Inside a computer

Have you ever looked inside a computer system case, or seen photos of the inside of one? The tiny parts may look complicated, but the within of a computer case isn't really all the mysterious. This lesson will help you master some the the basic terminology and also understand a bit an ext about what walk on within a computer.

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Watch the video below come learn around what's inside a desktop computer.


The motherboard is the computer's main circuit board. It's a slim plate that holds the CPU, memory, connectors because that the hard drive and optical drives, growth cards to control the video clip and audio, and also connections to your computer's ports (such as USB ports). The motherboard connects directly or indirectly to every component of the computer.


The central processing unit (CPU), also called a processor, is situated inside the computer case top top the motherboard. The is sometimes referred to as the brain of the computer, and its task is to lug out commands. At any time you push a key, click the mouse, or begin an application, you're sending instructions come the CPU.

The CPU is commonly a two-inch ceramic square with a silicon chip situated inside. The chip is usually around the dimension of a thumbnail. The CPU fits into the motherboard's CPU socket, which is extended by the heat sink, things that absorbs warm from the CPU.

A processor's speed is measured in megahertz (MHz), or millions of instructions every second; and also gigahertz (GHz), or billions the instructions per second. A much faster processor deserve to execute instructions more quickly. However, the actual rate of the computer system depends ~ above the rate of many different components—not just the processor.

RAM (random accessibility memory)

RAM is your system's short-term memory. Whenever your computer system performs calculations, the temporarily stores the data in the RAM until it is needed.

This short-term storage disappears as soon as the computer is turned off. If you're functioning on a document, spreadsheet, or other kind of file, you'll must save it come avoid shedding it. When you conserve a file, the data is written to the hard drive, i beg your pardon acts together long-term storage.

RAM is measure in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). The more RAM friend have, the much more things your computer system can execute at the exact same time. If you don't have enough RAM, girlfriend may an alert that your computer is sluggish once you have several programs open. Because of this, plenty of people include extra RAM come their computer systems to enhance performance.

Hard drive

The hard drive is whereby your software, documents, and also other papers are stored. The hard drive is long-term storage, which means the data is quiet saved also if you revolve the computer system off or unplug it.

When you operation a regime or open up a file, the computer copies some of the data native the hard drive onto the RAM. As soon as you save a file, the data is copied ago to the hard drive. The faster the hard drive, the much faster your computer can start up and also load programs.

Power it is provided unit

The power supply unit in a computer converts the power native the wall surface outlet come the form of power required by the computer. It sends power through cables come the motherboard and also other components.

If you decision to open up the computer system case and take a look, make certain to unplug the computer system first. Prior to touching the within of the computer, you should touch a grounded metal object—or a metal part of the computer system casing—to discharge any kind of static buildup. Static electrical power can it is in transmitted through the computer system circuits, which have the right to seriously damages your machine.

Expansion cards

Most computers have expansion slots top top the motherboard that enable you to include various types of expansion cards. These are sometimes referred to as PCI (peripheral component interconnect) cards. You may never need to add any PCI cards because most motherboards have integrated video, sound, network, and other capabilities.

However, if you desire to an increase the power of your computer system or upgrade the capabilities of an larger computer, you have the right to always add one or an ext cards. Listed below are some of the many common varieties of growth cards.

Video card

The video card is responsible for what friend see on the monitor. Most computers have a GPU (graphics handling unit) developed into the motherboard instead of having actually a separate video card. If you like playing graphics-intensive games, friend can include a faster video clip card to among the expansion slots come get far better performance.

Sound card

The sound card—also referred to as an audio card—is responsible because that what girlfriend hear in the speakers or headphones. Most motherboards have combined sound, but you can upgrade come a specialized sound card for higher-quality sound.

Network card

The network card enables your computer system to interact over a network and accessibility the Internet. It deserve to either affix with an Ethernet cable or v a wireless link (often called Wi-Fi). Many motherboards have built-in network connections, and also a network map can also be included to an expansion slot.

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Bluetooth map (or adapter)

Bluetooth is a modern technology for wireless interaction over short distances. It's often used in computers to interact with wireless keyboards, mice, and also printers. It's commonly developed into the motherboard or included in a wireless network card. For computers that don't have Bluetooth, you can purchase a USB adapter, often dubbed a dongle.