Unlike other electronic devices, computer is the sum of its parts. Nobody cares about the specifications and make of the picture tube of a particular brand of television. But in the case of computers, more than the brand name the specifications of its components like processor, motherboard, RAM, hard disk, and suchlike are the things that a knowledgeable consumer first asks about. Here is computer hardware terminology in a nutshell.
Processor or microprocessor is a powerful IC chip on which a number of functions are incorporated. It is the heart and brain of the computer rolled into a chip. Its efficiency depends on its speed of processing, which is specified by its frequency and it is denoted using gigahertz. The higher the speed, the better will be its functioning. Also, there are several types of processors such as 32-bit processor and 64-bit processor. The bit rate is not actually a yardstick of speed. The larger bit rate means the processor will be able to efficiently do several computing processes at the same time.
Another main item in computer hardware terminology is motherboard. In simple terms, it is the platform on which all the other components are electrically fitted in. Over the years, a number of additional functionalities such as sound card, graphics card, and networking card are slotted on to the motherboard. When selecting motherboard, one should make sure that the motherboard is compatible with other components such as processor, hard disk, and RAM.
Hard disk and RAM are the next items in the hierarchy of computer hardware terminology. A computer has two types of memory. Permanent memory is stored magnetically on hard disk and it will be stored in the disk even after the computer is shut down. On the other hand, RAM or random access memory will be off once the computer is shut down. It is the kind of memory on which the functional information while running a computer, like running programs and unsaved data, are kept when computer is running. When you save a file, the data is stored to hard disk from RAM.
Nowadays the memory capacity of hard disk is skyrocketing. It is all set to break the upper limits of gigabytes. Comparing to that, RAM was a slow starter. It is still ambling along the lower middle part of gigabytes. Lay users do not need a RAM with a large capacity. The price of RAM increases with the rise in memory capacity.
Computer peripherals like keyboard, mouse, monitor, CD or DVD drives and writers, speaker, and webcams are all part of a large list called computer hardware terminology. There are other hardware items also such as graphics card, sound card and video card for sound recording and video editing facility, and internal and external modems for browsing the internet.