Main components defined.
Have you ever wanted to build your own PC but were never quite sure how? Over the course of several articles, we’ll teach you how, with beginners in mind! It’s deceptively simple, and you can easily customize your PC to be exactly what you want.
We’re going to begin with the basic components that make up a typical PC. Consider this a glossary for future installments and, of course, a visible tool you can use when looking at your own build.
As you can see, there are quite a few components necessary to build a PC. Let’s break the terms down:
CPU: A Central Processing Unit, or CPU for short, is the brain of the computer. Nothing happens without the CPU. As the name suggests, it does all the processing for the computer.
CPU Cooler: The CPU generates quite a bit of heat, and requires cooling. The CPU cooler draws heat away from the CPU and into the rest of the computer case, and is blown out by the fans seen on top of and on the sides of the case.
Graphics Card (GPU): Just as it says, this does all the heavy lifting for creating 3D graphics. If you plan to play any sort of newer game, one of these is absolutely essential. Newer CPUs have built-in graphics capabilities as well, so if you can’t afford a graphics card then you can use that.
Power Supply (PSU): This supplies power to all the necessary components — CPU, fans, graphics card, motherboard, and storage drives.
RAM: These act as temporary storage, and determine how many programs you can have open at once. If you don’t have enough RAM, your computer will bog down or simply refuse to open some programs.
Motherboard: This is where literally every component plugs into. The CPU fits directly into a specialized slot on the motherboard, and it is vital to make sure your CPU and motherboard are compatible.
HDD/SSD: These are storage devices, but there are distinct differences between the two. Hard drives have spinning metal platters inside, and can hold immense amounts of data. They’re generally fairly cheap, but are slower than SSDs. SSDs, on the other hand, are incredibly fast and lightweight. The downside is that for a large amount of storage, they run into the hundreds of dollars.
Are we missing any terms? Let us know and we’ll include them in updates to this beginner’s guide.