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
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.
Image 147.1 – ATX Power Supply
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.
Image 141.2 – Motherboard
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.
Image 141.3 – CPU
The next component is the memory. The memory is where the CPU stores the applications and data that it’s currently working on.
Image 141.4 – RAM
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.
Image 141.5 – Video 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.
Image 141.6 – Sound Card
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.
Image 141.7 – Expansion Slots
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.
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.
Image 141.9 – Floppy Disk Drive
Image 141.10 – Floppy Disk
In addition, we also have our DVD or CD drives.
Image 141.11 – DVD Drive
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.
Image 141.13 – Components inside of PC case
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.