Some of the main parts of a computer are the keyboard, CPU, monitor, power supply, and storage memory. Computers have become an indispensable part of our daily lives due to their high usability. From basic arithmetic operations to high-end algorithms, computers can perform multiple tasks based on the input data and software installed. The basic knowledge about the main parts of the computer is being imparted to school kids so they can learn the advanced concepts easily in the higher grades. There are five basic parts of a computer including the processor, which are assembled for carrying out various logical computing operations.
What is a Computer?
A computer is a machine or an electronic device that stores, retrieves, and manipulates data. It can perform arithmetic operations or logical functions automatically based on the instructions and input data provided by users. Here, input data refers to the information provided by the users. The input data can be numbers or words, and the instructions refer to the codes or programs.
You may say that computers can carry out various logical and arithmetic operations like a human brain. However, a computer is capable of processing a huge amount of data, accurately in a very short time. Computers are used for many purposes, so now, lessons on the main parts of computers are introduced in the curriculum of school-level academics. We use computers to keep various records, send emails, pay bills, watch movies, write notes, play games, shop online, and for numerous other purposes. With the help of the internet, the network linking computers all across the globe, we can access information on any and every subject and issue.
The components of a computer are classified into two categories, namely, hardware and software. The physical parts of a computer are called hardware. The processor, the input and output devices of a computer, for example, the keyboard, printer, mouse, monitor, speakers are part of its hardware. The storage devices also constitute the hardware of a computer. The set of instructions, and the programs installed on a computer constitute its software. The computer software can be classified into two categories, namely, the application software and the operating system. The application software instructs the computer to perform specific tasks based on the input data. The operating system controls the integrated working of the various parts of the computer hardware.
There are several types of computers and each type of computer has a set of unique features. High-end computers called supercomputers are assembled exclusively to perform complex data processing, such as weather forecasting. Supercomputers are quite expensive. On the other hand, desktops are mostly used to perform basic operations at schools, offices, and homes. These are generally referred to as personal computers. A more portable form of a computer system includes laptops and tablets. Based on the configuration, laptops and tablets can perform various tasks. Handheld computers are popularly known as Personal Digital Assistants. Even smaller computing systems are designed to be fitted in robots, smart cars, airplanes, and some home appliances.
What are the 5 Basic Parts of a Computer?
Every computer comprises 5 basic parts, namely, a motherboard, a central processing unit, a graphics processing unit, a random access memory, and a hard disk or solid-state drive. Be it a high-end gaming computer system or be it a basic desktop system for kids, every computer consists of 5 parts. Various enhancements can be added for the better performance of a computer system. All the integrated chips and circuits are installed on the motherboards of computers. It is important to know about the parts of computers for kids so that they can grasp the logic and reason for writing computer programs to carry out various tasks.
The motherboard of a computer is the circuit board on which all the basic and high-end chipsets are installed. All the circuits installed on the motherboard propel the working of a computer. The motherboard is one of the main parts of a computer and is also known as the printed circuit board. It is present in all computer systems, be it general-purpose systems or expandable ones. The main electronic components of a computer such as its central processor, interface connectors, memory controllers are all integrated into the motherboard. The peripheral components, sound cards, hard drives, interface cards, network cards, video cards, and cards for extra USB slots, are attached to the motherboard.
CPU or the Central Processing Unit is among the basic parts of the computer and is often referred to as the brain of the computer. All the data provided to a computer is processed in the Central Processing Unit of the computer. The instructions given to a computer through various computer programs are executed in this processor. The basic controlling, logical, arithmetic and I/O operations are executed in the CPU. There are two components of a basic CPU, namely, the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), and the Control Unit. All the arithmetic and logical operations are carried out in the ALU. The results of the arithmetic operations are stored in the processor. The Control Unit fetches the instructions from the memory and facilitates their execution.
In microprocessors, the processing unit is contained in one integrated circuit chip. In the modern age of multi-core processors, one integrated circuit chip contains multiple CPUs. The multi-core processors enhance the performance of the computer systems. For example, with a multi-core processor, you can perform several tasks simultaneously, without any effect on the processor speed.
The Graphics Processing Unit is used as a co-processor to enhance the performance of the Central Processing Unit in engineering and scientific computing. It offloads some of the time-consuming parts of program codes, to improve the performance of the CPU. The Graphics Processing Unit boosts the CPU performance by providing a parallel processing facility. A GPU may contain hundreds of cores, whereas a CPU contains a maximum of 8 cores. The highly programmable feature of graphics chips led to the invention of the Graphics Processing Unit.
The graphic cards produce high-quality visuals like the ones in 3D images and video games. These graphics cards can render great visual effects when coupled with a high-end monitor. These cards can directly communicate with the display monitors. A graphics card comes with a processing unit, a cooling mechanism, connections to display devices, and a memory.
Random Access Memory or RAM refers to the volatile memory of a computer. It is a very common topic covered in the chapter on the parts of computers for kids. It is referred to as the main memory of the computer. RAM is one of the main parts of a computer and it stores the application programs, operating system, and the data that is currently used. It takes a shorter time to read data from RAM and to write data in it. Therefore, the processor of a computer can access the data stored in the Random Access Memory, in a short time. As stated above, RAM is volatile, that is, all the data stored in it is lost when we turn off the computer. So, every time we restart the computer the operating system along with the other programs is reloaded into RAM from the hard disk drive. Also, RAM can hold less data than a hard disk, so it can be stored in microchips. For example, RAM can hold 8 GB of data whereas a hard disk can hold 10 TB of data.
One of the basic parts of a computer is constituted by its storage components. The solid-state drive and the hard disk drive are the key storage components of a computer. The hard disk drive of a computer system stores data permanently. Therefore, even if you turn off the computer, the data stored in the hard disk drive will be saved. All the important data, software programs, and operating systems are stored in the hard disk drive of a computer. Hard disk drives are secondary storage devices.
Solid-state storage devices can store data continuously on integrated circuit assemblies. The SSD’s or solid-state devices contain semiconductor cells and store data on them. These storage drives run silently. The semiconductor cells can store 1 to 4 bits of data. These storage devices come with lower access times and lower latency. SSD’s facilitate better storage density, more reliability, and high data-transfer rates. Also, the solid-state drives are highly shock-resistant as compared to hard disk drives.
Kids will get an idea of the main parts of the computer as discussed above. However, for a better understanding of the working of these components, it is important to get hands-on learning experience on the parts of the computer for kids.