Computer Hardware – Info for Beginners

There is more to your  computer than the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse, though most of the other components are hidden away.

In that big box that you often complain about being too bulky, lies the heart of the computer.

It houses all the vital parts that make your computer fully functioning.

Get to know some of these parts.

  1. The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) determines how fast your PC will be & is perhaps one of the vital parts of a computer, if not the most vital. Having a fast processor will allow your computer to convert data faster and therefore make computer use easy and fast. Computers with fast processors also read data fast, so you don’t have to wait long before you get to open a program. One of the most well-known brands in processors is the INTEL.
  2. Memory and hard disk  – People often confuse these two with each other, which isn’t surprising because both deal with data and memory, but they function differently. The memory or the RAM (Random Access Memory) takes care of the processes that the computer needs to do. When you are for instance typing in Word and then you open another window to perhaps check the dictionary, you are storing what you are typing in the RAM. Having a high capacity RAM will help you when doing multiple processes.
  3. Hard disk on the other hand is for data storage. This is where all your letters, recipes, addresses & other lists,  photos from your camera, songs  that you have downloaded etc will be stored.  Hard disks are important because they house your life. When one breaks down, you can potentially lose all your files, so it is important to have a back-up strategy in place. Hard disks come in different capacities; at present they store from 320 GigaByte to a Terrabyte and are rapidy increasing in capacity.
  4. Motherboard (or mainboard) – This is the part that ties everything together. This is where the processor, RAM and graphic cards lie along with cooling fans, chipsets and other necessary components of any PC system. When a motherboard breaks down, you may need to change some of your other parts as well because they may not be compatible with the new motherboard.
  5. Graphics card  – This hardware takes care of the graphics that you see on your monitor(s).  The better the graphic card, the faster your computer can load pictures. This is especially important for people who deal a lot with graphics, pictures and illustrations in their computer. The gamer for instance will need a powerful graphics card in order to play comfortably as it should prevent hanging and  blurred or pixelized displays.

Maximize your PC’s life with regular maintenance.

Here are the simple tips for maintenance and cleanliness of your system.

  1. Frequent vacuuming and dusting would remove dust, lint, carpet fibers, hair and smoke particles from your computer hardware.  Try not put it in a place where it will accumulate dust particles as these can cause your computer to overheat and can even cause permanent hardware failure.
  2. Aside from a  battery powered vacuum cleaner, you can also use lint-free cloth which can be used when cleaning monitors and other delicate surfaces.  When using vacuum cleaner, avoid using inside the computer case or CPU as it can damage the components inside.  You can also use artist brushes for removing dirt in hard-to reach areas, like the computer keyboard.
  3. You can use compressed gas to remove the dirt and the dust inside the CPU cause.  Just avoid using this on any floppy disk drives, CD, DVD or Zip drives.  Avoid using your breathe as dust removal, it can attract more dust since human breathe is moist.
  4. For cleaning LCD screens, use soft dry cotton.  This could remove the smudges on the screen.  But if it fails to do so, you can mix isopropyl alcohol with water on 50-50 ratio.  You can use this to clean the screen but avoid using any other kind of cleaning solution since this could hard the computer hardware.
  5. When cleaning the keyboard disconnect if first from the computer.  Then turn it upside down and tap the base to remove anything that could be hiding under or behind the keys.  You can also used compressed air for this and to remove materials stuck on the keyboard. Antibacterial / disinfecting wipes are useful to clean the keys and other surface areas.
  6. Strange or stiff movements of the mouse can be because the mouse itself and the feet (or ball on older models) are dirty.  To clean, disconnect it from the computer and wipe the feet or release the ball so that you can clean it fully.

When cleaning your computer you need to be careful since there is a possibility that you can cause damage in some parts. Make sure that there is no water around the cleaning area & preferably wear an antistatic bracelet to ground yourself to prevent discharging static electricity that could affect your computer’s functionality.

A computer hardware maintenance schedule is a good idea – if you make sure that your PC is regularly cleaned it will maximize the life of your investment.

Best wishes