Internal Components of a Desktop PC

Before you start

Objectives: learn to visually identify each basic computer component.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites

Key terms: power supply, motherboard, cpu, ram, video card, expansion slot, long-term storage


Power Supply

The first component is power supply. It converts AC power from the wall into DC power that can be used by the components in the PC system.

ATX Power Supply

Image 147.1 – ATX Power Supply

Motherboard

The motherboard contains all of the wiring that’s necessary for the different devices to communicate with each other. It can also be called main-board or planar.

Motherboard

Image 141.2 – Motherboard

CPU

The next component is the CPU or processor, the brain of the computer system. This will be the primary factor in how fast the system is. CPUs get really hot so to keep them cool, we use a fan and heat-sink to dissipate the heat.

CPU

Image 141.3 – CPU

RAM

The next component is the memory. The memory is where the CPU stores the applications and data that it’s currently working on.

RAM

Image 141.4 – RAM

Video Card

Unless the motherboard comes with a built-in video card, we will have to install a separate video card into the computer system. Graphic or video cards are typically needed to deal with PC gaming, high definition video and multiple displays.

Graphic Card

Image 141.5 – Video Card

Sound Card

Sound cards enable the computer to output, record and manipulate sound. Now it is common to have a bult-in sound card on motherboards, when talking about personal computers.

Sound Card

Image 141.6 – Sound Card

Expansion Slots

The next components are the expansion slots. PCs are customizable and they’re modular. If we want our PC to perform some additional function, we can add expansion board and install it in one of these expansion slots.

Expansion Slots

Image 141.7 – Expansion Slots

Storage

The next components are long-term storage mediums. The problem with RAM or memory is that it isn’t persistent. When we shut down our system the contents of RAM is lost. To save data long term, we have to have long-term storage devices. Hard drives stores data magnetically on a spinning disk. It can be written to or it can be read from.

Hard Drive

Image 141.8 – Hard Drive

When talking about saving data long-term, we can also mention floppy disk drive. The floppy disk drive allows us to insert a floppy disk in and save a small amount of data on a removable piece of media. Today it is rarely used.

Floppy Disk Drive

Image 141.9 – Floppy Disk Drive

Floppy Disk

Image 141.10 – Floppy Disk

In addition, we also have our DVD or CD drives.

DVD Drive

Image 141.11 – DVD Drive

Blank Media

Image 141.12 – Blank Media

All these devices have to connect to the motherboard in some way. Most motherboards come with necessary interfaces built in. For example, hard disk can connect to the motherboard using SATA interface, DVD drive using ATA interface, etc.

Internal Components

Image 141.13 – Components inside of PC case

Remember

Power Supply converts AC power from the wall into DC power that can be used by the components in the PC system. Motherboard contains all of the wiring that’s necessary for the different devices to communicate with each other. CPU is the brain of the computer system. The RAM is where the CPU stores the applications and data that it’s currently working on. Graphics card is needed to deal with video. Sound card manipulates with sound. Expansion slots are used to extend capabilities of our computer. Hard disks are used for long-term data storage.

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