COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY-UNDERSTANDING YOUR COMPUTER
WHAT IS THE CPU?
CPU is short for "Central Processing Unit". It is also more commonly known as "The Processor". In simple terms the processor is the brains of your computer. The processor is responsible for handling most instructions and calculations it receives from hardware & software components on your computer. Therefore without a processor chip installed, your computer cannot operate.
WHAT IS RAM?
RAM (Random Access Memory) is a place for your computer to read & write data that needs to be accessed by the CPU. Also more commonly it is referred to as "memory". The more RAM your computer has, potentially the faster it can run. Your CPU accesses data from the RAM first, and from the hard disk second. Modern RAM is literally 100's of times faster than a hard disk. The more data that can be accessed from the RAM, the faster the computer runs. However RAM is considered volatile. This means as memory it is temporary. When you turn your computer off, all data is lost. Many times when you change a task, all or part of the RAM is lost and you start over. This is why every computer has a hard disk. A hard disk is permanent with or without power.
Since 2002 RAM has progressed as DDR, DDR2, and DDR3, and now. DDR4. DDR stands for (double data rate). DDR RAM can process 2X as much data at the same speed as the previous SDRAM could. DDR2 processes 4X as much data at the same speed, And DDR3 processes 8X as much data at the same speed. DDR4 many times faster yet. These types of RAM correspond to development of computers. DDR4 being the latest. Note that these RAM technologies are not interchangeable. One type of RAM will not function if installed with another type, and physical differences in the RAM modules prevent them from even being inserted in the same computer.
WHAT IS A MOTHERBOARD?
In simple terms, the "Motherboard" is the back bone, or central nervous system of your computer. It serves to connect all of the various components of your computer together, to function as a computer. The CPU, RAM, hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card, and other ports and expansion cards all connect to the motherboard directly or via cables. Motherboards vary greatly in respect to the types of components they support. For example, each motherboard supports a single type of CPU and a short list of memory types. Additionally, some video cards, hard drives and other peripherals may not be compatible.
WHAT IS A HARD DRIVE?
The hard drive ( hard disk, HDD) is a non volatile random access digital storage device. That means that when you turn your computer off and then back on, your data is still there. Data is only lost if it is intentionally deleted, or the drive becomes damaged and stops functioning. All of your data, all of your software, all that your computer does is stored on the hard drive. Obviously if your hard drive fails you loose everything. This is why it is recommended that you always back up your data on some form of external drive which is not a part of your computer. In some cases secondary drives may be required for backup. In some cases multiple back up drives may be required.
There are a wide variety of external drives such as; optical, hard drives, flash drives, memory cards, tape drives, etc. It all depends upon your back up needs. Data is written on to a hard disk using the same basic technology as audio cassettes & VHS video tapes. It is a magnetic process.