What parts are in a computer? To a novice, a computer might seem like a magic box filled with mysterious, unknown contents. However, the inner workings of a computer are fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
Below is a simplified list of the components contained inside a typical computer, as well as what they do. Once you know what parts are in a computer, you are one step closer to understanding how these machines work.
MOTHERBOARD: This is a thin circuit board that connects all of the other components together. It is mounted with a variety of individual components, such as capacitors, resistors, inductors, integrated circuits, ports, sockets and LEDs.
The computer’s processor, memory, expansion cards, drives and power supply all connect to this board. Often, the motherboard includes the functionality that used to be provided by a video, audio, modem and/or network card.
These are commonly called “on board” components for that reason.
PROCESSOR, AKA CPU: This component is often referred to as the “brain” of a computer. It is the part of the machine that performs all the individual mathematical computations that make programs run.
It is plugged into, or embedded onto, the motherboard. Due to the large amount of heat produced by a processor, it is mounted with a heat sink and/or fan.
RAM, AKA MEMORY: These chips store information temporarily while the computer is on.
HARD DRIVE: This magnetic storage device holds data when the computer is turned off.
VIDEO CARD: This component generates the picture that is displayed on your monitor. It can also provide 3D processing for certain applications.
SOUND CARD: Often embedded onto the motherboard, this device produces sound and music. It also provides microphone functionality.
POWER SUPPLY: This boxlike device converts the high-voltage electricity from a wall outlet to lower voltages. Depending on what parts are in a computer, it will need to supply a different amount of current. This is measured in watts.
NETWORK CARD: This component, often embedded onto the motherboard, allows a computer to communicate with other computers via a local network or the Internet.
HEAT SINKS AND FANS: Heat sinks are pieces of metal with fins. They are designed to release heat from components, such as processors, and release that heat into the air. A fan helps to speed up this process.
REMOVABLE DISKS: These include CD-ROM, DVD, Blu-Ray, floppy and ZIP disk drives.
As you have read, there are many different components within a computer. All of these different components work together in one way or the other to make your experience while using your computer smooth and problem free.
Computer manufacturers may sell a variety of different computers but the core parts that are used to build the computer commonly stay the same. You may get more memory but it is still the RAM. Your new computer may have 1 terabyte of disk space but the part is still called the hard drive.