Parts of Computer: Names, Definitions and Images

A computer refers to a machine that is assembled using different physical parts or components and programmed with different languages to carry out a set of algorithms and arithmetic instructions. Currently, computers have become part of the human need to help people perform many tasks easily. When it comes to assembling a computer system, there are several parts of a computer that we must connect to form a typical, present-day computer.


This article discusses most of the parts of a computer along with their images and functions. But, before discussing the parts of a computer, let us briefly discuss what the parts of a computer mean:

What are the Parts of the Computer?

The physical components required to set up a computer system to function are referred to as parts of the computer. These physical parts are commonly called computer hardware.

Each part has an important role and helps to process/perform a specific task when we operate the computer. For a computer system to operate, some basic parts are required such as a mouse, keyboard, monitor, power cord, and computer case as well as its internal components.

How many parts of computers are there?

A computer is made up of different parts, whether it is small or large. Some parts can be easily recognized and physically touched. However, there are many different parts that cannot be touched until the computer system is completely disassembled. Based on the touch and viewing characteristics, computer parts are generally divided into internal and external.

Internal: Internal parts of computers refer to the built-in components and are placed inside the computer case. For example: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, PSU, etc.

External: External parts of computers refer to components that are attached to the computer by using one of the ports linked to the motherboard. For example: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, Webcam, etc.

Parts of Computer

Note: Due to differences in the size of computer systems (or desktops) and laptops, basic parts differ in both size and design. However, many of the same parts are used in both these types of computers. A laptop consists of the same parts as a computer; but, integrated into a single, small, portable unit.

Computer Parts with Name and Image

Certainly, most computers have their own different size and design, and different brands of hardware installed, but the parts used in them are standard across all computers. The following are some examples of commonly used parts of a computer:


Monitor

Monitor, also called visual display unit, is one of the essential parts of a computer system. It's made of glass, circuitry, adjustment buttons, power supplies, and more, all enclosed within a casing. The monitor is connected to a computer so that we can display output like text, image, or video on the screen. Despite this, the adjustment buttons help control brightness, contrast, and other display settings.

Monitor

Previously, computers had CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) displays/monitors, which were larger and heavier. Currently, newer monitors are available with lighter weight and thinner sizes and are often referred to as flat-panel displays. There are many types of monitors available in the market. However, LED (light-emitting diode) and LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors are the most common these days.


Keyboard

The keyboard is one of the primary input devices which helps us to interact with the computer system. The keyboard's layout is similar to a traditional typewriter with additional keys. When we press a key on the keyboard, a small portion of data is given to the computer to tell which key was pressed.

The computer receives input from the keyboard and uses it in various ways. For example, we can enter a single character or a command or a set of instructions into the computer for processing. 

Keyboard

Although there are many types of keyboards, they all work in the same way. Keyboards are generally classified as mechanical and membrane types. A typical keyboard has a set of keys, including alphabetical keys, character keys, function keys, number keys, arrow keys, and control keys.

Mouse

The mouse is another input device and plays an important role as one of the essential computer parts. It also helps us to communicate with the computer system. Since it uses a 'point-and-click' approach, it is commonly referred to as a pointing device.


Mouse mainly enables us to move a pointer on the screen of the computer and select/open the object using the mouse button. A typical mouse usually has three buttons, such as the left, right, and middle roller buttons. However, advanced mice (such as a gaming mouse) may have more than three buttons to help perform specific tasks.

Mouse

The mouse is generally classified as a mechanical and optical mouse. The optical mouse uses laser technology to track the movements of the cursor, while the mechanical one uses a ball and roller. Optical mice (plural form of the mouse) are more precise and give a smoother experience while interacting with the computer.

Speakers

Speakers are one of the optional parts of the computer. They can be connected to a computer to get audio output while watching movies, listening to the audio, listening to game music or dialogue, etc. The speakers are attached to the sound card and convert the sound card's recovered electromagnetic waves into audible audio waves. These speakers also have amplifiers that enable us to adjust the volume level of the sound output. 
Speakers
Many monitors and laptop computers come with built-in speakers. However, they can also be connected externally to a computer using a computer port (such as an audio jack or USB). By using external speakers, we can get enough loud sound output from the computer.


Mic

The mic, or microphone, is another optional part of the computer. It allows us to give voice input to the computer system. It comes in various shapes and sizes. We can connect a mic to a computer when we need to insert audio into our presentation, do voice conferencing, recording, broadcasting, giving voice commands to the computer, etc.  

Microphone

The mics are designed to read sounds from the surroundings and convert this sound (analog waves) into electrical signals. The signals are further converted into digital forms to be stored on the computer. Some common mics are dynamic mic, ribbon mic, condenser mic, etc.

