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What make a computer a computer? Yes, computers are complicated, but it can really help to know a bit about the internal components of your computer.
Real computers contain a variety of components and subsystems, which includes
- Power supplies
- Storage devices
- Display devices
- Ports and cables
- Cooling systems
- Processors/ CPU’s
- Inputs, multimedia and bio-metric devices
- Adapter cards
Below is a basic overview of the essential hardware components of a modern computer that almost everyone rely on. These components are found in nearly every computer, weather desktop or laptop and now many tablets and smartphones too.
For the sake of clarity, we would first focus on the essential parts of a desktop computer and then jump into that of a laptop.
Front and Rear view of a desktop Computer
Inside the desktop computer
Functions of each component
Alternatively referred to as mb, main board. The motherboard is a printed circuit board which serves as the foundation of the computer. It is located at the bottom of the computer case and It allocates power to the CPU, RAM, and all other hardware components. Most importantly, the motherboard allows hardware components to communicate with one another.
Below is a picture a motherboard with names of each major component of the motherboard
In addition, the motherboard has two very important chip which is known as the North-bridge and South-bridge chip
Also known as the memory controller hub (MCH) or the graphic memory controller hub (GMCH). The North-bridge connects to the CPU and other high-speed components such as memory, PCIe or AGP graphic and other high –speed components.
Also known as the I/O controller hub (ICH). The South-bridge chip connects to lower-speed components such as mass storage interface, PCI expansion slots, usb ports and the CMOS.
This is a device in system unit that passes data between a disk and the memory of a computer or from one disk drive to another.
CD ROM DRIVE
It is a type of dive we insert a compact disk or DVD into which is a read only memory, record-able and re-writable device.
HARD DISK DRIVE
this is a storage device in which data and programs are stored or saved. It can store large number of files or data more than the floppy or CD. Hence it is faster when it comes to retrieving of information.
Types of hard disk drive are SATA and PATA (IDE).
MULTIVOLTAGE POWER SUPPLY
This unit converts current and voltage from wall socket into the one computer uses. i.e. from AC to DC. Most power supply are designed to handle two voltage range
110 – 120V / 60HZ
220 – 240V / 50HZ
Note: some power supplies for desktop computers can automatically determine the current voltage and cycle rate. These are referred to as auto switching power supplies.
These are sockets form of devices which are on the motherboard. There are two types of cards which are:
ON BOARD CARD: these are cards that are attached to the motherboard
OFF BOARD CARD: these are cards which can replace any on board card when bad or damaged or gives the computer added advantage for usage.
Examples of cards are; Network card, VGA card, USB card, TV card, e.t.c.
VIDEO CONNECTOR TYPE
when selecting a monitor or projector for use with a particular video or integrated video port, it’s helpful to understand the physical and features differences between different video connector types such as VGA, DVI, and HDMI.
VGA (VIDEO GRAPHIC ADAPTER)
is an analog display standard. By varying the level of red, green or blue per dot (pixel) on screen, a vga port and monitor can display an unlimited number of colors. All VGA cards made for use with standard analog monitors use a DB – 15F pin connector which plugs into the DB – 15M connector used by the VGA cable from the monitor.
The DVI port is the current standard for digital LCD monitors. It normally comes in two forms
DVI – D: supplies only digital signals and is found on digital LCD displays.
DVI – I: this version provides support for both digital and analog output.
HDMI (HIGH DEFINITION MULTIMEDIA INTERFACE)
Has the capacity to support digital audio as well as video through a single cable.
Computer memory is mainly divided into two. Primary memory and secondary memory.
The primary memory is the main computer memory and it is divided into two i.e RAM and ROM.
Ram is used for programs and data, and by the operating system for disk caching. Thus, installing more ram improves transfer between the CPU and both the ram and had drives.
Rom is a type of built-in memory that is used with computers and other electronic devices. Rom is mostly used for firmware updates
The secondary memory is the slowest and cheapest form of memory i.e HDD, CD, e.t.c. Because they have the characteristics of RAM and ROM, they can be classified as both. Other forms of memory still exist like
• Virtual memory: is a memory used when amount or data used to be stored is much higher than the capacity of the RAM.
• Cache memory: this is used between CPU and RAM.
The processor is the brain of the PC. it performs most of the arithmetic calculations and data manipulations. Also known as microprocessor or CPU, Usually, it is placed on a small circuit board on the motherboard. Processor Is branded as intel MMX and Intel celeron, AMD and it is graded as Pentium.
NB: it should be noted that the speed of processor increases the speed of access of files and programs. And must be compatible with RAM and system board.
A heat sink is an electronic device that incorporates either a fan or a peltier device to keep a hot component such as a processor cool. There are two heat sink: active and passive. Active heat sinks utilize power and are usually a fan type or some other peltier cooling device.
The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a standard that covers a certain type of cable, connectors and communication. It is a standard way for computer components like mice, keyboards, phones, etc. to be connected to the computer. Nearly everything that is not a physical part of the motherboard or internal computer is connected using a USB connection.
The cool thing about the USB is not only does it allow you to use your computer as a communication device, but it also allows the connected device to draw electrical power from the computer, essentially transforming your computer into an electrical outlet. That’s why you can charge your phone, or run an external hard drive simply by plugging it into your computer’s USB port. This standard has become so popular that many computers now come with multiple ports
Essential part of a laptop computer
- Most laptop do not have floppy drives. they rely on USB, and dvds to transfer data.
- laptops have integrated pointing device built into their keyboard, most use a touch pad.
- most laptops have integrated ports similar to those found in recent desktop computers.
- A laptop has an all-in-one design, with a built-in monitor, keyboard, touch-pad, and speakers.
- A laptop is also quicker to set up, and there are fewer cables to get in the way.