Building a Computer

Building a Computer

Andrew Liccardo (University of Northern Colorado, USA) and Cameron Grimes (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8142-2.ch009
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This chapter describes the reasons and the task of building a computer, which might provide students with the understanding of the structure and functions involved in computing. The process of planning, acquiring, and building a computer is discussed as a cognitive way of learning and sharing information. This project was funded by the Art Director at the University of Northern Colorado. The process of building the computer was done by Sean Flannery, a student in Computer graphics, and recorded by a camera operator. The footage was edited into a video by a Computer Graphics and Marketing student. The final video can be seen at the following URL:
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Introduction: Why To Build A Computer

There is still a big demand for powerful, costly computers consisting of a tower, with a fast processor connected to a big monitor, especially when it comes to developing professional projects in a growing number of domains, when the work should be performed in visual mode. Moreover, a task of building a computer might provide students with the understanding, a general look and an overview from the bird’s-eye view on the whole structure and functions of electronic appliances (Figure 1). The process of searching for the working parts alone may support understanding computer architecture (Hennessy & Patterson, 2011; Patterson, & Hennessy, 2011).

Figure 1.

Sean Flannery building a computer (© 2014, Z. Britton. Used with permission)


Computers are continually becoming an integral part of daily life. They have changed the way people obtain and handle information, even effecting the way people think. Computers are used as teaching tools for people of all ages by offering information and ideas from all over the world. Computer generated visuals are widely used to convey knowledge and increase understanding of complex topics. As technology improves, computers will continue to become more accessible resulting in higher percentages of computer users. While building a personal computer is becoming more popular, it is still a hassle in comparison to buying one at the store. However, the impact on daily life caused by computers has become more widely felt, causing the understanding of how the computer sitting on a person’s desk works to be greatly beneficial.

Key Terms in this Chapter

The Case/Tower: The box that holds the major components of the computer together.

Motherboard: The component of the computer that attaches all of the other components together, allowing them to communicate together.

Central Processing Unit (CPU): The hardware part of a computer that performs the basic operations (arithmetical, logical, and input/output commands) coming as instructions from a computer program. There may be one or more CPUs in a computer (in case of multiprocessing).

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