Computer Basics


List of Computer Basics

On this page, I will briefly describe all the computer basics. I will try to cover all the different pieces of computer hardware and shortly describe what they are and what they do. Computers are complex machines but when they are split up into separate components they are much easier to understand. This page seeks to provide information on computer basics and if you wish to learn more about compute hardware click on the links provided.

Desktop Computer Cases

Desktop computer cases are the home to all the computer components. Everything including the motherboard, the hard drive, the cd drive, the floppy drive and the power supply go inside a computer case. Computer cases can be different colors and in recent years some have become fancy. Extras, such as front USB have become popular as well.


Computer Motherboards are essential to a computer. All the computer components somehow connect to the motherboard. The Power Supply powers up the motherboard and the CPU is laid inside the motherboard. The memory is also put into the motherboard. Hard Drives, Floppy Drives and CD/DVD players all connect to the motherboard using either the IDE Ribbon cable or the later SATA cables. Thus a motherboard is very important for it connectsall the computer hardware components together.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

When explaining the CPU (Central Processing unit) to my inquisitive younger brothers I tell them that the CPU is the ‘brain’ of a computer. It is arguably the most important piece of hardware and when looking to buy or build your own computer make sure you choose the correct CPU for your needs. CPU clock speed is measured in hertz. In previous years it was megahertz (one million cycles per second) and now they are mainly measured in
gigahertz (one billion cycles per second). CPUs are
most commonly manufactured by Intel and AMD.

Computer Memory(CPU)

RAM (Random Access Memory) or Computer Memory is another very important component to a computer. Computer Memory is a volatile storage device meaning that when the computer is switched off everything stored on this temporary storage device will be lost. The more computer memory, the better the computer will run and the better it will handle programs and software. RAM is now generally measured in Mhz, and most commonly seen in the types of SDRAM, DDRRAM, DDR2RAM.

Hard Drive

A Hard Disk Drive is another very crucial component to a computer. The hard drive is a permanent storage device. It is possible for a computer to function without a Hard Disk Drive, but it would have no operating system and would be of very little use. All the information on your computer including the operating system (eg. windows XP), programs and files will be stored on the Hard Drive. Hard Drives are measured in Gigabytes (one billion bytes).

CD/DVD Drives

CD/DVD Drives are another storage device in a computer. CD Drives are used to read CD’s with information on them such as an operating system, programs or data files. Recently CD-RW and DVD-RW have been included in computers meaning that it is possible to write data to blank disks. CD Drives are measured by their read and write speeds.

Video Cards

A video card is another compulsory component in a computer. The information goes into the video card and then is transmitted to the monitor where the information is displayed. Some motherboards have the graphics card built in, but the majority need a seperate card that plugs into the motherboard.

Sound Card

A sound card is another extra that can be added to your computer. A sound card translates signals into sounds that can be played back through speakers. Many motherboards have a sound card incorporated in the motherboard, but for those that don’t it is possible to get one.


Computer monitors are another compulsory unit of a computer system. It is possible for the computer to function correctly without a monitor but there would be very little point as you cannot see anything. The computer monitor connects to the graphics card and it displays a picture on the screen. Computer monitors come in two types: CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) which are block monitors and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) which are very thin.

Network Card

A Computer Network Card or a LAN (Local Area Network) card is increasingly becoming more and more necessary in world of broadband internet and home networking. LAN ports are often incorporated on the motherboard and it is used for networking computers together or for connecting through a router to the World Wide Web.

Other Components

There are many other computer hardware components that can be placed onto the motherboard in the PCI-slots. These include, firewire cards, USB cards, TV tuners, and many other components that are specific to their personal needs.


The purpose of this page was to create an overview of computer basics and separate computer components that are used in the typical home computer. To find out more information about the various computer components just click on the Navigation Bar on the side or click on the various links on this page.

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