Understanding the Important Components of a Computer System

Many people don’t understand all of the different parts of a computer. There are a lot of technical terms that get thrown around but understanding what components do what is actually easier than you may think. There are nine important pieces of hardware that you should understand. If you learn only this little bit of information about computers then you’ll know more than the average person knows about how computers work.

Understanding the Important Components of a Computer System

The Motherboard is the biggest piece of hardware in the system. Every component that you have will connect to the Motherboard either directly or via a cable. Most Motherboards will contain slots for a video card, network adapter, and RAM.

The computer CPU is also known as the processor chip. This chip is “the chip” that you hear about all the time. When you hear something along the lines of “this computer is a 3 gig computer” they are referring to the processor. Most of the time, you’ll hear about Intel or AMD processors when you’re talking about this processors. Processors have come a long way from what they used to be and now have many forms including the dual core and quad core versions that are offered. Understanding this number is easy, the higher the number the faster the computer can process information and therefore the faster your computer will run.

RAM is another commonly known number. RAM is short for Random Access Memory. The RAM stores the temporary data that the computer uses. This allows for faster execution of commands. In simple terms RAM enhances the computer’s ability to multitask. Most computers now come with 3 gigs of ram or more.

If you’ve ever read any of the computer hardware specifications at a retail store then you’ve probably heard of the term hard drive or hard disk. The hard drive is the piece of equipment that holds all of the computer’s information. If you hit the save button, install a program, or save a file from the web it saves to the hard disk. Naturally the more space that you have the more stuff you’ll be able to store. Most hard drives now are around 500 gigs on average.

The graphics card is also known as the GPU and is used to display images to the monitor. The GPU is sometimes integrated into the motherboard or the CPU. For most scenarios this is adequate. However if you’re a serious gamer or a person that does editing that demands high amounts of graphics you will need a dedicated video card.

The final components are all very simple and straightforward. The power supply gives power to the computer, the casing is the shell, the optical drives are drives such as the DVD drive, and then you have your monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Now that you have some knowledge on how a computer works you’ll be able to make an educated decision on what parts you need for the next computer you buy.


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