What is computer hardware?

The term hardware refers to the physical components or peripherals that make up a computer system. These can be anything from a keyboard to the items inside the computer. Items that are referred to as hardware are discussed in more detail below.

What is a Motherboard?

The motherboard or main board is the main circuit board that relays information to components or peripherals such as memory, a cpu, harddisk etc. They can also be used to house additional components such as network interfaces or graphics controllers that display the pictures on the screen and are referred to as “onboard”. Motherboards can be found in many different devices including TV’s, computer consoles, freeview boxes and DVD players

What is a CPU?

CPU stands for central processing unit. This is where all the instructions for a computer are performed and calculations are made. It is often referred to as the brains of the computer and is normally found underneath a heat sink. The CPU is often the most expensive part of the computer. There are many different types of processor including dual core and quad core. The words Dual and Quad refer to the amount of complex core units there are within a single processor. These complex core units work individually of each other allowing the CPU to multitask doing more than one operation concurrently increasing the computers overall performance.

What is a Heat sink?

A heat sinks job is to conduct heat away from a CPU. It is applied directly onto the surface of the CPU and the heat transfers over to the heat sink. The heat sink is designed to have lots of surface area so that a fan can pass a breeze across it. This in turn causes heat to dissipate and brings both the temperature of the heat sink and CPU down.

What is Memory?

There are various types of memory. The most commonly known is Random Access Memory also known as RAM. Memory is used as a temporary location for data that is needed quickly by the CPU. This is so the CPU doesn’t sit idling while waiting for slower items such as hard disks to supply the data. Operating systems, games and applications all use this memory to make sure their applications run quickly and efficiently. When the computer is turned off all the information stored in the ram is lost.

What is Cache Memory?

Cache memory is even quicker than RAM memory and is located both within the CPU which is known as 1 st level cache and also on the motherboard next to the CPU known as second level cache. These are used much in the same was as RAM but are used to hold the instructions that are required extremely frequently by the CPU. Having memory within the CPU allows instructions to travel very quickly between them as there is so little distance to be covered.

What is a Hard Disk?

A hard disk or hard drive is a data storage device. This media is where the operating system, applications, documents and games are held. It is effectively a very large collection of memory that holds data even when power to the hardware has been turned off.

What is a graphics card?

A graphics card is an alternative method to displaying graphics rather than letting the motherboard do it. A graphics card has memory and a processing unit enabling it to perform operations at speed. This in turn gives the user a high level of visual experience.

 




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