Here - at least in outline - the components of our PC:

In this article I'd like to resume you the components of your PC. With small differences (mainly about dimensions) it's true for Notebook and Tablets too

  • CASE: the container in which the other components are then mounted.
  • POWER SUPPLY: the device that takes power from the outside and distributes it to the PC, transforming the voltage from the alternating 220 V of the normal power grid to the continuous voltages necessary for the operation of the various components (eg 5V - 3.3 V etc.) . The power supply must deliver a power (expressed in WATT) that is suitable for the operation of all the components, which have - obviously - different consumption.
  • Mainboard / Motherboard: this is the component on which the bios, the chipset, the ram, the processor, and the isa - pci - agp cards are housed. The mainboard has integrated the usb - ps2 - parallel - serial ports, as well as having the contacts on which to connect the cables of the case (main switch and operation led) and the connections to the various components (the cooling fans, for example) .
  • Processor (CPU Central Processing Unit): it is the chip that processes all the information managed by the machine.
  • RAM Memory (Random Access Memory): are chips, arranged in banks, which allow you to store the information necessary to manage the "current" operations, the RAM is much faster than the hard disk, it is used because otherwise the speed of the processor would be made useless by the slowness of the disk; it is a temporary memory, as it only works if powered, and therefore, by turning off the PC, the information contained in it is lost, so it is always important to turn off the PC in the correct way, so that the operating system saves the information on the disk.
  • Bios: it is an eeprom type chip (that is, part of the information contained in it can be changed), which contains the information necessary for the PC to work, i.e. to turn on and know where to find the other information, as well as containing the data related to components are installed in the PC and therefore at a first level of configuration.
  • Chipset: it is a chip that contains the indispensable information to manage and coordinate the operation of all the other components.
  • USB - PS2 - parallel - serial ports: these are communication ports, allowing the PC to manage external components such as scanners, printers, video cameras, etc.
  • Agp - pci - pci express - isa and eide slots: these are the housings where the "on board" components are put.
  • Cards: these are the various components that can be installed in the PC, such as the sound card, the SCSI card, the network card, etc.
  • Hard disk: this is the medium on which all the information on the PC is stored (software, documents, etc.), is called mass memory, and is fixed, i.e. the information is not lost even when the PC is turned off.
  • Memory Units: Flash Cards, USB Keys, DVDs, CDs, are all memory units, different from the Hard Disk, and characterized by the fact that the media on which the information is stored can be removed and transported, or stored externally to the PC .
  • Controller: it is the set of components that manages the exchange of information with hard-disks, floppy disks and CD / DVD and / or burners. On the mainboard there are "attacks" to connect precisely these devices.
  • Video Card: this is the card that transmits the information to the video. It can be integrated on the Motherboard, or inserted into a slot. The ever-increasing demand for performance has led to the development of video card technology. Hence the need to devise new connections (slots) that would make them capable of the increasingly complex visualizations. At the beginning were ISA cards, like the others, then passed to the PCI cards, then were created AGP slots, capable of higher speeds, and that are dedicated only to video cards. Today there are even faster PCI-Express slots.
    Basically the speed of the ISA and PCI BUS, or the channel that exchanges information with the CPU, quickly became insufficient to manage the amount of information needed for the most complex visualizations; hence the need to design new connections, which would not create "bottlenecks" (slowdowns).
    A video card, at present, is equipped with its own processor (GPU Graphics Processing Unit), expressly designed for video, and normally with a RAM memory, dedicated entirely to managing the information to be displayed on the screen [it is also possible - to save - that the GPU shares a part of the PC RAM, in this case - of course - both the general and the video performances are worse). The GPU is used for 3-D visualizations, which are very complicated in terms of mathematical calculations, and which would then occupy the PC processor for too long. This is why it was necessary to design dedicated (and therefore optimized) processors for these calculations, which - in addition - frees up the PC's CPU, which can then dedicate itself to other tasks.
  • Audio Card: this is the card that allows the PC to manage the information related to the sounds to be played. This is done in two ways:
    • -> FM synthesis: it imitates the sound of the various instruments, using mathematical formulas inside the sound card.
    • -> Wavetable synthesis: it is based on real sound recordings of the various instruments, to reproduce what is desired. In this case the sound is much more accurate, but the management of information is much more expensive, both as resources of the PC engaged, both from the economic point of view.


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