Basic Hardware explained
A computer is made up of many different components and all have a different role to play in order for the computer to work.
The motherboard is the putty that allows the components to connect to each other. Think of the motherboard as a house. You can buy a new sofa for your house and it will fit perfectly, but without the house the sofa would be useless as it would get rained on etc.
When you are building your own computer, the first component to look for should be the motherboard because the type of motherboard you get will depend on what type of hard drive you can get (IDE/SATA), RAM (DDR2/DDR3) etc.
The GPU (Graphics processing unit)
This is what fuels your monitor. Without a graphics card you would not be able to use a monitor with your computer. Old motherboards have integrated graphics with allow a visual display of the computer. If you want to use the latest games, graphics software or editing software then the integrated graphics will not work.
The CPU (central processing unit or Processor)
This component allows process to occur on your computer. The bigger/better (3Ghz) the processor, the more processes it can handle. This device gets very hot and the computer shouldn't be started without the processor having either a heat sink or a fan above it.
The Hard Disk Drive
This is where all of the information is stored. The operating system is stored here and all of your pictures and videos. Hard drives use magnets to retrieve the data that is written on them.
Depending on the hard drive you get you will find that they spin at different speeds and vary in size (500mb, 1TB, 3TB etc.). When you see a specification of a hard disk drive saying that it spins at 7500rpm it means that is the number of times it spins in revolutions per minute. The faster the HDD spins, the faster information is retrieved from it.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is where the CPU can read, write and access data.
All information stored in RAM is lost when the computer is shutdown.
The Power supply
This provides power for the computer. When building a computer, you have to consider the types of components you are using and their power consumption.
The CD/DVD Drive
The CD/DVD drive is usually located at the top of the computer at the front. Here you can put in disks and the computer will read them.
Expansion card slots
PCI stands for "Peripheral Component Interconnect". On a typical motherboard you will find PCI slots along with PCI-E slots where the "E" stands for express. These slots are faster than the normal PCI slots. They are usually for expansion cards that require faster speeds such as network cards or GPU cards.
The North Bridge is controls communication of all the faster devices on a motherboard e.g. CPU, GPU,PCI-E slots etc. The north bridge closer to the processor than the south bridge.
The South Bridge
This device speeds up and slows down communication speeds of the slower devices on the computer e.g. PCI slots, USB, Front panel, audio etc.