Author: Mikaila Fluth
Computers have become essential to our lives, helping us explore new worlds, connect with friends, and learn exciting things. Have you ever wondered how these incredible machines work? Well, get ready to embark on a journey into the fascinating world of computer components, where we will uncover the secrets behind these magical boxes.
The critical component of a computer is the CPU or Central Processing Unit. This is the brain of the computer. Every key pressed and every file opened must go through the CPU. Each CPU has a different clock speed, which is how fast the computer can process information. The first computer had a clock speed of 5-10 hertz. This means that every second, the clock would tick ten times. Intel’s latest computer clocks in at 5.8 gigahertz, meaning the clock ticks 5.8 billion times every second.
CPUs are one of the hottest components in a computer. To keep the computer from overheating, a computer needs a cooler. There are liquid and air coolers. Air coolers have a heat sink, such as aluminum, to absorb heat and a fan to blow away the hot air. Liquid coolers are made up of pumps, tubes, and a radiator to keep the liquid cool.
The next part is RAM or Random Access Memory. This is the computer’s short-term memory. Typically, RAM is compared to a desktop. A desktop only has so much room to store stuff. Once the desk is full, then objects must be placed elsewhere. This is like RAM because RAMs have limited information they can hold. Once the RAM is full, then data must be stored elsewhere.
There are two types of long-term memory on a computer, HDDs, and SSDs. HDDs or hard drives have moving parts that read and write information. Hard drives comprise a read/write head, magnetic disk platters, and a head arm. SSDs or Solid-State Drives have no moving parts; instead, they use electricity.
Next up, all the components need to be connected. The motherboard allows all the components to communicate with each other. A part of the motherboard is the VRM or Voltage Regulator Module that controls power distribution to ensure that components do not fry from too much power. On the motherboard, there are tiny lines connecting components. These are called traces. They regulate communication between the components. There are also slots and sockets where the RAM and CPU go. The last part of the motherboard is the IO. This is where your monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB, and Ethernet connect.
Then there is the GPU, Graphic Processing Unit, which allows the computer to produce an image on the monitor. Three diverse kinds of GPUs exist: Integrated, Discrete, and External. Integrated GPUs are a part of the CPU and are the cheapest option. Integrated GPUs are best for browsing the internet and watching YouTube videos. Discrete GPUs or Dedicated Graphics cards are used for gaming. External GPUs are discrete in an external container connected to the rest of the computer through a USB cable.
The last thing you need for your computer is power. This is achieved through a power supply unit. There are three distinct kinds of power supplies, non-modular, semi-modular, and modular. Non-modular power supplies have permanently attached cables, so you cannot change anything. This is typically the cheapest power supply. Semi-modular power supplies have specific cables that can be replaced; however, the motherboard and CPU cables cannot be moved. Modular power supplies are entirely replaceable. All the cables are customizable and can be moved for decluttering.
Computers are incredible machines, and understanding their various components helps us appreciate the technology surrounding us. Every part plays a vital role in making computers work efficiently, from the CPU and memory to storage devices, input/output devices, and peripherals. As you continue to explore the world of technology, remember that the parts of a computer come together like puzzle pieces to create a powerful tool that can unlock endless possibilities.