What is Computer? Main & Basic Parts of a Computer
A computer is a machine that performs tasks and calculations based off a set of instructions, or program operations.
Electronic computers were introduced in the 1940s and they were huge machines that actually required a team of individuals to operate.
In contrast to early computer systems, today’s computers are vastly smaller and amazingly powerful. Not only are they thousands of times faster but they are small enough to fit on your desk, on your lap, or even in a pocket.
There are two things all computers have in common:
Computer hardware is the physical components that a computer system requires to function. It encompasses everything with a circuit board that operates within a PC or laptop; including the motherboard, graphics card, CPU (Central Processing Unit), ventilation fans, webcam, power supply, and so on.
A motherboard (also called mainboard, main circuit board, system board, baseboard, planar board, logic board, and mobo) is the main printed circuit board (PCB) in general-purpose computers and other expandable systems. It holds, and allows communication between, many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems, such as the central processor, the chipset’s input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general use.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The central processing unit (CPU) of a computer is a piece of hardware that carries out the instructions of a computer program. It performs the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of a computer system. The CPU is like the brains of the computer – every instruction, no matter how simple, has to go through the CPU. So let’s say you press the letter ‘k’ on your keyboard and it appears on the screen – the CPU of your computer is what makes this possible. The CPU is sometimes also referred to as the central processor unit or processor for short. So when you are looking at the specifications of a computer at your local electronics store, it typically refers to the CPU as the processor.
RAM(Random Access Memory) is a part of computer’s Main Memory which is directly accessible by CPU. RAM is used to Read and Write data into it which is accessed by CPU randomly. RAM is volatile in nature, it means if the power goes off, the stored information is lost. RAM is used to store the data that is currently processed by the CPU. Most of the programs and data that are modifiable are stored in RAM.
Hard disk, Magnetic storage medium for a microcomputer. Hard disks are flat, circular plates made of aluminum or glass and coated with a magnetic material. Hard disks for personal computers can store up to several gigabytes (billions of bytes) of information. Data are stored on their surfaces in concentric tracks. A small electromagnet, called a magnetic head, writes a binary digit (1 or 0) by magnetizing tiny spots on the spinning disk in different directions and reads digits by detecting the magnetization direction of the spots. A computer’s hard drive is a device consisting of several hard disks, read/write heads, a drive motor to spin the disks, and a small amount of circuitry, all sealed in a metal case to protect the disks from dust. In addition to referring to the disks themselves, the term hard disk is also used to refer to the whole hard drive.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The GPU is to graphics what the CPU is to the computer. The GPU was the solution found to process all of the math that 3D games-the environment in 3d games needed. Games like Doom, Quake, UnrealTournament, COD, Dirt Rally, Fallout, Minecraft, Elder Scrolls, Everquest, World of warcraft, DOTA, you get the idea. Its a specialized card that processes all of the math that goes into displaying a game. Stuff like: geometry shading, gouraud shading, pixel shading, vertex shading and coordinate calculations, bi-linear and tri-linear filtering, mip mapping, bit mapping, anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, perspective correction, dithering, triangle set-up, tesselation, rasterization, alpha blending, bump mapping, modeling and transforming, texture mapping, Occlusion Culling, Transforms (rotation, translation, scaling), depth buffering, scanline conversion…….and all of the other functions—–FOR EVERY FRAME PER SECOND EVERY SECOND. Makes you see that there is alot of processing going on and almost wonder how it manages to do it. Its basically a parallel processor designed to do all of this for your best gaming experience.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Abbreviated as PS or P/S, a power supply or PSU (power supply unit) is a hardware component of a computer that supplies all other components with power. The power supply converts a 110-115 or 220-230 volt AC (alternating current) into a steady low-voltage DC (direct current) usable by the computer and rated by the number of watts it generates. The image shows an Antec True 330, a 330 Watt power supply.
Cpu Cooler Fan
A computer fan is any fan inside, or attached to, a computer case used for active cooling. Fans are used to draw cooler air into the case from the outside, expel warm air from inside, and move air across a heat sink to cool a particular component.
Alternatively referred to as the case and sometimes referred to as the system unit or base unit. The chassis is the housing that helps protect and organize all the components that make up a desktop computer. The picture is an empty computer chassis.
A computer mouse is a handheld hardware input device that controls a cursor in a GUI (graphical user interface) and can move and select text, icons, files, and folders on your computer.
For desktop computers, the mouse is placed on a flat surface (e.g., mouse pad or desk) in front of your computer. The picture is an example of a desktop computer mouse with two buttons and a wheel.
A computer keyboard is one of the primary input devices used with a computer. Similar to an electric typewriter, a keyboard is composed of buttons that create letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as perform other functions. The following sections provide more in-depth information and answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the keyboard.
Alternatively referred to as a VDT (video display terminal) and VDU (video display unit), a monitor is an output device that displays video images and text. A monitor is made up of circuitry, a screen, a power supply, buttons to adjust screen settings, and casing that holds all of these components.
Like most early TVs, the first computer monitors were comprised of a CRT (cathode ray tube) and a fluorescent screen. Today, all monitors are created using flat-panel display technology, usually backlit with LEDs (light-emitting diode). The image is an example of an ASUS LCD (liquid-crystal display) monitor.
A computer speaker is an output hardware device that connects to a computer to generate sound. The signal used to produce the sound that comes from a computer speaker is created by the computer’s sound card.
Speakers are made up of a cone, an iron coil, a magnet, and housing (case). When the speaker receives electrical input from a device, it sends the current through the causing it to move back and forth. This motion then vibrates the outer cone, generating sound waves picked up by our ears.
Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.
Here are two main types of software:
- System software
- Application software
The system software is a software that provides a platform for other software. Some examples can be operating systems, antivirus software, disk formatting software, Computer language translators, etc. These are commonly prepared by computer manufacturers. These software consists of programs written in low-level languages, used to interact with the hardware at a very basic level. System software serves as the interface between the hardware and the end-users. The most important features of system software include :
1. Closeness to the system
2. Fast speed
3. Difficult to manipulate
4. Written in a low-level language
5. Difficult to design
Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself, such as the operating system, file management utilities, and disk operating system (or DOS).
Application software, by contrast, directs the computer to execute commands given by the user and may be said to include any program that processes data for a user. Application software thus includes word processors, spreadsheets, database management, inventory and payroll programs, and many other “applications.” A third software category is that of network software, which coordinates communication between the computers linked in a network.