Name and Describe the Purpose of All the Internal and External Hardware of a Modern PC.

Essay by tomarmHigh School, 11th gradeB+, October 2009

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Internal HardwareMotherboardMotherboards are mainly produced for IMB compatible computers. This means that it would not work or would not work well in a computer running Mac. Motherboards are available separately to a computer as well as installed. The motherboard has many parts that attach to it such as a graphics card, CPU and RAM.

How many expansion slots the motherboard has depends on how good or how much you payed for the hardware.

What is it: A motherboard is the underlying circuit board of a computer, also known as the CPB central printed circuit board.

What is its purpose: The motherboard is the main printed circuit board and contains the buses, or electrical pathways, found in a computer.

How is it used in a computer: The motherboard is the electronic highways for the electronic currents to obtain from a module to another module.

Why it is necessary: The computer needs a motherboard to relay all the information that needs to be passed from the peripheral devices of a computer connect to it.

CPULike other parts with out the CPU the computer would not function. A CPU can also be purchased separately or installed. Externally a CPU has 3 parts, the heat sink, the fan and the processer. Internally the CPU also has 3 parts, the A.L.U. also known as the Arithmetic and Logic Unit which performs all the calculations needed to run the computer. It also has the Control Unit, which looks after the flow of data round the computer by sending out control signals. There is also the memory which is used to store data.

What is it: The CPU also known as the central processing unit, is the brains behind the computer. This means that it processes the information need to run the computer and also the programs that run the computer.

What is its purpose: The CPU looks after all the information passing through a computer.

How is it used in a computer: It is used to look after the computer, making sure that the right information is being passed to the right places.

Why it is necessary: With out it the computer would not function at all. It runs the computer and makes sure that the computer is getting the right information to work properly.

RAMWhat is it: RAM or Random Access Memory is the primary storage in a computer. It is also known as virtual memory. It also has an effect on how fast the computer is, if a computer has lots of memory then the computer can process more things at the same time without slowing down.

What is its purpose: A computer needs RAM to store information that has not been saved to a secondary storage device. This memory is wiped clean every time the computer is turned off or rebooted.

How is it used in a computer: The RAM is attached to the motherboard, it is used to store information that the computer might need later. When using programs that stresses the system it is useful to have more RAM because the computer can process everything a little quicker.

Why it is necessary: It is needed so that computer collects on information when it is needed, for example the copy and paste option. When information is copied it is sent in to the primary storage so that when it is needed again it can be accessed (this also applies for the cut option as well).

ROMWhat is it: ROM or read-only memory is a type of storage in electrical devices and on computers, read-only memory meaning that the information cannot be altered or edited in any way.

What is its purpose: ROM is used to store boot-time instructions for a computer or portable device. Reading the boot track data for a device that includes magnetic media is one use for ROM. It can also hold simple hardware diagnostics.

How is it used in a computer: This is useful in a computer as it is used to make sure that firmware cannot be taken off a computer.

Why it is necessary: It is not really necessary as it is useful. Read-only memory is also used in some types of CDs (CD-ROM meaning a CD that can only be used once), but the technology has been updated with CD-RW meaning the CD can be used over and over (re-writable).

Power SupplyWhat is it: The power supply is a box that sits in a corner inside the computer case. It has its own fan attached inside the box so that it does not over heat.

What is its purpose: It supplies power to the computer and other electrical devices inside the computer. Such as the CR drive and the hard disk drive.

How is it used in a computer: Everything inside the computer that needs power to work plugs into the power supply by small coloured cables. The electricity comes from the wall and into the power supply; the power supply transforms the power to the right voltage for the devices before sending it thought to the rest of the computer.

Why it is necessary: It is needed so that the computer can turn on and all the devices are getting electricity to work properly.

Hard Disk DriveWhat is it: The hard disk drive also known as a hard drive is a secondary storage device. It stores saved data, such as programs files, and personal information such as pictures, videos and music.

What is its purpose: The Hard disk driveHow is it used in a computer: The hard drive is located inside the computer case, it gets its power from the power supply and is used to hold information and data that the user might need. It also holdsWhy it is necessary: The main hard drive in a computer is necessary as it holds most if not all of the data for the computer to start up and run.

CD/DVDCDs (Compact Disc) and DVDs (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) they run on the media type is an optical disc. They have to different formats +R and –R. –R means that it is a recordable format optical disc. Where +R means that is a write-once optical disc.

What is it: A CD is a circular disk that holds information, a DVD is a so a circular disk but it can hold much more information than a CD, as it is newer technology.

What is its purpose: CD and DVD can be used to transport or store data, multimedia or other data. Such as movies, pictures, music, games or saved work.

How is it used in a computer: CDs and DVDs are put into a CD or DVD drive in a computer, the drive spins the disk and reads it with a laser relaying the information on the computer.