Webcam

Webcam is another optional part of the computer system which is mainly used to capture images and videos and send them in digital form to a computer. Webcams are a little different from digital cameras because they can't work on their own. They must be connected to the computer for proper functioning.  

Webcam

Webcam helps us to make videos, do video conferencing, live broadcasting, etc. Typically, webcams use the computer's storage to store the captured data.

Computer Case

A computer case is a special box, usually made of metal or plastic, and contains many of the computer's internal parts. Some such essential parts include a motherboard, central processing unit, power supply, drives, memory, and wiring. It comes in various shapes and sizes. In most cases, the desktop case is tower-style, tall, and sits next to the monitor.


The front of the computer case usually provides access to the power on/off button, CD/DVD drives, and some ports such as USB, audio jack, etc. On the back, there are sockets for connecting a monitor, a power cord, and many external peripherals. Not all computers use a computer case. All-in-one computers and laptops come separately with all components enclosed in a thin case.

Computer Case

Note: Most people refer to the computer case as the CPU; however, it is not the CPU. The CPU is housed inside the case on the mainboard or motherboard.

Motherboard

A motherboard is a printed circuit board that is assembled inside a computer case. All basic and high-end chipsets are integrated on the motherboard. It is one of the main parts of the computer system and is present in all types of computers. It is also called the mainboard. 

Motherboard

The motherboard is where all the electronic components and peripherals of a computer system are connected in order to communicate together towards the functioning of the computer. It consists of CPU, RAM, ROM, sound card, video card, network card, ports for input, output and storage devices, etc.

CPU

CPU, short for Central Processing Unit, is commonly referred to as the brain of a computer. It is one of the main components of a computer system and includes the Control Unit (CU) and the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU). It processes instructions and handles calculations and other logical operations of the computer. In short, all the processes run by the computer are taken care of by the CPU. CPU is also known as processor, central processor, microprocessor, and chip.

CPU

Modern computers come with multi-core processors where there are multiple CPUs in a single chip to accelerate the processing power of the computer. It mainly helps in multitasking on the computer system. Intel and AMD are currently the two popular manufacturers of computer CPUs these days. 

GPU

A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a chip or electronic circuit used to display high-quality images and graphics by performing rapid mathematical calculations. Although the GPU helps in processing 2D data, it also facilitates the rendering and decoding of 3D data such as animations or videos. It is also called a graphics card, video adapter, video card, and display card.

Modern computers come with some amount of built-in or onboard video memory. Additionally, dedicated or external graphics cards can also be installed on supported computer systems. It is usually plugged into the PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) slot on the motherboard.

GPU

The higher the memory of the graphics card, the higher the quality of the visual effects on the computer's screen. However, the monitor should also be of high-end specs or features. GPU is one of the basic requirements for a computer when playing high-end games.


Fan

A fan is an internal part of a computer system that primarily helps to keep the computer system or its components cool by circulating air. This restricts overheating to prevent physical damage and extend the lifespan of components. Normally, the fan speed is controlled by the computer BIOS based on the temperature of the component concerned.

FAN
There are several types of computer fans, depending on the component they are cooling. It mainly includes a case fan, CPU fan, GPU fan, and power supply fan.

Sound Card

Most computers have a sound chip installed on the motherboard to generate the sound output. But to experience high-definition sound output, it is always better to have a sound card. A sound card is an expansion card that can be connected to a computer system using one of the ports such as USB, the PCI slot, or the PCI Express x1 slot on the motherboard.
Sound Card
The sound card also requires the relevant drivers and software installed on the respective computers to control the sound signals and produce high-quality audio output through speakers, headphones, etc. Besides, the sound card is not the mandatory part for the basic functioning of the computer system.

Memory

Memory is one of the basic parts for the proper functioning of the computer system. Memory units typically store data and instructions for core system files and configuration. Memory is designed for fast access. Therefore, it also participates in storing the currently running programs for faster processing. The internal memory of a computer is mainly of two types, namely RAM and ROM:

RAM: RAM, short for Random Access Memory, is one of the basic computer parts and serves as a computer's primary memory for temporarily storing current data (or ongoing data). It has a fast read/write speed and can be accessed quickly by the computer. It is a volatile memory and the data stored in it is lost when the power supply is cut off.

RAM

ROM: ROM, short for Read-Only Memory, is a non-volatile storage medium that stores essential computer data such as firmware. The data stored in ROM can only be read and is almost impossible to modify by the user. It keeps the stored data even after the power is turned off. It gives read-access to the computer's processor to write/load boot-up data and system files into primary memory.

ROM

Storage

The term storage is generally used to denote the 'external memory' or 'secondary memory' of the computer. Storage devices are mainly used to store long-term data. This means we can store data like images, videos, documents, etc., on the storage devices. The data saved in these devices is kept until we delete it. The operating system is also installed in one of these storage devices such as HDD or SSD, making storage an essential part of the computer.

