This Article looks at the Parts of a Computer and what they do. A Computer is a collection of components working together in order to process information. The physical components of your Computer are called the Hardware. The Applications and Programs installed on your Computer are called Software. The Software instructs the Computer Hardware what to do.
The Computer Case houses the Internal Computer Components. There are a number of Form Factors available from smaller cases up to full tower cases. Cases are designed with cooling performance in mind. This is to keep the components inside the case cooler which in turn ensures reliability. The case houses all the components that enable your computer run. It will also contain the Power supply unit (PSU) to which all the components in your computer get their power from. There are several versions, the desktop case, micro tower, midi tower and full tower. There are also modified cases which are in varying styles, colours and sizes. Cases today generally follow the ATX form factor. Many years ago system vendors would have their own layout which would make it difficult to upgrade your system with proprietary components. Thanks to the new standards of today, upgrading is relatively easy and pain free. Most motherboards would have no difficulty with an ATX form factor case.
Central Processing Unit
The CPU is the brain of your Computer and is responsible for processing the instructions software sends to it. The speed of Central Processing Units has increased dramatically over the past few years and so has the amount of heat they produce. There are several manufacturers including Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Via and Transmeta. They all offer varying processors and each are very different in their design. They also require specific chipset’s to operate. Keeping a processor cool is important to maintain a smooth running system. Newer processors now have multiple cores meaning they can process multiple threads. This can result in a dramatic increase in performance for applications that support this.
This is the main circuit board in your computer which allows you to connect all the components together. Like a mother it looks after the system and its components keeping them all together. It will also have contain the ports that allow you to connect your keyboard, your printer and mouse etc. Another component of the motherboard is the chipset. This basically allows the CPU to communicate with the rest of the components in the system. It also provides the slots for your Random Access Memory, expansion cards such as modems and graphics cards.
This is responsible for displaying what you see on the screen of your computer, whether you’re playing a game or just typing a text document in Microsoft® Word. Some graphics cards use system memory and this can result in poor overall performance for 3d games. Graphics cards today have many advanced features which can make your games look richer and more realistic. Examples of the two main manufacturers are Nvidia and ATI.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
This is where your Computer stores program instructions temporarily before being processed by the CPU. Having more RAM will allow you to run more programs at the same time without using virtual memory as often. Random Access Memory however, looses any information contained when the power is turned off, which unlike a hard drive retains its information when there is no power.
DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) Drives
DVD’s are useful for holding a lot of information and therefore are used for films or programs which may otherwise need to be stored on several CD-Roms. Blu-Ray is starting to make headway and my guess is it will eventually replace the DVD Drives commonly found in Computers today.
HDD (Hard Disc Drive)
This is the part of your computer which stores all of your programs. Hard discs unlike Random Access Memory hold the information stored when the power to your computer is turned off. RAM on the other hand does not as it is cleared as soon as the power is cut. Hard drives today are ever increasing in capacity. A few years ago a 1TeraByte drive would have seemed unimaginable. Now they are available and are relatively cheap to buy.
The power supply in a computer supplies the power to the components in a PC. It is always good practice to ensure that the power supply is of good quality.