Technology Explained: Computer Parts

Many people who are not in the IT industry know the parts of a computer. At least they know enough to look at specs from time to time. However, a lot of them do not understand what the various parts of the computer actually do, and why they are important. They know that more RAM equals a faster computer, but they don’t know why.

Today we want to explain the various parts of the computer so next time you are researching what to buy, you will be able to make a more informed decision.

To help even the most non-technical folks understand the parts of the computer, we are going to relate them to a library.

The outer case of the computer, whether it is a desktop tower or a laptop would be like the walls of the library, or even the building itself. It keeps all of the parts of the library safe and indoors. When it rains, snows or the wind blows, the building is going to keep all of the books inside protected.

Once we walk inside the library we are met with shelves upon shelves upon shelves of books. Consider these shelves your hard drive. The more shelves you have the more books you can fit on them. So, the more hard drive space you have, the more files and programs and data you can store.

Hard drive

There are 2 different types of hard drives though. An SSD is a solid state drive, and an HDD is a hard drive disk. The HDD will be cheaper but will have more storage capacity, while an SSD will be more expensive and won’t be available in the extremely large sizes. Back to our library analogy, an HDD would be like having to walk all the way up the stairs and down rows of stacks to find the book you need. An SSD would just have all of the books you want right in front of your face. While obviously, that wouldn’t be possible, but the example is just to show you how much quicker an SSD works. An HDD is also like a record, it spins and has to follow the path to get to the files, whereas an SSD would just be able to locate the file immediately.

RAM

When you are ready to browse through some books you grab all of the ones you need and move them to a table inside the library. The table is your RAM (Random Access Memory).  Since these books have already been found, and they are on your table it is easy for you to jump from book to book. As you open programs and files, they get moved to the “table” or the RAM for quick access.

When you save the files and close them, you put them back on the shelf. The table is still has a limited amount of space and can fill up. If your table is full of books it is still difficult to find the right one you need and may take some time. The bigger the table, the more books you can have out at once, and the more spread out you can make them which allows you to find things easily. Essentially, the more RAM you have, the bigger your table will be, and you will be able to run more programs and have more files open at once.

Processor

The processor in the computer is like the librarian. It’s basically the brains of the whole operation. The librarian knows where to find the books, can go get them for you, or tell you where to get them. The processor is what is telling all of the parts what they need to do in order to complete your requests. Better processors will be able to work more efficiently and can help you perform your tasks quickly.

Motherboard

The floor of the library connects everything together. The shelves, the table, the case are all attached to the floor. Even the librarian is standing on the floor. The motherboard keeps all of the parts connected and allows the librarian to move around and perform the tasks required of them.

Each of these parts work together to make a smooth computing experience. You can imagine if one shelf in the library is broken, some books might not be in the correct locations, or they may have gotten damaged when it broke. Each part needs to be functioning for the library to work, and so does all the parts of the computer.