computer components

Basic Computer Components For Dummies

Basic computer components for dummies. A computer is a highly sophisticated device, and a single article like this can’t cover and discuss every component there is in a computer. Thus, this article’s sole purpose is to discuss the basic components that make up a computer and their common functions.

Though there are many fancy add-ons for computers nowadays, the basic components are present in every system. If one of these parts is missing, it can’t function the way a regular computer does. There are basically just 4 key components in a computer system, the motherboard, CPU (central processing unit), memory and the hard drive. All these parts are installed in a case and also connected to a monitor, mouse as well as keyboard.


Motherboard or “mobo” for short is the very foundation of a computer. Everything inside the computer is attached to it, from the CPU, memory, hard drive, monitor, mouse, keyboard, add-ons like web-cam and other peripherals such as printers, speakers and scanners. It’s like both the nervous and skeletal system of the human body, as it provides support for every internal component attached to it and passes all information from and to computer parts.


CPU is like the brain of the computer. Almost all mathematical manipulations that make the computer run is done through and in the CPU. Other components may have their own processors, but the results still pass through the CPU.

Computer speed is measured on this component, and though other factors contribute to overall speed of the unit, it’s the CPU’s rating that is usually seen as the most important measure of the unit’s performance.

Modern CPU available in the market today are rated between 2.0 GHz and 3.0 GHz. This measurement signifies the number of calculations the processor make in 1 second. The higher the number, the faster, the better the CPU is.


Random Access Memory or RAM is where the information the computer needs to operate is stored. It’s called Random Access because the computer can get the information in any order, not necessarily on how the data is stored. Generally speaking, the bigger the megabytes of the RAM, the better.

Hard Drive

All the information stored in RAM will be lost if the computer is turned off. This is where the role of the hard drive comes into the picture. The hard drive stores data and information you put on it permanently, or until the hard drive develops a problem or stops working. It holds the operating system of the computer, software programs and files you put into it.


A monitor, keyboard and mouse is all you need to complete the basic computer components. Printers and scanners are very important for office work, while gamers can utilize quality speakers and joystick controls for better gaming experience. None of these other peripherals are necessary to everyone, though.

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