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A Computer and Its Components0
By - Posted 4th July, 2015 at 9:52 pm
Case (Chassis)
 
The internal components are typically stored in a plastic casing called a “chassis”, in scientific terms. The chassis consists of the slots and framework needed to store your parts and holds other cables. For instance, the LED and Hard Drive cables that control the front lights, as well as the on/off buttons. The case is very self-explanatory, which is why we are only skimming the subject.
 
Motherboard
 
Ah, the motherboard. All it is is a circuit board with many, many slots and expansion slots. An up-to-date photo of a motherboard that you will typically see today can be found above. They’re found in green colors and are full of “chips” and robotically-soldered mini-circuits. All of the parts of the internal system are connected via the motherboard. 
 
Components directly attached to the motherboard include:
 
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU)
  • Random-Access Memory (RAM)
  • Read-Only Memory (ROM)
  • Buses
 
We will go over these components more throughout the article.
 
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
 
You hear about different people bragging about the new Intel 8-Core i7-4790ks they have, or even an AMD FX 8-Core 8350. These are both classified as CPUs, or processors. To make it simple, the CPU is referred to as the brains of the computer, the meat and cheese. It performs most calculations which enable a computer to function, processing billions of them per second.
 
The CPU comes with a heatsink and a fan to cool the hardware. A heatsink is a great conductor of heat and draws such heat from the processor assisted by the fan to ensure that the pins that connect to the motherboard do not melt and ruin the motherboard.
 
Random-Access Memory (RAM)
 
Data that is actively being processed by the CPU is stored in the RAM, a thin piece of hardware with its own circuit-related board in it. Faster RAM can be expensive for how small it is, but trust me – RAM is worth it. Some computer professionals recommend upgrading your RAM to hold more random memory. This is not always the case; it is a great solution, though, if your computer holds less than 1 GB. Typical gaming standard is around 8 GB of RAM which rendered chunks are stored in.
 
RAM can also be useful if you are into heavy video editing. 16 GB or even more will be required as the images on your screen are stored inside of the circuit board.
 
Read-Only Memory (ROM)
 
One time I was asked how much ROM my computer had that I’d recently built. I said, “Do you know what you’re talking about?” Apparently not. Most people confuse ROM and RAM. And it’s actually a very dramatic difference. Your ROM is where the BIOS is stored. The ROM is literally a little chip on the motherboard.
 
Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
 
The BIOS, or the basic input and output system is next and the simplest way I was taught the definition: “It is a firmware which tells the computer what to do on startup. All it really is is a series of commands telling the computer on/off (0 and 1) which looks for the components and then tells the system what directory to look for.” And that is very accurate and easy to understand.
 
Video Card
 
Oh man! The main component of the gaming computer. (Don’t argue, I have my opinion!) The more intense the game, the more powerful graphics card you will need. With games ever-improving, you’re looking at a new graphics card every one to two years. Let me quit rambling and explain.
 
A Video Card is an expansion card that fits into your motherboard and processes signals coming from your system and sends them to the monitor. These days you have the two main competitors: Radeon and Nvidia. Trust me when I say this. They make some bada** cards. Radeon aims towards price for performance, while Nvidia aims for performance over price. I, being a cheap and smart consumer, go for Radeon not only for the great prices, but my family and friends have great experiences. It is a very competitive business in the gaming field.
 
Hard Disk Drive (Hard Drive/HDD) / Solid-State Drive (SSD)
 
Prepare for confusion. I will make this as painless as possible. 
 
HARD DISK DRIVE:
 
Most computers and laptops are equipped with an industry standard of 500 GB to store their files and their Operating Systems (OS – Windows, Apple, Linux, Etc.). These are Hard Drives. Your work or school computer is most likely equipped with one. They’re made of platters coated in magnetic material. These rigid disks rapidly rotate whilst an arm moves around to read and burn re-writable information. Some external hard drives are actually hard drives equipped with a translator so you can attach them via USB to your computer.
 
SOLID-STATE DRIVE:
 
Most enthusiasts have a SSD in their computers, also known as a solid-state disk. This actually isn’t a disk, nor does it have a motor to spin the disk if it were there. A SSD actually uses assembled, integrated circuits to efficiently provide storage.
 
The upsides of such a technology provides a GREAT increase in startup time, latency, does well with physical shock and runs silently. This is, though, six to seven times more expensive than a traditional HDD because of its awesome advantages. Do you want an example? One of the most expensive 4 TB SSDs costs 29,000 dollars, while a normal HDD costs around 229 dollars. Big difference, right?
 
Power Supply (PSU)
 
Ah, the power supply. Take a quick guess without reading on… yeah I think you got it. It gives power to the other components. No, it’s not as simple as a power outlet. You’ll want to pay for certain levels of wattage for your components and make sure you have enough excess for upgrades. The normal standard is 500W, which happens to be my level. 
 
Is it more efficient to buy or to build?
 
This is the most popular question ever asked in the building community. Do I build? Or do I buy? Let’s get down to business. Building is your answer. Since most people aren’t loaded and want to buy as cheap as they can, building is the way to go. It’s so simple! Look through the motherboards manual and it will tell you where all of the little connections go without having to solder.
 
I hope this gave you a little insight on what to expect, and I hope you were educated even with small descriptions. It’s fascinating to learn and more affordable to buy!

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