The computer's internal components

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1 Computer hardware and types of computer A brief introduction to the insides of a computer and its added hardware. This will help explain what a computer is from a hardware point of view, how we control it, what types are available and the differences. Then you should be able to confidently go and buy one and understand exactly what your buying. The internals The computer's internal components CPU - Central Processing Unit A CPU is responsible for handling all instructions and calculation it receives from other hardware components in the computer and software programs running on the computer. The larger the processor and amount of processors means it can make more calculations per seconds and return results to software or hardware more quickly. Think of the CPU as the brain, this does all the thinking, but it can only think about so many things at any one time. To expand how many things it can think about we need another component called RAM RAM - Random Access Memory RAM provides the computer with space to do its calculations very quickly, once it has done the calculations if forgets everything it just did. Think of RAM as the size of the computers brain, the bigger the ram, the more programs it can think about at the same time. Lots of ram combined with lots of CPU will enable your computer to think very quickly about lots of things at the same time. HARD DISK DRIVE Hard Disk Drives are used for storing all the data on a computer. The data is stored as a series of numbers saved on an actual disk. The hard drive is the computers long term memory. Once saved, it will remain on

2 the disk even when the computer is turned off. The data will only be removed is YOU delete it, unless you have a hard drive failure. This does happen so make sure you follow our "How to Back Up Tutorial" MOTHERBOARD The motherboard controls all the electronic signals that are passed between all the other components on the computer. Think of it as the central nerves system, connecting all the parts of your body. DISK DRIVES Disk drives allow you to play CD's, DVD's BluRay and even HD DVD's on your computer. Most come with one installed unless you get a netbook. OTHER OPTIONAL INTERNAL COMPONENTS Soundcard - Nearly all computers come with a soundcard installed on the system. You may want one that has more functions than the basics if you are into music production, but generally the built in sound cards are great. Graphics card - Again, most computers have one of these pre-installed and you would not need a better one unless you wanted to play 3D games, create large movies or run programs that were dependent on great graphics. TV card - This card would allow you to watch TV on your PC as it allows you to plug an Ariel into it and tune in. Don't forget that we have BBC player and You tube to watch programs online. USB card - This would expand the amount of ports you have on your computer to plug things in like cameras, webcams, mobile phone, ipods etc. Generally computers come with more than enough. Card reader - this can come built in or as an added port on your computer. It allows you to read memory cards from devices like your camera. A good specification for home use would be; 2.8GHz Processor (Duel, Triple or QUAD core) - Lots of thinking power x 2, x 3 or x 4! 4GB RAM - Lots of thinking space 250GB Hard drive - Lots of storage space

3 The computer's external bits All these parts are things we can plug into our computer and allow us to view it, control it and input things into it. These are split into 2 groups, ESSENTIALS and OPTIONALS. We need the essentials but not the optional. There are many components we can connect to our computers, below are just some of them. ESSENTIALS MONITOR - SEE The monitor allows us to view what the computer is doing. They are also referred to as LCD monitors as this is what the screen is made of. Some come with internal speakers. They come in many sizes and you can also get widescreen. A good size would be a 19" widescreen. It fits well on your desk and gives you lots space to view your computer. KEYBOARD AND MOUSE - CONTROL The keyboard and mouse allow us to control our computer. They can be connected by wires or we can get ones that are wireless. Wireless keyboards and mice help to keep our desk clear. They do not use much battery power so tend to last a long time on one set of batteries. SPEAKERS - HEAR Speakers are not really essentials to make our computer work, but they are in this category because they help us fully utilise the PC as a media player and they should be speakers on everyone's computers or at least a pair of headphones. OPTIONAL'S TABLET A tablet is another way we can control our PC by using a pen and pad. They can recognise our handwriting and allow us to freely draw onto into painting programmes. PRINTER AND SCANNER Printers and scanners usually come as one unit now and they allow you to print your documents and pictures from your PC and it will scan a picture and save it on your computer as a digital file so you can it, store it or even make a t-shirt out of it.

4 WEB CAMERA A web camera is a great device that can allow someone to see you via the internet. It can also be used to record digital video, take pictures and most even have a built in microphone. Types of computer Today we have 3 main types of computer. These are called DESKTOP PC's, LAPTOPS and NETBOOKS. They all differ in price, use, mobility and power. DESKTOP PC A DESKTOP PC is a computer that stays at your desk. They are the largest of all 3 types. They are usually the most powerful for the price (Unless you buy specialist laptops for lots of money) and you can easily upgrade them as you get more interested in different areas of computing. E.G. If you became really interested in movie production, you could add a new piece of hardware to allow you to produce really cool 3D videos, or you could add a piece of hardware that would allow you to record music from your keyboard or guitar. LAPTOP (or notebooks) to 3 hours or more. LAPTOP'S are supposed to be computers that you can use on your LAP. They come with everything built in so you can control and view your computer. Most even come with a webcam, speakers, microphone, wireless internet hardware, CD and DVD drives and card readers. They have a built in battery so you can even take they away from home and use them when you are out. They are more difficult to upgrade as everything is built into the case. Laptops are also usually less powerful than a same prices DESKTOP computer as everything has to be smaller. The battery can last up NETBOOK NETBOOKS are the least powerful of the 3 types of computer, but they are also the least expensive. Netbook's have been designed to be ultra portable, come with built in wireless internet hardware, most come with webcams, speakers and microphones. They can do 99% of the tasks a laptop can do, but sometimes take a little more time. The batteries also can last up to 10 hours to!

5 Price Prices of computers vary from 200 and can spiral into thousands of pounds. A suggested starting point for a beginner is to ask the question, "What do you want it for?" Typical answers I have no idea - Then I suggest you get a low cost LAPTOP for about 300 as its middle of the road for performance, price and mobility. I will use it when I am out of the house - I suggest you consider either a LAPTOP or NETBOOK and purchase a netbook if you want ultra portability or a laptop if you want to use it as a desktop PC as well. I don't know, but would like the option to upgrade - Then get a DESKTOP because you can always add more components as you become more confident. Computers are cheap enough now so you can have more than one and most houses have a desktop and a laptop. You won't be disappointed with your purchase. Do your research and ask others advice. Where do I buy it? Here are some tips for buying a computer. Research what you want and how much it should cost before you go down the high street. Know what you want. Get recommendations from friends and family. "I suggests buying your computer from an online store like DELL or EBUYER as they have excellent customer service, excellent warranty's and great quality computers. - Nathan from ASKREVILL.com" Don't get pushed into buying the next model up or adding extra components that you don't need. NEVER purchase the extra warranty if you buy from a high street store, they charge way too much and you will find your covered by the manufacturer anyway or even your credit card. Again - DO YOUR RESEARCH! You can always ask advice from the forums at Leicestershire Villages. Please post your replies and comments in the online forums.

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