This article is written for a newbie to understand how a computer functions. If you want to understand how your computer works here is a simple explanation you can always keep handy. If you are just starting to learn how to build a PC, understanding the basics of the computer can enhance your ability to assemble a PC on your own.
A computer basically consists of a combination of various components which function together as one independent system. The main component of the computer is, of course, the motherboard. The rest of the components of the PC are, in fact, connected to the motherboard itself. The motherboard serves as the central point of all the activities performed by the computer.
The motherboard houses the main microprocessor (CPU) chip, which performs the actual mathematical calculations and input/output functions of the PC. The microprocessor is a dense electronic circuit that internally consists of the Arithmetic and logic units and input/output interfaces. The microprocessor acts like the brain of the computer system.
The next most important unit, besides the microprocessor, is the internal memory. The internal memory temporarily stores the data flowing to and fro from the input/output units.
The hard drive is also attached to the motherboard by means of cables and forms the external storage unit of the computer. The hard drive consists of magnetic platters on which groups of data are stored in what are known as software programs. Besides the software programs themselves, the hard drive is also used to permanently store the results generated by the CPU on getting commands from the software programs.
Besides the above, the motherboard is attached to the various input and output components of the computer. The main input units are the keyboard, mouse, Cdrom drive, barcode reader, games controller, mic etc, whereas the output units comprise the monitor, printer, speaker etc. Each of these input/output units are connected to the motherboard by means of their respective controllers. These controllers may be housed inside the units themselves or integrated inside the motherboard or fitted to the motherboard by means of separate plugin cards. The main function of these controllers is to control the flow of data to and fro from the microprocessor to the input/output units.
Control of the Various Functions
Besides knowing how the computer is overall constructed, it is also important to know how it functions at the startup. When you switch on the computer a bootstrap program (called as POST), which is stored in a read-only memory inside the motherboard, starts checking the computer hardware system by referring to the BIOS. The BIOS then checks the internal memories, hard drives, keyboards, mouse etc and reports if there is any serious error. If the hardware check goes on smoothly the BIOS initializes the hardware units so that it can start communicating with it.
As a next step the BIOS starts loading the windows operating system from the hard disk into the internal memory of the computer. When the part of windows is loaded into the internal memory it takes over and checks the configuration files, profiles etc and finally displays the windows desktop. From then on the windows operating system is in control of the various functions of the computer.
Now that you know how the computer functions, you will be in a good position to know how to build a PC as well. Once you have gone through the assembly guide you can purchase the components according to your needs and build a PC for yourself according to the instructions provided in the guide.