The Basic Internal Hardware Components of Computers

Computers have revolutionized how we communicate with others and operate as a society, and such technology can be found in countless industries and homes for a variety of applications. While computers range in technological capability and use, all rely on common computer hardware components and motherboard accessories in order for them to function as intended. Computer hardware can include both the parts that are internal and external, including common components such as power supplies, memory, monitors, keyboards, and more. If you are looking to build a new computer or are simply replacing parts, having a basic understanding of the common main components can be useful before making a decision.

The motherboard could be considered one of the most important hardware pieces of the computer, and it serves as a printed circuit board that facilitates the attachment of the CPU and other accessories. With the motherboard assembly, power can be allocated and transferred to parts as needed with the addition of relaying communications. The CPU is also extremely important for the functionality of the system, as it is tasked with processing all the information and data of the computer. The CPU module assembly will often come with a clock speed measured in gigahertz, and this rating will determine the amount of instructions the component may process in a second.

While the CPU is tasked with handling much of the information of the computer, it also relies on components such as Random Access Memory (RAM) to temporarily store data. As the working memory of the computer system, the RAM modules ensure that programs can be executed efficiently and quickly with their ability to access and write data in any order.

For the storage of files, documents, pictures, programs, and other forms of data, data storage devices such as Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs) are used. Unlike other forms of memory devices such as RAM, HDDs and SSDs are both non-volatile. This means that they can retain stored data even in the loss of power. While HDDs utilize magnetic plates, armatures, and a hard disk controller for their operations, the SSD relies on flash storage to read and write data without moving parts. While the SSD is much quicker as compared to HDDs of the same size, such components are typically more expensive.

While many motherboards and modern CPU components will have integrated graphics to permit video displays on monitors, increased power can be obtained with the addition of a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). For some users, the basic onboard graphics offered by CPU motherboards may be sufficient for daily use, but those that wish to run more intensive graphics programs such as editing software or games will require stronger hardware.

As one of the final common and important components of the computer, the base power supply unit ensures that a sufficient amount of alternating current is drawn from an outlet and transformed into DC power for the means of powering all components. Power supplies are often rated with their ability to handle a set amount of voltage, and these ratings will often limit the parts that can be implemented within the computer system. With power supply testers or manufacturer manuals, one can find the voltage rating of their power supply unit to ensure it will provide enough power for all components.

For the external components of the computer, a number of accessories are available, though many are more of a personal preference rather than a requirement such as speakers or printers. Generally, however, components such as mice, keyboards, and monitors are all essential to enact basic control over the system and utilize most programs. With the addition of accessories such as headphones, microphones, webcams, and speakers, one can strengthen the communication abilities of their system.


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