Ever wondered what was happening inside your PC or Mac? Maybe you think that’s something for tech geeks among us to worry about, but it’s a good idea for you to be at least a bit familiar with the tech that’s such an important part of your life. It’s a bit like knowing where to add the oil for your car. Let’s take a peek.
Motherboard – Main circuit board of the computer, which includes the CPU, USB ports,
and slots for memory and other cards. Basically, it’s what makes the parts of a computer all work together.
Power Supply – Supplies the power for all of the different parts of the computer, including the disk drives and the motherboard itself. It converts power from a wall outlet to the correct voltage for all the computer components.
Hard Disk Drive – (HDD) Internal (or external) drive that is typically where you save all
the information from your computer. The information is stored even when the computer is off. Click here to learn more.
Solid State Drive – (SSD) Serves the same purpose as a hard disk, however, there are no
moving parts. They have a number of advantages over hard disk drives and are becoming more prevalent in newer computers and laptops.
RAM – Random Access Memory, Memory sticks that are installed on the motherboard of the computer. RAM allows for faster opening of programs than reading from a hard drive. RAM is reset whenever your computer is turned off.
Floppy Disk Drive – Rarely seen on newer computers, used disks that saved data and
were used for storage and installation. Floppy disks came in several sizes, including 8”, 5.25” and 3.5”.
Optical Drive – Uses lasers to “see” what is on the drive. These include CD drives, DVD
drive, and Blu-ray drives, and sometimes can both read and write to disks.
CPU – Central Processing Unit, the “brain” of the computer. It controls and processes
everything your computer does.
Video Card – Card inside the computer, connected to the motherboard that controls the
graphics and video of a computer.
Sound card – Card inside the computer, connected to the motherboard that controls the
audio input and output.
Network Card – Sometimes called a NIC (network interface card). Controls the connection to the Internet. A replacement for a modem, these allow the computer to communicate over an Ethernet or wireless connection.
Modem – Modulator/Demodulator. Inside the computer, used for a dial-up connection to the Internet. These are mostly obsolete at this point, but in places where Cable or DSL connections are not available are still in use.
External Drive – A hard drive that is attached to the computer, generally through a USB
port, but not installed inside the case.
Flash Drive – Also called a thumb drive or a jump drive. Uses a USB connection and
allows for portable storage. Really, it is a small version of an external hard drive that is more portable.