In simple words, a computer is a PC is a computer system composed of several electronic components that work together to provide output data processed. They shape what is known as hardware, and are responsible for processing all instructions provided by the software which is loaded or run on the computer.
In this article we will know a little more about the hardware and the functions performed by each of these components within the PC.
Cabinet or case
The cabinet or case it is where they accommodate all the electronics components. Normally, it is a rectangular box. Inside this box are many electronic components that process information. The most important of these components is the CPU (central processing unit), or microprocessor, which acts as the “brain” of the computer.
Another important component is the RAM (random access memory), which temporarily stores information used by the CPU while the computer is being used. Information stored in RAM is erased when the computer is turned off.
Virtually all the other components of a computer are connected through cables to the cabinet, to the power supply or at the motherboard. The cables are connected to the inputs (ports) specific, normally found in the front of the cabinet. The hardware that is not part of the system unit, i.e. that is not found within the cabinet is sometimes called external or peripheral device.
The computer has one or more storage drives (devices that store information on a metal, electronic memory or plastic disk). In them the information and documents are stored while the computer is off.
The computer stores the information and documents that we made in various media, including mechanical and magnetic and SSD hard drives. Because hard disks can hold large amounts of information, they usually serve as support for primary storage of the computer, storing almost all programs and files. The hard disk drive is normally located inside the system unit.
CD, DVD and Blu-Ray
Virtually all modern computers are equipped with a CD or DVD, usually located on the front of the system drive. The optical drives use lasers to read and write data to a CD, DVD or Blu-Ray. If you have a recordable disc drive, you can save copies of your files in the blank optical media. You can also use the CD drive to play music CDs on your computer.
DVD readers, besides this type of format, can read CDs, if you have a DVD drive, you can watch movies on your computer. Currently all DVD drives can write data on blank DVDs.
If you have a CD or DVD drive, periodically make a back up of your important files and documents in CDs or DVDs. Thus, if the hard drive fails or breaks, you will not lose data.
As for Blu-Ray drives, even if have spread, the truth is that not in the way expected. In this may have to do the mass media cheaper and easier to use as pendrives and memory cards storage. However, for these devices it is still elusive storage capacity of a Blu-Ray, approximately 50 Gb.
Mouse (pointer device)
The mouse is a small device used to point and select items. Although the mouses have various shapes, the typical device does look that resembles a mouse, hence its name. It’s small, rounded and connected to the PC through a cable. Note that some newer mouses are wireless.
Generally, a mouse has two buttons: a primary button (usually the left button) and a secondary button in the right side. Many mouses also have a wheel between the two buttons, allowing an easy displacement between the different elements of the screen.
When you move the mouse with the hand, the pointer moves on the screen in the same direction. (The appearance of the pointer can change depending on the position and the item you is marking in the monitor). When you want to select an item, you just have to point to the item and “click” (action of press and release) the primary button. Point and click with the mouse is the main way to interact with the computer.
The keyboard of an computer is used mainly for typing text into on word processor, like a Microsoft Word. Just as that the keyboard of a typewriter, the computer keyboard has keys with letters and numbers, but it also has special keys:
- The function keys, located on the top line, perform different functions depending on the mode being used.
- The numeric keypad, located on the right side of most keyboards, allows you to enter numbers quickly. Note that some keyboard not have numeric pad.
- The navigation keys, such as the arrow keys, allow you to change the position in a document or web page.
- A small little known trick used by many users is that we can use the keyboard to perform many of the functions that we perform using mouse.
The monitor of a computer displays information in visual form, through text and graphics. The portion of the monitor that displays the information is called the screen. As a television screen, a computer screen can show still or moving images.
There are three basic types of monitors: CRT (Cathode Ray Tube, almost obsolete), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and LED, this type much more modern. All the types produce sharp images, but the LCD and LED monitors have the advantage of being much thinner and lighter.
A printer are able to transfer data, i.e. documents and photos, from computer to paper. You do not need a printer to use the computer, but if you have one of them, you can print emails, cards, invitations, announcements and any other material. Many people also take advantage of the possibility to print photos at home.
There are two main types of printing devices: inkjet printers and laser printers. The inkjet printers are the most commonly used printers. These printers can print in black and white or color and can print high-quality photos, using special photo paper. Laser printers are faster and better support a more intensive use.
Speakers and headphones
Speakers and headphones are used to reproduce the sounds created by computer, whether music or sound system. The speakers can be integrated into the system unit or connected to this through cables.
Currently, one of the most important elements of the computer, since so we could connect to the Internet we need this device one way or the other. A modem is a device that sends and receives information through a telephone line or high-speed cable.
Modems are sometimes were installed into the cabinet, on the motherboard, but not are the fastest. Currently, these devices are no longer used, being replaced by external ADSL or cable modems, which also incorporate router features.