What's what and how this stuff works. (for the novice PC user)
article is designed for the novice PC user so that you can understand
what components make up a personal computer.
Every PC is
made up of hardware and software this article is almost entirely focused
on the hardware so lets begin with the essentials. Inside every case,
laptop, or desktop is a motherboard this is the large board that all the
other component hook up to.
The brains of
the computer is referred to as a CPU or central processing unit. this is
generally located near the top of the motherboard generally covered by a
(heat sink) they come in many shapes and sizes. The CPU hooks into the
motherboard using a socket.
The socket type is determined by the number of pins the socket has, for
example a 478 AM XP CPU uses 478
pins in the socket where the AMD 64 bit 939 chip uses 939 pins. The idea
behind the number of pins is the more you have the more data you can
push so if you had to identical CPU speed like AMD 3200 XP socket 478
CPU and an AMD 3200 64bit 939 the 939 chip would be able to push data
faster due to the amount of pins on the chip.
The next piece
of hardware connected to the motherboard is the hard drive. This
component is generally hooked up using a cable, either IDE or SATA. This
unit is used primarily for storage and software. The hard drive is where
all the data is kept like the OS or Operating system and the
Applications. The size of the drive is measured in Bytes. Now a days an
average size hard drive is anywhere from 40 to 100 gigabytes of space.
The speed of the drive is specified by revolutions or the spins that the
head can read the data on the disk. Most drives run around 7200 RPM
(revolutions per minute) some more expensive drives can run 10,000 RPM's
confused item is memory many people think that memory and hard drive
size are the same when in fact memory or RAM is really a chip connected
to the motherboard and as the acronym says RAM or random access memory's
job is the have information on hand for the processor to use. Memory
runs much faster then the hard drive and acts as an active buffer for
running software. RAM is also measured in Bytes but in general much
smaller amounts. The average PC can have anywhere from 128 Megabytes to
1 Gigabyte of memory and up. The memory chip connects to the motherboard
using a socket so the same principals as the CPU apply when dealing the
memory speed the more pins the faster the memory or should I say more
space to move the information on the memory block or chip. Back in the
early 90's memory used 32 and 78 pin dimm's but now a days most newer
PC's use DDR or DDR2 memory ranging from 184 or over 200 pins.
When it comes
to peripherals many motherboard have the component built in or On Board.
These parts are generally Video Audio and Sound. For the avid gamer the
on board video is generally not good enough so ad-on video cards are
required there are two main type in the market right now AGP and
PCI-Experss AGP or advanced graphics port are slowly going always
replaced by the PCI-e interface that again has more pins and allows for
more data to be push then the older 64bit AGP cards. The slots a on the
motherboard are designed to accommodate the video cards or other
peripherals bellow is a few photos of different types notice the size
and location of the PCI vs PCI-e vs AGP. all these location and sizes
are industry standards so though one company might use a different
colored socket the size and use is the same.