Inside a computer

Have you ever before looked inside a computer case, or seen pictures of the inside of one? The little parts may look complicated, yet the within of a computer instance isn't really all the mysterious. This lesson will aid you understand some of the simple terminology and also understand a bit much more about what goes on within a computer.

You are watching: The main circuits on the system board that carry data are called the _________.

Watch the video clip below to learn around what's inside a desktop computer computer.


The motherboard is the computer's main circuit board. It's a thin plate that holds the CPU, memory, connectors for the hard drive and optical drives, expansion cards to manage the video and audio, and also connections to your computer's port (such together USB ports). The motherboard connects straight or indirectly to every part of the computer.


The main processing unit (CPU), additionally called a processor, is situated inside the computer case ~ above the motherboard. That is sometimes referred to as the brain of the computer, and also its job is to carry out commands. At any time you press a key, click the mouse, or start an application, you're sending instructions to the CPU.

The CPU is typically a two-inch ceramic square v a silicon chip located inside. The chip is usually about the size of a thumbnail. The CPU fits into the motherboard's CPU socket, which is spanned by the heat sink, an item that absorbs warmth from the CPU.

A processor's speed is measure in megahertz (MHz), or millions of instructions per second; and also gigahertz (GHz), or billions the instructions every second. A much faster processor can execute instructions much more quickly. However, the actual speed of the computer depends top top the speed of countless different components—not just the processor.

RAM (random accessibility memory)

RAM is her system's short-term memory. Whenever your computer performs calculations, the temporarily stores the data in the RAM until it is needed.

This short-term memory disappears as soon as the computer system is rotate off. If you're working on a document, spreadsheet, or other kind of file, you'll should save it to avoid shedding it. Once you save a file, the data is created to the hard drive, i m sorry acts together long-term storage.

RAM is measure in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). The more RAM girlfriend have, the an ext things your computer can execute at the exact same time. If you don't have sufficient RAM, friend may an alert that your computer system is sluggish when you have several programs open. Due to the fact that of this, plenty of people include extra RAM come their computers to boost performance.

Hard drive

The hard drive is wherein your software, documents, and also other files are stored. The hard drive is long-term storage, which means the data is still saved even if you revolve the computer system off or unplug it.

When you operation a program or open up a file, the computer copies several of the data native the hard drive top top the RAM. Once you save a file, the data is copied back to the hard drive. The quicker the difficult drive, the faster your computer system can start up and also load programs.

Power supply unit

The power supply unit in a computer converts the power native the wall outlet come the type of power needed by the computer. It sends power through cables to the motherboard and also other components.

If you decision to open the computer system case and take a look, make sure to unplug the computer first. Before touching the within of the computer, you should touch a grounded metal object—or a metal part of the computer system casing—to discharge any kind of static buildup. Static electrical power can it is in transmitted v the computer circuits, which have the right to seriously damage your machine.

Expansion cards

Most computers have expansion slots top top the motherboard that allow you to add various varieties of expansion cards. These room sometimes dubbed PCI (peripheral ingredient interconnect) cards. You might never need to include any PCI cards because most motherboards have built-in video, sound, network, and other capabilities.

However, if you want to an increase the power of your computer system or update the ability of an older computer, you deserve to always include one or more cards. Below are several of the many common species of expansion cards.

Video card

The video card is responsible because that what friend see ~ above the monitor. Most computer systems have a GPU (graphics handling unit) constructed into the motherboard rather of having actually a separate video card. If you prefer playing graphics-intensive games, girlfriend can add a faster video clip card to among the expansion slots come get far better performance.

Sound card

The sound card—also called an audio card—is responsible because that what friend hear in the speakers or headphones. Most motherboards have incorporated sound, however you deserve to upgrade to a specialized sound map for higher-quality sound.

Network card

The network card enables your computer to connect over a network and accessibility the Internet. It have the right to either connect with an Ethernet cable or through a wireless connection (often dubbed Wi-Fi). Many motherboards have built-in network connections, and a network card can also be added to an growth slot.

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Bluetooth card (or adapter)

Bluetooth is a technology for wireless interaction over quick distances. It's often used in computer systems to communicate with wireless keyboards, mice, and printers. It's commonly constructed into the motherboard or contained in a wireless network card. For computers that don't have Bluetooth, you can purchase a USB adapter, often referred to as a dongle.