Krista's Coding Corner

25.02.2012

Ingredients of a computer and their purpose

There probably are a lot of different definitions for a computer but to make this simply we’ll are going to talk only about personal computer which you are probably using right now.

So, that computer is a device which has a processor to execute commands, and a memory to store commands. If you wish to build your own computer, the minimum you need is:

1. Motherboard, this is the body of a computer, all other parts will be attached to this one. It gives other parts a possibility to communicate with each other. Also, BIOS lays in here. BIOS (Basic Input-Output System, and bios also means life in Greek) is a program that downloads your operating system to RAM and makes it usable to you. Your computer will do nothing if your BIOS-program is broken.

2. Processor, this is like the brain of the computer, this part actually does all the calculations and follows commands.

3. RAM-memory, like humans, computers can keep things in its working memory which will get empty when computer is turned off. This helps the computer do calculations (think how some people use paper to help them calculate big numbers). This memory type is FAST to make calculations and command execution.

4. Persistent memory, unlike RAM this one keeps thing forever, like you can always remember your parents. This is the memory to store files and programs you want to keep for tomorrow and the future.

5. Power source, you’ll need something to keep things going because perpetual motion machine is yet to be discovered.

Of course a casing with fans and a screen + mouse + keyboard might be nice ;)

Notice, that today more and more of our devices won’t have actual motherboards or so on, because engineers are combining different parts together. But building a computer yourself means that you’ll have to buy those parts still separately. This might change in the future.

Some vocabulary

Clock frequency, how fast transistors are jamming inside a processor, it indicates how many calculations processor can make in a second. The bigger the number the faster the computer is.

Over clocking, means that you make your clock frequency bigger (== work faster) than it is designed to. Sure, you get things work faster, but this might break your transistors and will definitely wear them out faster. If you really need your computer to work more quickly, just buy a faster one.

Commit log

- Paragraph 3, removed extra words 8)

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