Computer Hardware – Basics


Many of you have heard about this word while calling your computer manufacturer to fix it. You might have heard the technical support guy talking about a part in your computer known as ” Heat Sink ” or a Heatsink. In this post I would like to help you understand a bit about this hardware and its function in your computer.

Heat Sink

heat sink is a passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device into a coolant fluid in motion. Then-transferred heat leaves the device with the fluid in motion, therefore allowing the regulation of the device temperature at physically feasible levels. In computers, heat sinks are used to cool central processing units or graphics processors. Heat sinks are used with high-power semiconductor devices such as power transistors and optoelectronics such as lasers and light emitting diodes (LEDs), where the heat dissipation ability of the basic device is insufficient to moderate its temperature.

RAM – Random Access Memory

Random-access memory is a form of computer data storage. A random-access memory device allows data items to be accessed (read or written) in almost the same amount of time irrespective of the physical location of data inside the memory. In contrast, with other direct-access data storage media such as hard disks, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs and the older drum memory, the time required to read and write data items varies significantly depending on their physical locations on the recording medium, due to mechanical limitations such as media rotation speeds and arm movement.

Today, random-access memory takes the form of integrated circuits. RAM is normally associated with volatile types of memory (such as DRAM memory modules), where stored information is lost if power is removed, although many efforts have been made to develop non-volatile RAM chips.Other types of non-volatile memory exist that allow random access for read operations, but either do not allow write operations or have limitations on them. These include most types of ROM and a type of flash memory called NOR-Flash.

ROM– Read-Only Memory

Strictly, read-only memory refers to memory that is hard-wired, such as diode matrix and the later mask ROM (MROM). Although discrete circuits can be altered in principle, integrated circuits (ICs) cannot and are useless if the data is bad or requires an update. That such memory can never be changed is a disadvantage in some applications. More recently, ROM has come to mean memory that is read-only in normal operation, but a technician using special equipment can erase or reprogram to updating firmware or to correct an error.Read-only memory (ROM) is a type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices. Data stored in ROM can only be modified slowly, with difficulty, or not at all, so it is mainly used to store firmware (software that is closely tied to specific hardware and unlikely to need frequent updates).


motherboard (sometimes alternatively known as the main boardsystem boardbaseboardplanar board or logic board,or colloquially, a mobo) is the main printed circuit board (PCB) found in general purpose microcomputers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit(CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems such as the central processor, the chipset’s input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general purpose use.

Motherboard specifically refers to a PCB with expansion capability and as the name suggests, this board is often referred to as the “mother” of all components attached to it, which often include peripherals, interface cards, and daughter cards: sound cards, video cards,network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage; TV tuner cards, cards providing extra USB or FireWire slots and a variety of other custom components.

Hard Disk Drive ( Hard Drive)

hard disk drive (HDD), hard diskhard drive or fixed disk is a data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using one or more rigid (“hard”) rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material. The platters are paired with magnetic heads arranged on a moving actuator arm, which read and write data to the platter surfaces.Data is accessed in a random-access manner, meaning that individual blocks of data can be stored or retrieved in any order and not only sequentially. HDDs are a type of non-volatile memory, retaining stored data even when powered off.

CPU or central processing unit :

central processing unit (CPU) is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. The term has been used in the computer industry at least since the early 1960s.Traditionally, the term “CPU” refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.

The form, design and implementation of CPUs have changed over the course of their history, but their fundamental operation remains almost unchanged. Principal components of a CPU include the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) that performs arithmetic and logic operations,processor registers that supply operands to the ALU and store the results of ALU operations, and a control unit that fetches instructions from memory and “executes” them by directing the coordinated operations of the ALU, registers and other components.

Operating System (OS

An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is a component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function.

Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources.


For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware,although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and frequently makes system calls to an OS function or is interrupted by it. Operating systems are found on many devices that contain a computer – from cellular phones and video game consoles to web servers and supercomputers.

Examples of modern desktop operating systems include Apple OS X, Linux and its variants, and Microsoft Windows.