Finally... An Understandable Introduction To Computers
When you mention the word "technology," most people think about computers. Virtually every facet of our lives has some computerized component. The appliances in our homes have microprocessors built into them, as do our televisions. Even our cars have a computer. However, the computer that everyone thinks of first is typically the personal computer, or PC.
It is a general-purpose tool, built around a microprocessor. A PC has many different parts such as memories, a hard disk, a modem, etc that work together. A PC is said to be "general purpose" because you can do many different things with it like: you can use it to type documents, send e-mail, browse the Web and play games.
Let us look at the main components of a typical desktop computer.
Central processing unit (CPU): The microprocessor "brain" of the computer system is referred to as the central processing unit. The CPU oversees everything that a computer does.
Memory: This fast storage area is for storing data and is connected directly to the microprocessor. That's why it is fast. There are various types of memory in a computer system:
Random-access memory (RAM): Used to temporarily store information that the computer is currently working with.
Read-only memory (ROM): It refers to computer memory chips, containing permanent or semi-permanent data that does not change.
Basic Input/Output: Required to establish the basic communication when the system is turned on. It is directly connected to the motherboard.
Caching: The storing of frequently used data in extremely fast RAM that connects directly to the CPU.
Virtual memory: Used to temporarily store data and swap it in and out of the RAM.
Motherboard: This is the main board in the computer that has the processor, the RAM, the BIOS ROM, the timing and control, the interrupt and direct memory access hardware and the keyboard interface on it which are connected to it through the secondary connection.
Soundcard: this device attaches to the motherboard with a socket called PCI, which allows the computer to play CD's or music files, or MP3 CD's. All soundcards have speakers and connectors. The quality of sound depends upon the quality of the card.
Hard drive: This is the main storage device of a computer. It stores information including the OS that allows you to access it all. Most common OS for PCs is Microsoft Windows. And Apple computers use the Macintosh operating system.
Other drives: Most computers are also complete with floppy disk and CD drives. These vary from system to system, however all work in same way. They read information stored on disks. These are necessary for maintaining and updating the computer's software and operating system.
That's the components that create the average computer. Although there are many different systems, and configura- tions, it is difficult to imagine our lives without them.
About the Author
Roger A. Pendey is founder of All About Computers an excellent resource site dedicated to information about computers.