Computer Basics

A computer’s case provides a frame and protective skin for the computer components. It is also called the closure or system unit.
The central processing unit (CPU), or microprocessor, performs the calculations for the computer. It generates heat, and thus requires a fan and heatsink. The heatsink is made of copper or aluminum served to draw heat from the processor. CPUs have a make and model and are usually made by AMD or Intel Intel uses a land grid array(LGA), while AMD uses a pin grid array(PGA). CPUs are designed to fit into a socket.
RAM, or random access memory, stores the data in instructions being used for the CPU. A piece of RAM is referred to as a stack, and the average PC has 1 GB to 4 GB of RAM. A common stick of RAM is called a dual inline memory module (DIMM). A PC will only take one type of DIMM.
The motherboard is the backbone of the computer. It contains the sockets that except the various PC components. CPUs and RAM plug directly into the motherboard, and the motherboard provides the onboard connectors for mice, printers, joysticks, a keyboards.
The power supply provides electrical power to the computer, converting standard power to power the PC can use. The power supply has its own fan.
A floppy drive enables the computer to access removable floppy disks.
The hard drive stores the programs and data not being used by the CPU. PCs can accept multiple hard drives. Older model hard drives use Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment(PATA) with a wide ribbon cables similar to the one used by floppy drives. Newer models use Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) with a narrow table. Most motherboards have both types of connectors.
Optical media also use a PATA or SATA connector. Optical media drives include CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray.


Programming is the commands that provide a computer with its instructions. Programming comes as applications and is operating systems. Operating systems provide the framework to run the application programs. Programs are also referred to as software
computers function in four stages: input, processing, output, and storage. Input is the process in which to provide the computer with information, be that by keyboard, gander, microphone, or other input device. Information entered is then processed internally by the computer. The processed information is then output, were displayed, by the computer. This can be done via monitor, printer, speakers, or other output device. Information included in the input and output can also be stored on the hard drive, floppy, DVD, or other storage media.
The system unit is the main important part of the computer. The system unit is where the processing takes place the pieces that connect to the system unit, such as the monitor, keyboard, and others are known as peripherals. Referrals are attached to the computer via connectors.
Mini-DIN connectors are used for older keyboards and mice. USB connectors are more general-purpose and come in three varieties: A, B, and mini-B. Computers only use A ports, as B and mini-B are for peripheral devices. USB devices are hot-swappable, meaning they can be inserted and removed while the devices are running. FireWire connectors are also called IEEE 1394 and consist of a special six wire or nine wire connector. FireWire is hot-swappable. DB connectors have a slight D shape to them. The male end consists of a group of pens and must connect to matching socket. The most common is a 25 pin connector. Older printers used DB 25 connector called a parallel port. RJ 11 connectors connect the modem to a telephone line, and RJ-45 connectors are used for network connectors. 1/8″ connectors called mini audio connectors are used for speakers and microphones.
Various devices use different connectors. Keyboards use USB or many been connectors. Monitors use an older 15 pin DB video electronics standards association connector (VESA), or unique digital video interface (DVI) connector. VESA blue, DVI are white.
The newest video connector is the hi-definition multimedia interface (HDMI).
Sound uses miniature audio jacks, and most computers have at least two, microphone and speakers. A newer connection is the Sony/Philips Digital interface format (S/PDIF).  One S/PDIF can replace all the mini-audio connectors.
Networks use RJ-45.
A mouse uses a USB port or a dedicated mini DIN connector.
The modem has one or two RJ 11 connectors.
Printers use parallel ports exclusively for years but now many come with USB, FireWire, ethernet, and wi-fi connectors.
eSATA connections are for external hard drives and optical media.

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