Before you can jump to any discussion about personal computers, you have to speak the language. You can't talk intelligently about anything if you don't know what you're talking about. You need to know the basic terms and buzzwords so you don't fall under charlatan spell.
Every PC is built from an array of components, each of which serves as specific function in making the overall machine work. As with the physical reality, a PC is built from fundamental elements combine together. Each of these elements adds a necessary quality or feature to the final PC. This building blocks are hardware components, built of electronic circuits and mechanical parts to carry out a define function. Although all of the components work together, they are best understood by examining them and their functions individually. Consequently, this book is divided into section and chapters by component.
Over the years of development of the PC, the distinction between many of this components have turned out not to be hard and fast. In the early days of PCs, most manufacturer followed the same basic game plan using the same components in the same arrangement, but today greater creativity and diversity rule. What once separate components have merged together; others have been separated out. Their function, however, remain untouched. For example, although modern PC may lock the separate timer chips of early machine, the function of the timer has been corporate into the support circuitry chipsets.
For purposes of this book and discussion, we'll divide the Pc into several major division can be, in turn subdivided into the major components ( or components function ) required in the complete PC.
The part of the PC that most people usually think of as the computer- the box that holds all the essential components except, in the case of
desktop machines, the keyboard and the monitor- is the system unit. Sometimes called CPU- for CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT, a term also use to describe microprocessor as well as mainframe computers- the system unit is the basic computer component. It houses the main circuitry of the computer and provides the jacks ( or outlet ) that
link the computer to the rest of its accouterments including the keyboard, monitor and the peripherals. A notebook computer combines all of these external components into one but is usually called simply the computer rather than the system unit or CPU.
One of the primary functions of the system is physical. it gives everything in your computer a place to be. it provides the mechanical mounting for all internal components that make up your computer, including the motherboard, disk drives and expansion boards. the system unit is the case of the computer that you see and everything that inside it. the system unit supplies power to operate the PC and its internal expansion, disk drives, and peripherals.
The center piece of the computer units is the motherboard. All the other circuitry of the system unit usually part of the motherboard or plugs directly into it.
The electric components on the motherboard carry out most of the function of the machine running programs, making calculations, even arranging the bits that will display on the screen.
Because the motherboard define each computer's functions and capabilities and because every computer is different, it only stands to reason that every motherboard is different, too. Not exactly. Many different computers have the same motherboard inside. And often times a single computer model might have any of several different motherboards defending on when it came down the production line (and what motherboard the manufacturer got the best deal on).
The motherboard holds the most important elements of your PC, those that define its function and expandability. These include the microprocessor, BIOS, memory, mass storage, expansion slots, and ports.
The most important of the electronic components
on the motherboard is the microprocessor. It does the actual thinking inside the computer. Which microprocessor, of the dozens currently available, determines not only the processing power of the computer but also what software language it understands (and thus what program it can run).
Many older computers also had a coprocessor that added more performance to the computer on some complex mathematical problems such as trigonometric functions. Modern microprocessors generally internally incorporate all the function of coprocessor.
Just as you need your hands and workbench to hold tools and raw materials to make things, your PC's microprocessor needs a place to hold the data it works on and the tools to do its work. Memory, which often described by the more specific term RAM (which means Random Access Memory) serves as the microprocessor workbench. Usually located on the motherboard, your PC's microprocessor needs memory to carry its calculations. The amount and architecture of the memory of a system determines how it can be programmed and, to some extent, the level of complexity of the problems that it can work on. Modern software often requires that you install a specific minimum of memory- a minimum measured in megabytes- to execute properly. With modern operating systems, more memory often equates so faster overall system performance.