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Computer Hardware

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Case: The box or shell in which all of the other components are assembled. The

case is typically made of metal, plastic or a combination of the two.

Power Supply: It provides the electrical power for the various components. Most often, the power supply is included when you buy the case.

CPU: The "Central Processing Unit" is the brain of the PC. Choosing a CPU is the single most important factor in how powerful your PC will be. As we stated in the Introduction, we'll be looking only at Pentium CPUs in this book.

CPU cooling fan: A small unit with a fan that sits on top of the CPU to remove the heat from the CPU.

Motherboard: A large circuit board that "holds" most of the other components. The CPU, memory, video, cards, hard, floppy and CD-ROM drives and other input/output cards fit into the motherboard.

Main Memory: Small plug-ins cards containing RAM (Random Access Memory) used by programs as working storage. Memory is often called SIMMs. This stands for Single Inline Memory Module, which is a fancy name for the way in which the memory is packaged on small circuit boards.

Video display card: A small plug-in card containing specialized chips which generate the signals for displaying text and graphics on the video monitor.

Monitor: The video display device that looks like a television on which the text and graphics appear.

I/O card: Communication ports, printer port and game port. There are two major types performance, lDE and SCSI. I refer only to IDE controllers and not the higher performance (and more expensive) SCSI controllers.

Keyboard: The device that lets you type information into the computer.

Mouse: The device that lets you move a pointer to on screen buttons or a cursor to on-screen positions by moving the device around on a surface or pad.

The mouse usually contains buttons that activate features or menus that allow you to work without using the keyboard.

Speakers and Headphones: External or internal units which produce the sounds created by the computer or software.

Sound Card: A small plug-in card containing specialized chips that generate the signals for sound production and amplification through the speakers or headphones.

Hard Drive: A mechanical device that stores and retrieves information from a fixed, non-removable, disk contained within it. The information stored on this disk can be added to, changed, or removed by the user. This is the main storage for all software located inside the computer and offers very quick access to this information. This device is usually located within the computer case and is attached to both the power supply and the motherboard with wiring.

Floppy Drive: A mechanical device that



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