Why it is necessary: They can be useful to get items from one computer to another. Also producers use CDs and DVDs when selling software, as it is a simple and cheap way for the information to be passed.

Video Graphics CardWhat is it: The video graphics card also known as a video card or graphics card is used for playing media such as movies and also playing games. The card can be integrated in to the motherboard meaning that there is not a separate card, it is a part of the motherboard. Or it can be a spate card connected to the motherboard through an expansion slot.

What is its purpose: The video card is needed if the user intends to use the computer for games or graphic designers and 3D animators, who require best possible displays as well as faster rendering.

How is it used in a computer: The card interacts with the RAM and CPU, so that the quality of the media is increased. For example if a user typed to play a demanding game on an integrated graphics card if the computer could even open the game the computer would make the quality of the detail to a minimum leaving everything pixelated.

Why it is necessary: An integrated graphics card would be suitable for most users, but an expiation card would be necessary for game users.

External HardwareMonitorWhen monitors are measures, so if a monitor is said to be 19” (inch) it means from corner to corner diagonally across the screen.

What is it: A visual display unit most commonly known as a monitor is a device that displays the output of an electrical device such as a computerWhat is its purpose: The monitor is designed to work with the computer displaying the output of the device. This helps the user to use the computer to full potential.

How is it used in a computer: The monitor plugs into the video graphics card with a VGA cable (video graphics array) or a DVI cable (digital visual interface). The most common is the VGA as DVI is new and older computer are not compatible with the different cable.

Why it is necessary: A monitor is necessary for the user to know what is happening with the computer. Although the computer would still function without the monitor the user would not be able to use it properly.

Disc DriveThe disc drive is optical media e.g. CD or DVD which is different to the disk drive as it is magnetic media e.g. floppy disk or hard driveWhat is it: The disc drive reads and writes CDs and DVDs. On the surface of a disc there are little bumps, as the disc spins the reader laser has to move accordingly to the bumps and the information is transferred to the computer displacing it on the monitor.

What is its purpose: The disc drive is useful as if allows the information to be shown on the computer.

How is it used in a computer: the disc drive is inside the computer with an interface on the outside, when the eject button is pushed the draw comes out ready for the user to place an optical device on it. When the button is pushed again the draw retracts ready for the laser to read it.

Why it is necessary: The drive is needed to read and write information from the disc. Without he drive the computer would have to way of communicating with the disc.

USB and PortsWhat is it: A serial port is a line through that information is transferred in or out one bit at a time (contrast parallel port). A parallel port is a type of line found on computers used for connecting different devices. It is also known as a Centronics port. USB (universal serial bus) ports are newer technology replacing many serial and parallel port devices. Whilst USB is faster at transferring information it is also designed with ‘plug and play’ meaning that the computer does not need to reboot if a USB mouse for example, is connected for the mouse to work where as ps2 mouse would require a reboot before the mouse can be used.

What is its purpose: USB being new technology means that devices being purchased will have UBS, older devices such as printers, mice and dial-up modems.

How is it used in a computer: The devices are attached to the computer through series, parallel or USB ports depending on what type of cable it is. There are so many different ports because as better technology came out more devices that were compatible with the port also came out, there is also fire wire which is better than USB as it has a faster data transfer time.

Why it is necessary: The ports were needed to connect different peripheral and external devices to the computer, this is that more information can be transferred to computer more easily.

Peripheral DevicesPrintersThere are many different types of printers available on the market but the two most common are laser and bubble ink printers. Ink jets are cheaper initially and many have great colours. Laser printers cost more originally but the toner lasts longer and they generally print much faster after initial warm-up.

What is it: Printers are intended for short print jobs so that it requires virtually no setup time to complete a hard copy of a given document, but printers are usually slow devices. For a printer 30 pages per minute is regard as fast and many cheaper printers are slower than that.

What is its purpose: A printer is a device that processes hard copies of documents stored on as an electronic form.

How is it used in a computer: Older printers used to connect to a computer using series or parallel port, but now most printer connect through USB and sometimes firewire.

Why it is necessary: Printers are useful to have in an office, at work or at home. They can be used to print pictures, documents, homework and many other things that people use every day.

ScannerWhat is it: A scanner is a device that makes copies of images, documents and other things out side of a computer.

What is its purpose: The scanner takes a copy of the item and saves a soft copy of in on the computer, it is useful to get printed text and turns it back into a soft copy. This is useful if printed information needs to be sent by email, as the user does not have to type out the hole page they can just make a copy of it using a scanner.

How is it used in a computer: The device plugs into the computer, usually by USB, and takes an image of the information under the lid. The image is sent to the computer for the user to see.

