the graphics will be displayed on a computer screen, such as pictures, videos, programs, animations.

In general terms it could be called a piece of hardware which is used to show the images on a computer monitor or display screen and support it. The graphics card will differ in price because it could be bought from £15.00 up to £1000.00 this depends on how powerful you require your graphics card to be, and what reasons you need it for; for example a gaming user would require a strong graphics card so the game could be played fluently and without much problems and worrying about it freezing, editing videos, editing photos also require a reasonable sized graphics card. The graphics card memory sizes start from 32mb up to 1024mb and the ones used most nowadays are from 128mb to 256mb which supports gaming and all software's, having more than this would be a great bonus to your PC's performance.

The graphics card come in multiple forms by that I mean that you can get them as integrated chips which sit embedded within the motherboard or as add ons. Most PC's which we will buy will have the graphics card embedded within the motherboard but the ones which you can upgrade are only the base unit computers. The upgradeable graphics card come as cards that usually connect to the motherboard the motherboard via highspeed PCI or PCIe.

Bios Chip:

BIOS chip when looking inside a computer is not easily spotted but it is a valuable asset to the performance of a computer, known as a Basic in/out system. Computers have now improved with something called flash BIOS, BIOS is what stores the new instructions; also viruses can be stored in them while in process. The BIOS is stored onto a ROM (Read Only Memory) chip.  When at start up the BIOS checks that all the components are connected and working properly, and if there is a failure or problem it will give warning messages. BIOS also have power self checks and P.O.S.T (power on self test) which is a task that is used to checking the system configuration settings of the computer.

To simplify it a BIOS's main role is to tell the computer to scan for any components with may contain error messages that may cause a problem, so if the RAM is not working or connected properly a BIOS chip will make the decision. If a BIOS chip gets caught up by a viruses or any other threats this will affect the performance of a computer. Then to get rid of the virus to get a better performance you will either need to remove the virus and threats or just reboot the whole computer system because BIOS cannot be replaced.





Hard Drive:



Graphics Card:







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Bios Chip:

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