9 Basic Computer Components And How To Upgrade Them
9 Basic Computer Components And How To Upgrade Them
You know how to use a computer, but how familiar are you with what's inside? However complex the inner workings of computers may be, they are only made up of a few component parts. But what is the function of them? What are the different parts of a PC? Today we will show you how to identify the basic components of your computer.
What are the Basic Parts of a Computer?
A PC is made up of several discrete components that are designed to work together. With desktop computers, these components can be easily replaced, less so with laptops. This is due to the dimensions of the laptop, its power and cooling requirements, and lack of standardization.
Thankfully, this isn't a problem with desktop PCs. Designed to last longer, desktop computers can be customized and upgraded by replacing some or all of the components. But what are these components called?
Computer Basic Components
Computer Component Motherboards
The motherboard or commonly known as the mainboard is where all the components are connected. Inside there are slots for CPU, RAM, storage devices, GPU and sound cards. If you are a beginner, we would not advise you to upgrade your motherboard yourself. This requires full compatibility with not only other components, but also the PC case. However, the other components discussed here require you to unplug cables from the motherboard.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Computer Component RAM
RAM is temporary or short-term memory and is related to overall system performance and speed. RAM modules consist of long sticks that plug directly into your motherboard. Your computer manual or motherboard manual will tell you what the maximum amount of RAM your system supports.
The increase in RAM depends on how many slots you have and the maximum size each slot supports. Some computers require that you have the same amount of RAM in each slot. Check the PC manual to confirm this.
Replacing the RAM is very easy, you just release the latch at one end of the slot, and pull the RAM out. Thanks to the notch, the replacement module will only fit one way. Align the new module with the notch, and press it firmly into the slot until the latches lock in place. Check if it is correct and secure.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Computer Component CPU
If computers were people, CPUs would be brains. This is the most important part of a computer. The CPU processes data, calculations and controls most of the other components. The CPU sits on the motherboard in a special socket. It's important to note that these sockets are sometimes specific to a particular CPU generation. They are also specific to the CPU manufacturer (AMD or Intel).
Once secured on the motherboard, the CPU is cooled by a heatsink, usually a heatsink and fan. However, there are other PC cooling solutions available. As with any motherboard, never install your own CPU if you are a beginner. In most cases upgrading your CPU will require a new motherboard, along with a cooler and possibly other components.
Power Supply Units (PSU)
Computer Component Power Supply
Providing power to the PC is the job of the PSU, usually found on the back of the PC case. Looking at the back of your computer will show where the power cord is plugged in. There is usually an on-off switch on this PSU, in addition to the power switch on the front of the computer.
The PSU powers the motherboard and CPU via special cables. SATA power cables power everything else on the computer. PSUs are rated by the amount of power they supply (eg 600 watts). It is important that your computer is properly powered. Otherwise, the components will not function properly, and the system will soon fail.
To upgrade your PSU, first research the Video Card and CPU specifications. You also want to make sure you get the right connector for your system. To replace the PSU, you'll need to make sure all internal cables are disconnected. Follow this by removing the screws securing it to the PC case.
Fixed Storage Devices (Hard Drive Or SSD)
HDD & SSD Computer Components
Data is stored on your PC in storage devices. For decades, hard disk drives (HDD) have served this purpose, but PCs are increasingly dependent on other devices. A new device was created, namely Solid State Storage (SSD), a 2.5-inch device that looks like an HDD but is much faster.
HDDs and SSDs are found on the front of the PC case and connect to the motherboard via SATA cables. The drive requires two cables: one for power, one for data. Older disk drives relied on a wider ribbon cable, known as PATA, with an IDE connector for data. They are powered by Molex plugs.
If your HDD or SSD dies or you plan to upgrade to a larger capacity storage device, they can easily be replaced. Simply take any necessary backup precautions, before you unplug your device and remove the safety screw/clip. The SSD or HDD can then be replaced.
Removable Storage: DVD-ROM or Blu-Ray
Computer Component DVD-ROM
Increasingly uncommon on laptop computers, desktops still seem to ship with an optical drive. These are known as removable strogae or removable storage, usually DVD-ROM or Blu-ray drives, with read and write capabilities. Upgrading an optical drive is simple. Unplug, unlock, or unlock the drive from the bay, pushing it out the front of the case. USB stick or SD card, both also based on flash RAM, which is removable storage.
Cooling Fans Computer Components
The part of a PC that is often overlooked is the cooling fans. At least two are needed: one for the CPU, and one for the case. The purpose of the CPU fan is to keep the CPU cool. Because of the heat inside the computer, the motherboard fan draws in cool air, an auxiliary fan draws hot air out.
In most cases there should be a fan on the back of the case, another on the side or front. Many cases come with built-in fans, but these are usually low end. Superior fans can be installed, designed to replace or complement existing cooling solutions. Cooling fans are usually powered by a cable from the PSU and are secured to the case with screws. Many also add built-in LEDs to clean the PC case.
Graphics Card (GPU)
Computer Component GPUs
Commonly known as a video card or VGA (Video Graphics Array). The GPU is the device that connects your computer to the display. While older PCs used VGA ports, today's computers use HDMI to connect to HD displays. In most cases the video out port is connected to the integrated graphics card on the motherboard. However, this is not always the case.
Modern games require better graphics cards. Thus, gamers, video editors, graphic designers and other specialists use dedicated graphics cards. The GPU slot becomes a dedicated PCI-Express (PCIe) slot on a PC motherboard. It overrides the motherboard GPU.
Graphics cards are prone to compatibility issues such as size specifications, slot placement, motherboard type, processor speed and power intake. However, the upgrade is as simple as removing the security screw and clip, unplugging the GPU and snapping the replacement in place.
Computer Component Sound Card
On the back of your PC, you'll usually find three to five small circular ports. These are usually colored. In some cases, you might also find it on the front of your PC.
This is the audio port that connects to your computer's sound card. Like video cards, sound cards are usually integrated into the motherboard. However, for specialist uses such as game development and audio or recording purposes, dedicated sound cards can be used.
The sound card offers a variety of audio enhancements, such as advanced audio processing and Dolby surround sound 7.1. Like the GPU, the sound card is inserted into the PCIe slot on the motherboard (a different slot from the GPU, however). New sound cards have minimal compatibility issues.
By now you should know the names of the various PC parts on your computer. You should also be able to recognize them, as well as have an idea how they can be replaced. Now you are on your way to understanding how to fix your own computer and save money. Maybe even later you can assemble your own computer.
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