If you’ve ever taken the side off of any modern PC and had a look inside, what looks like a jumble of circuit boards and wires is actually a complex system of several components working together to ensure your computer runs fluidly and smoothly. These components are often interchangeable so that pieces can be upgraded, which is why some advanced PC users can continue using the same computer for five years or more, despite newer upgrades on the market becoming available. Here is a short overview of everything a computer needs to function.
A Modern Motherboard
The motherboard is the most essential piece of equipment in a computer system. It is the central circuit board that houses the processing unit and everything that the computer needs to function receives direction from the motherboard. The motherboard houses the Basic Input/Output System, or the BIOS, which harbors many settings for the computer. This screen can only be accessed at the boot of the computer.
The processor is housed within the motherboard and it determines how many functions a computer can perform. It is similar to the engine in a car, with dual and even quad core processing power providing extreme power for performing tasks such as playing CPU intensive video games, editing video, or creating 3D models and diagrams. Computers that lack significant processing power to perform their tasks will quickly become obsolete.
The video card is what handles all of the visual rendering for the computer. Most computers have an integrated card that is capable of rendering the operating system’s basic needs, but for anything more intensive such as games and video creating and editing, a more powerful graphics processing unit, or GPU is needed. AMD and nVidia are the two main GPU manufacturers and they offer a wide range of products designed for several different purposes.
Random Access Memory is temporary memory the computer uses to complete several tasks at a time. The more RAM a computer has available, the more tasks it can perform without the user noticing any lag or slowdown. RAM is wiped once the computer is shut down, which is why it is called random access memory.
image: Open Hard Drive
The hard drive is where all files and vital information are stored. Standard hard drives contain magnets with several moving parts that are able write to the discs inside the hard drive at a set speed. The speed of this writing determines the quality of the hard drive. 7200RPM is considered a very good hard drive for quick access. Solid State Drives contain no moving parts, which makes them better for mobile computing since there is less of a chance of hard drive failure when the device is dropped.