For most people, computer parts and the innards of a computer are something that rarely needs to be looked at up close. Everyone knows it has something to do with IBM and Bill Gates, but that’s about it. But the fact is, today’s computers parts are the result of massive technological innovations in microprocessors, semiconductors and programming. Here’s a brief guide for what makes up a computer.
Most of the circuitry and the brains of a computer are nowadays built-into motherboards and processors. The rest of it is just so that these two can function properly and interface with the user. The ‘rest’ in this case includes keywords, monitors, the mouse, etc.
The biggest processor makers are Intel and AMD, and the choice is usually whatever happens to be the latest in the market. Choices for the motherboard and chipset are a lot more varied and depend on usage, budget, location, etc. It’s best to look it up on computer hardware review and benchmarking sites before buying anything.
The other major computer parts worth mentioning include the SMPS or power supply, hard disk drive (hdd), memory (RAM) and video cards (better known as a display or graphics card). Sound cards are these days built into the motherboard, and so are modems and LAN cards required to connect to the internet or join a network. But some people might still consider getting more powerful external cards and devices for these functions.
The power supply is worth mentioning because unlike other electronic gadgets, a computer’s power supply is a very important and delicate part. It provides power separately to the motherboard and each motorized part (hdd, cd/dvd-rom, cooling fans, led displays). Each of these power cables is critical to the operation of the computer, and needs a strong and stable power supply.
Also to be noted that laptop computers and desktop computers have different needs, as far as parts are concerned. In a laptop, most of the parts are factory built, and there’s not much room for customization by adding cards or a bigger monitor, etc. On the other hand, a desktop computer can be ripped apart, upgraded and customized with better video cards, faster LAN cards, a bigger hdd, more RAM and anything else that’s required.
As far as operating systems are concerned, Microsoft Windows is still the world’s most dominant OS. An OS, by the way, is what interfaces between all the hardware on one side, with all the software and the user on the other side. Alternative OS options include Unix, Linux, FreeBSD and various other Unix derivatives and clones.
Commonly used software choices for web browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Office software choices include MS-Office and OpenOffice. The rest is pretty much dependent on what the computer is to be used for.
In summary, the computer parts and software required basically depend on budget considerations and usage. For instance, someone who needs to run advanced multimedia software like Photoshop or play online video games might need a powerful desktop computer with add-on video cards, a bigger monitor and more cooling fans. Someone who simply wants to browse the web might find a factory built config for a laptop quite sufficient.