What are the different parts of a computer?

ME Melanie_hayes60 asked on 31 December 2018, 18:58
4 answers / 191 views / 2 votes

I’m not a computer expert but I’d try to explain my best.

There are lots of component that supports the operation of computer. Basically I’d classify it in two main sections:


  • CPU (Central Processing Unit) which acts as brain of the computer. It does the computing and processing works of the computer; such as calculating your data with formulas in Microsoft Excel worksheet, processing the raw data into a usable one, etc.
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) works as volatile data memory for programs to work. Imagine this: program works in a office workspace and RAM is size of the cubicle. Larger cubicle means program have bigger working space and thus could work faster if it needs to. Who determines which program need larger or smaller cubicle? Kernel does (which is a part of OS). Data stored in RAM won’t survive a power-off.
  • Storage drive, Well… it acts as data storage where your data and program innards reside. If RAM is the office cubicle, then storage unit is the office storage room. Obviously, the larger it is then the more you could store your data. Storage drive usually comes in HDD (Hard Disk Drive) which is a quite dated but still largely used; the other one is SSD (Solid-state Disk) which is newer and sports faster read and write operation. Data stored in storage drive last longer than RAM (if the drive is not faulty, but it will deteriorates as aging kicks in).
  • Optical drive reads (or write) your optical media such as CD, DVD, or BD. Usage trend for this media is declining, so is for the usage of optical drive.
  • GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) process any kind of graphical data. Be it your game, the interface of a program, or the desktop. Some systems have CPU sufficiently process the graphic - or a combo of CPU+GPU, but for more demanding program you’ll need a discrete graphic card.
  • PSU (Power Supply Unit) supply power to components of the computer. Without it working properly, it could impede the performance of whole system and even broke from insufficient and fluctuating power. Higher efficiency and quality PSU means higher quality power output for components.
  • Sound card process audio and route any input audio to proper output.
  • Motherboard is the central of those component above where circuity wonder flows process and data to appropriate component. If it unable to works properly, it could stop whole system to a grinding halt.
  • Input device, such as: mouse, keyboard, touch-pad, scanner, optical drive, microphone, etc. Anything that gives input to the system, usually by user.
  • Output device, such as: monitor, printer, and speaker. Self-explanatory, it outputs whatever data that has processed by the system.
  • Cooling system works as heat ventilation that is generated by system. Common setup is using fans and heat-sink pipes which vents the heat from CPU to fan. Additional cooling, if required, people use hydro-cooling system which use liquid to transfer heat.
  • Computer case, the outer shell that protect system from elements.

  • BIOS is the most inner OS that embedded with motherboard. BIOS sets up the starting sequence and basic working of a system. Crippled BIOS means you will find you can’t start the system before repairing the BIOS or changing the motherboard if it unrepairable.
  • Operating system manages the system resource so user could use the system with its hardware and program installed. The very inner working of OS is called kernel, which bridges software-hardware and allocates which process should be prioritized, ran, or stopped. Corrupted kernel will make the system a mess.
  • Hope this answers your question and sorry for any grammar mistakes or typos. Don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.