Computer Components

Here, we’re going to look at some of the different components that make up the inside of a typical desktop PC.

Power Supply


The Power Supply Unit (or PSU) is used to supply power to the motherboard, optical and hard drives, and any other hardware that requires it inside of the PC.


Case Cooling Fan


The Case Cooling Fan is used to extract hot air from the computer case (sometimes referred to as the ‘tower’).


CPU Heat Sink and Cooling Fan

1200px-AMD_heatsink_and_fan The CPU Heat Sink and Cooling Fan differs from the Case Cooling Fan – this is used to keep the CPU (see below) at a steady temperature, especially because the CPU generates a lot of heat. The heat sink is a metal object with lots of metal ‘walls’ rising up to the fan. The heat generated by the CPU (underneath the heat sink) is absorbed by the metal and then rises up the metal ‘walls’ towards the fan, which is then used to extract this heat and keep the CPU cool.



The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is hidden underneath the heatsink to keep it cool. This is the most important component inside the computer and it does all of the processing. You may hear the CPU being referred to as the ‘brain’ of the computer since it does all the processing (like ‘thinking’!).


Graphics Gard


The Graphics Card is used to help process video and image graphics. This is covered in more detail in CPU/System Performance.



Optical Drive

laptop-cd-drive.jpgAn Optical Drive is used for reading and writing data to and from optical discs.



RAM Sticks

main-qimg-1af5c002cdf388038da2f99ba950ba08.pngRAM Sticks (Random Access Memory) is used as computer memory. This is covered in more detail in Memory.



Hard Disk Drive

1200px-Laptop-hard-drive-exposedA Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is used as computer storage. This is covered in more detail in Storage.





0002361_imba-9454g-industrial-atx-motherboard.jpeg The motherboard is used as the main circuit board in a computer and all of the hardware components (above) are connected to this board.