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Computers and You

Tired of living in a technological world that seems to be passing you by? We can tell you that building the perfect computer is not as hard as it looks. All computers consist of the following required parts:

  • motherboard
  • hard drive
  • memory
  • CPU (central processing unit)
  • Operating System

The motherboard is the single most important part of the computer. This is the heart of the entire system and almost every part plugs into it one way or another. Without the motherboard the computer would be dead and non-responsive. The motherboard is the largest part and is flat with many small connectors on it so that the PC can communicate with itself. The motherboard connects to the outside of the computer as well through the I/O shield..a small plate that the video, sound, and input devices are put through.

The hard drive is the brain of the computer. The small rectangle part holds all the information that you have entered and saved. It also stores all the required Operating System information so that the computer can work quickly. The standard amount that comes with computers now is about 80GB. Anything less is either on the verge of being outdated or is completely outdated.

Memory is often confused with the hard drive even though they are two completely different devices. The memory is a small thin part that stores all the temporary information so that the computer can run at maximum speed without tying up the other parts. You can have up to 8GB of memory on one computer but remember that Windows XP will only support 3.5GBs of memory. Winodws Vista will support up to 8GB of memory. the normal computers come with at least 512MB or 1GB(512MB x 2) or they will soon be outdated. Unlike its counterpart, the hard drive, it only keeps the information long enough to use it then it loses it, whereas the hard drive keep the stored information until the user decides it is no longer needed. So the memory is also known as Random Access Memory (RAM) because it is accessed just long enough to run efficiently. So in layman's terms it is the baggage handler at hte airport and the hard drive is the suitcase packed with clothes. RAM handles information long enough to get it to where it needs to go and the hard drive stores information until it is unloaded and deleted.

The CPU or Central Processing Unit is another core part that would make the computer not function at all without it. The CPU is measured in GHz and can have up to 4 cores, know as a dual core processor. Most normal computers come with a single core processor but are slowly being upgraded to dual core processors as they become more readily available and cheaper. The CPU needs to be cooled or system failure will result...without the CPU the computer is useless.

The operating system is the visual aspect of the computer's insides. Windows or Linux are the two leading systems that are currently available. Windows is prepackaged with almost every computer bought so more software is compatible with it compared to Linux. Linux is mainly freeware and can be downloaded free of charge, but remember free is not always best..especially since many things are not compatible with Linux.

Hopefully you learned something about computers and can answer some questions if the situation ever arises. Tune in next time as we discuss how to get the best bang for your buck when purchasing a computer.

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