Standard PC Components and What They Do

A PC comprises of hardware and software. Everything that you can see and touch in the PC is called the hardware. The computer consists of large number of components. Each of these components are essential for the functioning of the PC. The input devices, output devices and the storage and processing devices are the different components of the PC.

System Case

CPU

System case is a box that is made up of plastic and metal. It provides a cover for all the main components of the computer. It plays an important role in the functioning of a computer. The System case performs various roles in the following areas:

Protection – Prevents dust and foreign particles from entering into the internal components of the computer. PC produces a lot of radio-frequency (RF) interference as it works. The system case protects electronic devices located near the computer from the RF interference generated in the PC. The system case also protects the internal wires and cables. It shields the user from electric shocks. An inferior quality system case would cause a great deal of damage to the PC as well as to the electronic devices near it.

Well-defined Structure – Organizes all the components of the PC in a structured manner. The system case contains the motherboard, which is the most crucial part of the PC. All other internal components are mounted either on the motherboard or on the system case itself. Therefore, the system case plays an important role in structuring the parts of a PC. A system case must have enough space to contain all these parts. Proper placement of the internal components is important for their efficient functioning. An overcrowded system case would effectively reduce the lifetime of the PC components.

Expandability – Allows adding additional devices such as a hard disk, CD-ROM, and floppy disk drive to the system case. A system case that is small would not offer many options for expansion.

Cooling – Protects internal components of a PC from adverse effects of heat. The different components of the PC produce heat due to their working. This heat is highly damaging to the internal parts of a PC. The system case must be large enough to provide air circulation in the interior. The power supply fan in the system case keeps the power supply cool. A system that has poor cooling will fail suddenly, without showing any signs of trouble.

Status Display – Indicates the functional status of the PC through lights. The lights on the system case are called LEDs. Some of the LEDs such as Power LED are built into the case while others are the parts of the devices mounted on the case. The Power LED indicates whether the PC is switched on or off. The CD-ROM LED indicates whether the CD-ROM drive is in use or not.

Power Supply

The Power supply of the PC converts the standard household power supply to a form that is usable by the PC. The power supply supplies power to every component of the PC. The power supply is visible from the back of the PC. It is recognizable by the power supply fan and the power cord connector. The power supply is situated in a corner of the system case. A case and a metal cover on the top of the case cover the power supply. The power supply case protects the internal parts of the power supply. It also isolates the parts of the power supply from the rest of the PC. It protects the PC user from electric shocks. The power supply has various connectors that connect to the motherboard and disk drives.

The various uses of the power supply are:

System Cooling Controls the power supply fan, which performs the function of cooling of the system components.

Performance Stability– Is crucial to the proper functioning of the PC. An inefficient power supply can lead to problems like system bugs and hard drive problems, which do not even appear related to the power supply.

Reduction of Power Consumption – Plays an important role in the conservation of electricity. Expandability Options – Is an important factor in the upgrade of a PC. The power supply should be efficient enough to support additions to the system. If the power supply does not have the required capacity, it will have to be replaced.

Motherboard

motherboard

Motherboard is the main circuit board of a PC. It contains the interfaces for the microprocessor, BIOS (Basic Input Output System), memory, and storage devices. The serial and parallel ports, and all the controllers needed to control the peripheral devices such as the monitor, keyboard, and mouse are affixed on the motherboard. It also contains expansion slots for fixing additional boards to the motherboard. The collection of chips and sockets that reside on the motherboard are known as its chipset.

I/O Ports and Cables

The I/O Ports and cables connect the input and output devices to the PC. Input and output are the basic functions of a PC. The I/O ports and cables provide the means to establish connections to external devices. The different types of I/O ports are:

Serial – Connects to devices such as modems, printers, and digital cameras. Serial ports are the oldest kinds of ports in use. They transmit data in a serial fashion. Serial ports enable data flow in both directions.

Parallel – Connects to scanners, CD burners, hard drives and printers. Parallel ports are much faster than serial ports. These ports transmit data in a parallel manner. Parallel ports are wide in size to enable parallel transmission of data.

USB –Connects to a wide range of devices like mouse, keyboard, modems and speakers. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. USB is fast becoming a popular replacement for serial and parallel ports. This is because USB is highly advanced, fast, and simple to use.

The I/O cables connect the PC to different I/O devices. The I/O cables are very important to the connections formed by a PC. There are different types of cables available, such as Shielded Twisted Pair (STP), Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP), and fiber optic cables.

Storage Devices

Storage Devices store data in the computers. There are several types of storage devices for computers. These storage devices offer a wide range of storage options. Floppy devices store 1.44MB of data. Advanced storage devices store several gigabytes of data. The different types of storage devices are:

Magnetic devices – Are the most common form of data storage. Magnetic devices like floppy devices, zip drives, and portable drives are highly popular forms of data storage devices.

Optical devices– Provide large amount of data storage. The Compact Disk (CD) is the most common form of optical storage device. Optical devices are very compact and inexpensive. The PC reads data from optical devices with the help of a laser beam.

Solid-State Storage devices– Use flash memory for storing data. Digital cameras and memory cards for video games are types of solid-state storage devices. These devices are very light and small in size. The speed of operation is high in solid-state storage devices.

Digital Audio Tape – Digital Audio Tapes (DAT) provides a digital means of recording music. Digital music contains a huge volume of data. DAT uses a rotary head that rotates diagonally across the head of the tape. The rotary head records the music. As a result, we also call DAT by the name R-DAT, where R stands for Rotary.DAT provides superior quality and high speed of music recording. The DAT provides about 180 minutes of music on a single tape. DAT does not use data compression while recording.

Display System 

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