Below are the nine major components to any computer whether it is a laptop, desktop, cell phone or tablet.
- CPU (Processor): This is the “brain” of the computer, where most of the number crunching is done. The CPU is found under the fan and heatsink, which is shown in the diagram.
- RAM / Memory: RAM is used to quickly access data that is currently being used because it can be accessed faster than hard drives or SSDs. It’s not used to store data permanently because RAM is wiped if a computer loses power.
- Optical Drive Bays: Optional drives for CDs, DVDs, etc.
- Hard Drive (HDD): Data stored on a hard drive is retained even if the computer loses power. This is an older type of storage that is falling out of favor because it is slower and less reliable than solid state hard drives.
- Solid State Hard Drive (SSD): Data stored on SSDs are retained even if the computer loses power. This is the current standard for computer storage. It is fast, reliable, and contains no moving parts. This is where all documents, programs, and even Windows is installed on your computer.
- Motherboard: The motherboard is a circuit board, and it's where all the components plug into. It is what allows the whole computer work.
- Power Supply: Houses the main power supply connections for the computer. Converts power from AC to DC.
- Expansion Slots: Used for many types of additional needs, such as a secondary graphics cards, sound cards, networking etc.
- GPU (Video Card): This provides video output to your monitor from the computer. It also provides additional horsepower for the computer in terms of dedicated graphics processing and specialized workloads like AutoCAD and Photoshop.