Tag Archives: CPU

Computer 101 AKA What’s IN the computer?

It's IN the computer?!

Today, I thought I would go through the different parts of you computer that make it run and give a little information of how it runs.

CPU - Central Processing Unit

Let’s start with the powerhouse of the computer, the CPU, Central processing unit.  The CPU is the main element in executing programs.  It’s the boss, and it tells everyone what to do.  They are about the size of a post it and a quarter inch thick.  On top of them usually sits a fan to cool the CPU because the CPU generates large amounts of heat, it’s tough bossing around an entire computer system.


The CPU sits on the Motherboard, which is what connects everything together.  They come in various sizes to fit different cases and laptops.  This is where all of your usb devices plug into.

Memory also known as RAM isn’t quite what one would think given its name, it’s easiest to think of it as your short term memory, it stores the information you want to use right now. This leaves the CPU free so it can run faster, instead of always having to get information off of your hard drive (which is a lot slower than the memory and has further to travel to get to your CPU.)  This plugs into the motherboard and is usually seated close to the CPU.

Another device that is connected to the motherboard is the Video Card, which creates the images that you see on your monitor and is where you plug into your monitor.  Sometimes these come as part of the motherboard.


Video Card

Finally there is the power supply and Hard Drive.  The power supply is the unit that provides power to all the devices running in your computer, this is the real power. (Cue Tim Allen laugh)

Then there is the Hard Drive, this is your long term memory, it is where everything is stored; iTunes, your favorite video, even that homework you worked on last semester and will never look at again.  A hard drives come in two main sizes, the first is about the size of a small empty wallet, like most of us have in college, and the other is the size of small book.


Hard Drive

For More Information on the components we’ve discussed above head over to good ole Wikipedia.
|| Motherboard || Memory || Video Card || Power Supply || Hard Drive

By –

Tyrel Ebele, Senior at UW - Computer Science, From Montpelier, ND