How does a Computer Work?

You have probably heard of some terms regarding computer hardware like RAM, CPU, and Hard Drive, but what do they mean and how do they affect the performance of your computer?

A good analogy is to imagine yourself working on a report while sitting at a table at the local library. To start writing the report, you need to gather the relevant books off the shelves and lay them out on the table so that you can access the information quickly. If you need a book not already on the table, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing and go get it from the bookshelf so you can continue writing the report. If you run out of room for books on the table, then you’ll have to start putting some back on the shelves again to make room.

Conceptually, this is also how a computer works. You are the CPU, the Central Processing Unit or processor, pulling all the information together into the report. The size of the table you are sitting at is the amount of RAM in the computer, the bigger the desk the more books you can lay out and keep handy. The books on the shelves represent the Hard Drive, they can store a lot of data but it is a much slower process to retrieve it.

I’ve left out a heck of a lot, but this is a good way to understand the part these basic components play in a computer today. And while this helps to show the basic relationship between the CPU, RAM, and Hard Drives, it won’t help you figure really out if you need a new computer, or what you should buy next. The next few articles will cover those topics so stay tuned!

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