Module: Building a computer!

Parent Component: Computer Fundamentals-Hardware

Session Overview

We'll review our computer component knowledge and dig into actually assembling our parts of the computers into working machines!

(Potentially) Interesting Question

Why are some computer systems more expensive than others? Where, exactly, does this cost difference come from across a few different systems?

Learning Objectives

  1. Assemble a compouter from parts either with instruction or images only
  2. Compare various computer builds and determine how they differ
  3. Design a computer build optimized for a "core application" related to your field of interest in compouters
  4. Build that system with all its componets and price it out

Activity 1: Reviewing PC components

On a blank sheet of paper with a partner, diagram as many components of a computer system as you can remember or can find online. Use boxes with names to show components that are related to one another. Nest the boxes to show parts that are "inside" other parts, such as the motherbaord.

Activity 2: Looking up software system requirements

When we sit down to design a computer, we build with an intended use in mind. This is often based on the software that the system needs to run or the kinds of comuting tasks that need to be carried out. Brainstorm the components that need to be optimized for the following general areas of use:

  1. Create a spreadsheet in MS Excel and create a data table to capture our thinking on various kinds of systemm builds and their optimization needs.
  2. Computer use cases;
    • Basic office productivity
    • Raster image processing (map images)
    • Radiology image processing
    • Internet server for an image-intensive site
    • Map making workstation
    • Computer running as a firewall for a home network
    • Video and sound editing
  3. For each type of system, find a piece of software that you think this system might run. Locate the software home page online and view the system requirements. Transfer the core component requirements into the spreadsheet along with a link to the software
  4. Using the PC PartPicker website to find completed builds that satisfy these build requirements.
  5. Choose one of the computer types to focus on. Then, In a new tab, find and compare a high-end and a low-end (price wise) build that would be acceptable for your use case. List the components in each and discuss why an organization would choose one over the other.
  6. Print your spreadsheets and put them in your class folder.

Activity 3: Computer builds

Instructions for building the Dell Inspiron

Instructions for building grandma's old IBM PC

Practice and Extensions

Try building the same system you chose in the spreadsheet using a manufacturer's build a computer tool. Check out this Lenovo customizer for a T-Series laptop.