Computer Components and why they matter

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Computer Components and why they matter

​Ever wondered what a computer is made of? How this device is set-up so that you are able to get your stuff done? It's tricky to know every little details of the item that sort-of "run our lives". As long as it's working, then we don't have any interest in components and the "nitty gritty" side of things.

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​Let's jump right in with the most common Computer Components that you need to check out before purchasing any new computer equipment.

What is a CPU/Processor?

​A central processing unit (CPU) is the device in your computer that carries out all the instructions given by a program by performing all the operations required by the instructions. To simplify it a bit more, the CPU is basically the brain of a computer. It does all the calculations and procedures required for your computer to function, and for you to be able to complete your day-to-day tasks.

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The first CPU was completed in 1949 and since then it has evolved into incredibly small and powerful components. The two major CPU’s manufacturers that the average user will encounter will be Intel and AMD. These two companies have been creating CPUs for several years now, and are always competing on creating the best CPU at the lowest cost possible.

Each CPU needs to be installed in to a special socket, which is unique for its generation. The motherboard needs to be compatible with the CPU, and have the correct socket for its installation.

What is Memory/RAM?

​To put it simply, RAM is a computer’s short term memory. All the information in software, games, or documents you are currently typing, is stored in the RAM. When you copy something, that information is stored in the RAM. When you restart your computer, or switch it off, that information is lost. Generally your computer will become faster the more RAM it has available, but this capacity is limited by your operating system and computer.

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… a form of computer data storage that stores data and machine code currently being used.”

​RAM comes out in different types of modules, and each generation is much faster than the previous one. RAM sockets include (from oldest to newest) SD, DDR1, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4. In 2019 DDR5 will be released. The storage space on RAM has increased dramatically with each new generation as well. It begun at 32Mb, and today you can get a 128Gb RAM module!

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What is a Hard Drive?

A hard disk drive (HDD) is a storage device. It uses magnetic storage to retrieve digital information. Put simply it is a computer’s long term memory. Everything on your computer, includes its programs, games, files, music, etc. is saved on your hard drive.

Hard drives are basically spinning disks inside a metal cover, and is very sensitive. Therefor they easily break. It is important that you back up all your data on more than one hard drive, or on the cloud.

A few years ago the Solid State Drive (SSD) was developed.

​​The SSD is a type of HDD that have no moving parts. It is about ten times faster than a normal hard drive, and its life expectancy is much longer.

But, as you can imagine, it is definitly more expensive as well.

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“An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs.”

What is an Operating System ?

​In laymen’s terms, this means it is the basic software, the backbone of your computer. The system on which you install all your programs and games.

Where you store all your files and music, movies, etc. There are several different OSs out there.

Windows is the most prominent OS and includes several different titles to their Operating Systems that have been released over the years. 

Other Operating System for Computers exist as well. Apple’s macOS is quite popular and there are hundreds of Linux operating systems, of which Ubuntu will probably be the most famous.

Mobile devices have their own operating systems as well. Android and iOS are the most famous among them.

Operating Systems is also present in almost any electronic device that use software. Payphones, microwaves, fridges, pagers, watches, calculators, cars, and the list go on and on. Each of these devices have their own unique operating system.


​Wether you are upgrading your current computer, purchasing a new one or just looking into what will suite your soon-to-be-student child in the house. You need to consider these 4 components carefully when making your decision.

Happy Shopping!

Melanie du Plessis
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