Chapter 2: Sound Byte Labs

Virtual Computer Tour

Introduction: Once the cover is off, the jumble of circuit boards, cables and components inside the computer may seem intimidating. Although they may look complicated at first, the basic components of a computer system are fairly simple to put together.

Find out what the basic parts inside the computer are, what they do and how they connect.

1. What is the biggest board in the computer?  

2. Which card sends digital information over a phoneline to connect to the Internet?  

3. Which part of the computer has a wire attached to the sound card to allow you to play music?  

4. Which cannot be used as a permanent storage device?  

5. What cables connect storage devices to the motherboard?  

6. What are the slots called where you plug in the expansion cards such as sound, video, and the modem?  

7. What controls all of the internal and external devices and does the arithmetic?  

8. Which kind of memory stores most of the information currently being used while the computer is turned on?  

9. Which kind of memory is the fastest in the computer where instructions and data used most often are stored for quickest access by the CPU?  

10. Which kind of memory is an easy-to-install, affordable upgrade to improve your computer’s performance?  


More About Storage Connections

Task: Not every computer storage device uses an IDE connection. Find out what other choices there are and which ones might be even better.

Assignment: Read more about IDE and its alternatives and answer the following questions.

  • What is an advantage of IDE?
  • What is a disadvantage of IDE?
  • What is the fastest, most flexible, but most expensive way to connect a hard drive and other devices to a computer?
  • What type of connection is included in most new computers?
  • Which type of connection can support up to 7 connections?


  1. You can use to look up IDE, EIDE and SCSI to begin your research.
  2. Explore how IDE controllers work at

    To create paragraphs in your essay response, type <p> at the beginning of the paragraph, and </p> at the end.


Learn some of the background about processors

Task: Experience an online learning resource created by Intel®

Assignment: Complete the Intro to Computers in Intel® The Journey Inside(SM) Lesson 05: How computers process information (Note: be sure to watch the video too!) Answer the following questions:

  • What do you call the chips found in VCRs, microwaves, and calculators that do one thing and have instructions are coded into them, not allowing you to install any software to change what they do?
    embedded processors.
  • Microprocessors are designed do whatever the ________ you select instructs them to do.
  • The history of the processor is the story of ____________
  • What did early computers like ENIAC, which was very big and bulky, use to process information? ___________
    vacuum tubes
  • When was it that all of the processing functions in a computer could be manufactured on one single chip?
  • Before they were used in PCs, what was the first microprocessor used in?
    a calculator



To create paragraphs in your essay response, type <p> at the beginning of the paragraph, and </p> at the end.


In the News

Task: Find out what's new in processors (CPUs), chipsets (Chipsets connect the processor to memory and provide the interface with components such as the sound card and harddrive) and motherboards.

Assignment: Research the current news to find the latest, breaking news about computers relating to new CPUs, chipsets, or motherboards.

  • Write at least one paragraph describing what new processors, chipsets, or motherboards you have discovered.
  • You may copy sentences directly from your source as long as you:
    • Give credit to the original sources of information.
    • Can explain every term used. Be sure to look up and define any unfamiliar terms in


Check the latest articles at

Also, there are many excellent sources for the most recent news in technology at,, the technology section at CNN, Science Daily Magazine: Your Source For The Latest Research News or even the PC enthusiast's resource:


To create paragraphs in your essay response, type <p> at the beginning of the paragraph, and </p> at the end.

Answer choices in this exercise are randomized and will appear in a different order each time the page is loaded.

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