Why it is necessary: This device is not necessary but can be useful to have handy at work or at home, to preserving and duplicating information. Scanners can also be useful when a part of printers or fax machines. This means that the computer can be by past. If the user wanted to send the information rather than make a copy of it.

Tape CartridgesWhat is it: A Tape Cartridge is information stored on a magnetic tape for example a video tape, cassette tape and floppy disks are examples of tape cartridges. This technology is out dated but some people still use them as they had a better quality and most times last longer than the technology that replaced them.

What is its purpose: Tape Cartridges hold information, to transport or to store for personal use. Also some types of tape cartridges have very small and limited memory they can still be useful for storing such things as word documents.

How is it used in a computer: A tape cartridge needs a tape drive to read it, also known as a streamer. Tape cartridge such as a floppy disk needs a floppy disk drive to read the information. The drive attaches inside the computer and has an external interface where there disk is inserted. Other tape cartridges such as video tapes (VHS) need a video recorder to read them, they use a television instead of a computer to see what’s on the tape.

Why it is necessary: Like most other peripheral devises it is not necessary but useful to have to transport data and information to one place to another.

Multimedia KitsWhat is it: Multimedia devices can be anything like mp3 players, portable DVD players or a computer with speakers, really anything that entertains people.

What is its purpose: They can be used to occupy time on the way to work or on the way to school, or even on the way overseas when travelling.

How is it used in a computer: A multimedia kit can be used to play movies, games, music and pictures on a computer, there are multimedia programs available so that this can be done at ease.

Why it is necessary: It is not necessary but can be fun to use. Speakers can be considers part on multimedia, these can be used to play music and sounds on for the user to listen to.

Mobile PhonesWhat is it: A mobile phone is a portable way of getting in contact with people. Whether it is only in emergencies or just to talk to people, either way mobile phones are useful to have on hand.

What is its purpose: Newer modes of phones can be used for more than texting and calling people. They can also be used as music players, picture and movie viewers.

How is it used with a computer: Mobile phones can be synced with computers using cables of Bluetooth so that data can be transferred from both devices.

Why it is necessary: It is not necessary but is a handy thing to have in your pocket, because it can so store information suck as other phone numbers and addresses.

PalmtopWhat is it: A palmtop is a handheld computer (H/PC) smaller than a normal laptop. The first palmtop was made in 1991 by Hewlett Packard.

What is its purpose: They can be useful to people who need a computer to do basic things and need to be portable, such as a sales man that moves around a lot.

How is it used as a computer: They are used like a normal laptop although much smaller, they even have their own operating systems, Microsoft windows CE.

Why it is necessary: It can be useful to have to calculate values and store small amounts of data on.

PDAWhat is it: A PDA is a personal digital assistant device it is a handheld computer, it is another form of a palmtop. I can be used to check emails, call and text people, surf the net, watch movies, listen to music, view pictures as well as store information.

What is its purpose: A PDA replaces a phone, it is used in the same way but has many more features such as able to use the internet and check emails.

How is it used with a computer: Like a mobile phone a PDA can be synced with a computer by Bluetooth or a cable, so transfer information and data across from one to the other.

Why it is necessary: Like a phone it should be kept at hand at all times, it can be used for many different things such as storing phone numbers to street addresses throughout the day.

Bluetooth DevicesWhat is it: Bluetooth is a form of wireless data transfer from on device such as a mobile phone to another, creating a personal area network or PAN for a short space of time (until the information has reached its destination).

What is its purpose: Bluetooth is useful as there is no need for cables, it easily to transfer data such as songs and pictures form phone to phone when out and about.

How is it used in a computer: It can also be used for internet, wirelessly connect to a modem with Bluetooth. This can be done from a computer, phone or PDA.

Why it is necessary: It is a useful thing to have on a phone on a computer. There are also USB Bluetooth devices available for computer if there is not Bluetooth built in. This is useful as it means that users that want Bluetooth do not have to alter the inside of their computer to have access to it.

Fire wireWhat is it: Firewire is form of transferring date, like USD except firewire is a lot faster, used by personal uses to copy big files across from once place to another. It transfers at ‘real-time’ compared to mid-speeds.

What is its purpose: Firewire is designed for file transfer. It can also be used for peripherals devices such as a printer, this allowed the data to be sent from the computer to printer. The printer has a faster reaction time as it receives the data quicker.

How is it used in a computer: Firewire is connected to the computer with a firewire cable, it looks similar to a USB cable but with one end rounded. It can be used with portable hard drives other devices for data transfer.

Why it is necessary: It is useful to use because often large files take hours to copy across. Firewire uses a "Peer-to-Peer" architecture to transfer data, meaning that it is much quicker than USB which uses a "Master-Slave" architecture.,1/Memory,3/,62.html,review-31662.html"Inclusivity and software design considerations"by "Wilson Fergerson"