Computer Hardware Guide: Core Parts of a Desktop Computer

A home computer is now on the list of the essential items for nearly every home. We use our computers for so many purposes from catching up with office work, freelancing, children’s homework, gaming, and watching Netflix.

With so many demands on the home computer, we’re very wise to learn more about how they work and what are the main parts of a desktop computer. Depending on how heavily you use your computer it will last around 5 to 7 years, or possibly longer before you’ll either need to replace it or seriously think about upgrading some of the components.

In this article, we’re going to take some of the mystery out of what’s inside the computer cover so that you’re better informed for when those changes or upgrades are needed.

Hands of the Machine

This refers to all of the peripherals of your computer. Things like the keyboard and mouse. In a pre-built system that you can buy in a standard store, the keyboard and mouse will also be quite standard. That said, there are many options when it comes to buying a mouse and keyboard.

Their connectivity can be wired or Bluetooth. They can be combined so that there is a rollerball within the keyboard or they can be separate as you prefer. You can also get a trackpad that acts like the touchpad on a laptop. Other typical peripherals include your monitor and camera, etc.

Brain Power

Your computer has an electronic brain as it were. It is called the CPU or central processing unit. This does the thinking for your computer, or perhaps more accurately we could say that it carries out all of the computer’s calculations.

The CPU interacts with other elements of your entire computer system to ensure that various computer program instructions are executed. The speed with which your CPU can process or calculate commands is dependent on its clock speed. For example, a CPU of 2.4 GHz executes 2.4 billion cycles per second; the higher the number, the fast the CPU.

Short Term and Long Term Memory

The human brain is the most sophisticated computer on the planet and is still beyond human understanding. In the meantime, your desktop has separate components to store information. The long-term memory inside your computer is part of the hard disk drive.

This is where information is stored permanently or until you decide you no longer need it. It is the hard disk drive that is the permanent storage place for all of your computer programs, and any other information stored on your computer, such as photos and videos.

The more information you have stored on your computer, the more hard drive memory space you’ll need. Apart from the hard drive, you also have a form of storage called RAM, or Random Access Memory. This is sometimes referred to as short-term or functioning memory in your computer.

RAM is very important because this is the place where program information is loaded to and operates. Think of a game of chess with lots of pieces stored in a box (the hard drive) and when you want to play the game, you have to take them out of the box and set them out on a board (RAM). The more RAM you, the more your computer can do at the same time.

Big Heart

You’ve heard the word motherboard, so what does it mean? If we continue to follow the anatomical analogy, the motherboard is the heart of your computer. The human heart is the central hub through which blood must flow before it reaches all other organs with oxygen and other life-sustaining elements.

The motherboard is similar in that it’s the central hub to which everything connects so that all these other components can communicate with each other. Many different cables, such as power and data cables will connect to the motherboard. This is where the CPU will also connect.

The various connections of the motherboard are not one-size-fits-all. They’re quite specific, as this helps ensure compatibility between the various connected components. So keep that in mind if you ever decide you want to replace any of the components connected to the motherboard.

Big Pair of Lungs

You might think that your computer doesn’t need to breathe but you’d be wrong. The passage of air through your computer system is not to provide oxygen but to remove heat. When you consider how fast the CPU is working making millions of cycles per second, as well as the internal movements associated with the storage and retrieval of data from memory, an inevitable by-product is heat.

This heat needs to be removed from the system to an acceptable level so that the components don’t overheat and burnout. This is called the CPU cooler and needs to compatible with the CPU being used.

If you listen to your computer, you’ll hear the fan-like function of the CPU cooler. Other sophisticated methods of cooling involve fluid but that’ll depend on the compatibility of your system.

Computer Face

We’ve already mentioned the computer monitor. Just like your TV, a high-definition monitor will help produce a high-quality picture. However, the extent to which the picture will look good on your monitor will also depend on the performance of the graphic card inside your computer. Sometimes the graphics card will malfunction and need repair or replacement.

Most standard computers will have a graphics card that is sufficient for basic visual programs like word processors and spreadsheets, as well as watching video. More demanding programs like 3-D rendering and games will require more sophisticated graphics.

Parts of a Desktop Computer Exposed

In this article, you’ve read about the parts of a desktop computer in terms of what they are and how they contribute to your computer system. Of course, there are many other components but these are the core parts that you need to know.

Armed with this information you’re now in a good position to help make your computer last longer by replacing or upgrading according to need. We love questions, so if you need help with something you can get in touch with us here.