Monday, 1 September 2014

What Components Are Inside My Computer

A computer motherboard and its componets.

The components within a computer case each perform specific tasks and are in some way connected to the motherboard. Although the motherboard and the processor more than any other components define the limits of your computer, there are other hardware devices that affect the speed, memory, and expandability of the computer.


The motherboard, or main circuit board, ties everything together. It contains many small parts such as resistors and capacitors that ensure the PC's components receive and use the necessary voltages to function properly. Near the center of the motherboard is a socket where the central processing unit, or CPU, is mounted.


The CPU can be called the brain of the computer, and is a complex chip that performs many different, simultaneous functions. The CPU is where the arithmetic and logical operations take place as well as where instructions are decoded and executed.


RAM, or random access memory, provides space for your computer to read and write data that the CPU will access. Information stored in RAM is volatile and only remains in place when the computer is running. RAM sticks are mounted in parallel slots on the motherboard.

Hard Drive

The hard drive, which looks like a metal, rectangular box and is mounted in a bay toward the front of the computer, stores the operating system, user data and software applications. Computers typically use an IDE hard drive, which is connected by a broad, flat cable to the motherboard, and/or the newer SATA drives, connected by a thin, typically red, cable.

Power Supply Unit

The PSU, or power supply unit, converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) at various operating voltages. The conversion is dependent on the power requirements of each component and peripheral. The power supply is mounted at the top rear of the case and an array of power cables extends from it, connecting to the various components.

Sound Card

A sound card is an internal component that processes audio files. Inputs on the card allow connections to speakers. Similar to a video card, the sound card is an external board attached to the motherboard through an appropriate slot. A sound card can also be built-in to the motherboard and perform adequately for those who are not concerned with superior sound quality.

DVD/CD Drive

The DVD/CD drive, mounted in a bay at the front of the computer, reads discs and writes information to recordable media.

Video Card

A video card converts binary data into a display image. A video card is a attached to the motherboard via an appropriate interface slot, known as PCI or AGP. The monitor is connected to the video card. Also available are motherboards that have integrated video, a type of configuration typically used when satisfying basic computing and display needs.

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