A central processing unit (CPU), also referred to as a central processor unit, is the hardware within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The term has been in use in the computer industry at least since the early 1960s. The form, design, and implementation of CPUs have changed over the course of their history, but their fundamental operation remains much the same.

Computer Basics : What Does CPU Stand for?


Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random-access device allows stored data to be accessed directly in any random order. In contrast, other data storage media such as hard disks, CDs, DVDs and magnetic tape, as well as early primary memory types such as drum memory, read and write data only in a predetermined order, consecutively, because of mechanical design limitations. Therefore, the time to access a given data location varies significantly depending on its physical location.


A motherboard (sometimes alternatively known as the mainboard, system board, planar board or logic board, or colloquially, a mobo) is the main printed circuit board (PCB) found in computers and other expandable systems. It holds many of the crucial electronic components of the system, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard contains significant sub-systems such as the processor and other components.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, it became economical to move an increasing number of peripheral functions onto the motherboard. In the late 1980s, personal computer motherboards began to include single ICs (also called Super I/O chips) capable of supporting a set of low-speed peripherals: keyboard, mouse, floppy disk drive, serial ports, and parallel ports. By the late-1990s, many personal computer motherboards supported a full range of audio, video, storage, and networking functions without the need for any expansion cards at all; higher-end systems for 3D gaming and computer graphics typically retained only the graphics card as a separate component.

What is a motherboard?