Parts Of A Computer

By Connor Mccarthy

Central Processing Unit:

The main “brain” of a computer, the Central Processing Unit or CPU is an electronic circuit that can execute computer programs. The performance of the CPU is usually measured in clock speed. This is the measurement of how fast the CPU can perform instructions. It is typically measured in Gigahertz.

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Also called a mainboard or system board, it is the main circuit board of your computer, it connects all the parts of the computer together. It also has the CPU, RAM and fan connected and has expansion slots for sound and graphics cards etc.


Short for Random Access Memory, ram is short term memory. Whenever you open a program, it is loaded onto the ram from the hard drive. This makes it quicker to access so the more ram you have, the faster your computer will usually run. RAM is usually measured in gigabytes.

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Power Supply:

A power supply unit is used to convert the 220-230 volt alternating current from a wall socket into a steady, low voltage direct current used by a computer. Power supply units are rated by the number of watts it generates.

System Fan:

A system fan is a fan that is used to cool the computer. The size of the fan depends on the size of the CPU. Some large computers, usually custom built, rely on water cooling, not a fan.

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Heat Sink:

A heat sink is a piece of shaped metal (usually made of copper or zinc) that is attached to the CPU with a thermal material that attracts the heat to the heat sink, wich disperses the heat and spreads it over a large area. Some heat sinks also have fans attached. Found on all CPUs, heat sinks are also sometimes found on high performance video cards.

Hard Drive

Also know as a Hard Disk Drive or HDD the Hard Drive is the storage part of your computer. This drive contains several platters with sensitive magnetic material. When something is put on the hard drive the direction of the magnetic material will change.

Optical Dirve

This is the CD, DVD or Blu-Ray drive.

Graphics Card/GPU

Short for Graphics Processing Unit, the GPU is similar to the CPU, however it only performs graphics functions like lighting, object transitions and 3D motion. Although a separate card comes standard with most desktops, some computers have integrated cards. GPUs make your CPU perform less functions.

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