HDD: HDD, short for Hard Disk Drive, is a non-volatile storage device manufactured using a disc or platter, head, motor, and other mechanical components. All mechanical components are housed inside an air-sealed casing. Data is written to the platters using magnetic heads that move over the platters. The faster the platter spins, the faster the data is read/written on the platters.

HDD

SSD: SSD, short for Solid State Drive, is another non-volatile storage device and is used in much the same way as an HDD. However, solid-state drives do not contain any mechanical parts or moving parts. Instead, these storage devices use interconnected flash-memory chips to store data. SSDs are smaller, faster, and produce no noise. 

SSD


Note: Although hard disks and solid-state drives are used as internal parts of a computer to install operating systems and hold data files, they can also be used as external devices. They can be connected using one of the USB ports.

CD/DVD Drive

CD/DVD drives are also optional parts of computer systems. These drives are attached to a computer to read images, videos, software, and other data from CDs (compact discs) and DVDs (digital versatile discs). These drives take advantage of laser technology to read/write data on/from optical discs such as CDs and DVDs.


The DVD drive can read both CDs and DVDs. However, the CD drive cannot read DVDs. 
CD-DVD Drive
Earlier, these drives were very important for installing the operating system, software, watching movies, etc. on the computer. However, at present, they are not very important. Modern laptops these days do not come with CD/DVD drives. The use of USB flash disks has prevented users from using CD/DVD drives on computers.

Internal All-in-One Reader

The internal all-in-one reader or multifunctional reader is primarily used as a replacement for the floppy drives previously used on computers. It enables users to read or write data to different types of cards, or flash memory. Some advanced readers also support several other ports, providing access to multiple peripherals. 
All-in-One Reader
The use of these multifunctional readers is not commonly seen after most computer manufacturers started integrating the necessary components directly on the motherboard to support cards, or flash memory, etc.

Power Cords

Power cord refers to the primary cable used on a computer to deliver the power supply. Typically, one side of the power cable is connected to the UPS and the other side is plugged into the computer case which further connects to the power supply unit (PSU). Many other wires are used to connect monitors, printers, scanners, and other peripherals.
Power Cord
When working with a laptop (also called a laptop computer), the power cord is commonly referred to as an AC adapter.

Power Supply Unit

A power supply unit (PSU) is an internal hardware component used in a computer case, primarily on desktop systems. Despite its name, the power supply unit usually does not supply power to a computer system but converts the given power supply for the computer. 
Power Supply Unit
In particular, the power supply unit converts mains high voltage alternating current (AC) into low voltage direct current (DC) power for interconnected components of a computer system. Modern computers usually come with Switched Mode Power Supplies (SMPS).

UPS

UPS, short for Uninterruptible Power Supply, is a hardware device used as a power backup for a computer. It consists of a battery inside a metal box that enables users to keep the computer running for a short time after the primary power source has been lost, such as an outage or a power surge.

UPS

The main advantage of using a UPS is that we can get enough time to save our unsaved data and shut down the computer system appropriately. When computers are not shut down properly, it can lead to loss of data and sometimes even damage to the internal parts of the computer.

Note: There are many other parts of a computer; however, not all parts are required for a computer to operate. Many computer parts are optional and can be attached to the computer according to specific needs. For example: Joystick, Projector, Headphones, GPS, etc.

Other Basic Peripherals

The printer and scanner are two basic peripherals that can be attached to a computer system to increase its usefulness or meet specific needs. 

Printer

A printer is an output device that can be connected to a computer system to make a hard copy of any document, image, or information on paper. The printer takes electronic data from the computer and creates an exact copy of it in monochrome (black & white in this reference) or colors, depending on the type of printer. 

Printer

Printers are optional but an important part of a computer system. They come as both wired and wireless. There are mainly two types of printers, namely impact, and non-impact printers.

Read More: Types of Printers


Scanner

As the name suggests, the scanner scans the given physical document or paper and reads each character or image of the document using optical technology. It then sends the scanned object to the computer's memory for further manipulation. Its working is almost opposite to that of a printer.
Scanner
A scanner is generally an input device that can be connected to a computer system to convert any hard copy document into a digital file format like JPEG, PNG, PDF, etc. There are many types of scanners, such as photo scanners, drum scanners, flatbed scanners, handheld scanners, etc.

Summary

This article discusses over 20 basic parts of a computer, including their names, images, and functions. It will help us to identify the connected parts of the computer system.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which part of the computer is known as the computer brain?

CPU or Central Processing Unit is known as the brain of the computer as it processes all the calculations and arithmetic logical operations in the computer system.

What are the 5 basic parts of the computer system?

The five basic parts of a computer are the motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), input-output units, memory (RAM and ROM), and storage (SSD or HDD).


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