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Home PCGuides A visual guide to the insides of a PC

A visual guide to the insides of a PC

by Uzair Ahmed
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Sometimes when you’re around your gamer friends or people with intense knowledge about PCs, you might wonder what they are talking about. What’s a SATA cable? or what’s a MAC address? well, we have gathered information about all of the internal parts of a PC. You might understand the definition but then you might be wondering how the parts actually look like? well, KUDOS we have prepared a visual guide for that matter.

Now starting from the bottom. When you look at a desktop PC, the first thing that you notice is the CASE.

CASE.

A Case is basically a box which contains all of the components that are required for your PC to function in one place. They came in various sizes depending upon your need, such as tower and desktop. These cases have further types such as gaming cases and simple cases.

Front view of a GAMING CASE
That’s how an empty case looks like

Moving forward to the inside of the PC, the first thing you might notice would be a that all of the components are fitted on a big plate like thing. Well, that plate like thing is called the motherboard of the computer. The motherboard contains all the necessary ports where all the components are connected. Motherboards are of various types which depend upon your needs for example if you have a 4th generation core i7 processor you cannot run that processor on the same processor as needed by a 7th generation core i7 processor because the CPU sockets are different. For further information about this visit the details.

Overview of a gaming motherboard

As for the next thing that might catch the attention of your eyes can be the big fan in the middle, well that fan is basically fitted on a heat sink which is there to absorb the heat of the processor or you might see the liquid cooling kit, that kit does the work of the cooling fans but much better, it is connected to all of the components that require cooling does the job much efficiently. A brief difference between Air cooling and the water cooling is given below.

Air cooling might be a little cheaper but damn it’s loud, inefficient and appalling. That is all the reasons for not getting an Air cooling system unless you are tight on budget. Similarly, on the other hand, the water cooling is a little expensive but it’s as silent as the grave. It gives better performance and also increases the life span of your components. How can we forget that it looks great? Another reason to buy a water cooling system. So save up now because in this case looks and performance is everything.
For more information about the difference visit the details.

An overview of the Aesthetic water cooling system installed in a PC.

An overview of case fans.
That’s how a typical Air cooling system looks like.
A case fan and a CPU cooler can be seen.
Credits to the rightful owner.

Moving towards the processor we will now describe you in detail about the processor and components related to it.

CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU)

Central processing unit (CPU) is basically the brain of the computer which handles all the main processes of your computer. From complex mathematical problems to just playing games, all of these processes are being handled by the CPU at the back end. CPU is divided into two parts, the Control unit (CU) and Arithmetic logic unit (ALU). The purpose of Arithmetic logic unit is solely to solve the mathematical problems whereas the Control unit handles the solution of those mathematical problems or any problem in general. The two big companies that make CPUs are Intel and AMD. The processors are further divided into different models which vary in speed. For example, Intel has Core i3, i5, i7, i9 and as a competitor to that AMD offers the Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and the thread ripper. They have slight differences.

The latest AMD processor Ryzen threadripper the most high end CPU in the market
he latest Intel processor Core i9 the most high-end CPU in the market

The Intel processors use the Ball grid array socket (BGA) which simply means that they are used to permanently mount devices such as microprocessors. A BGA can provide more interconnection pins. On BGA CPUs, the processor has no pins at all and instead uses a series of flat metal patches that contact a matching grid of tiny rounded spring tips housed in the motherboard socket.

Now right beside the processor, you might notice a long rectangular plate, they might be more than one though. That long rectangular plate is called the RAM of the computer. We will now dig into the details related to the RAM.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a volatile memory which simply means that it loses its contents once the PC is turned off. It is the hardware where all the recently used application and DATA is kept so that they can be accessed much faster and easier. It is the main memory of the computer and it is much faster to read and write than on a typical storage device such as HDD and SSD. Now RAM comes in two types Dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM). The main difference between the two is off the access time and the refresh rate. SRAM does not need to be refreshed whereas the DRAM has to be continuously refreshed, similarly, the SRAM has faster access time than the DRAM. However, the SRAM is much more expensive than the DRAM. Cache is mostly SRAM. Now our concern is with the main memory which is the Synchronous dynamic RAM (SDRAM). These days the most commonly used RAMs are DDR SDRAMs. From which the DDR3 and DDR4 RAMs are mostly used. The main difference between the two is of speed, DDR4 is comparatively much faster than the conventional DDR3 RAM.

 

Old school DDR3 RAMs
The new and much faster DDR4 RAMs

DDR4 RAM sticks provide higher clock speed starting from 2133MHz while the DDR3 RAM starts from 800MHz and go up to 1866MHz. This shows the difference between the clock speeds of both of the RAMs.

Furthermore, if you look around inside the PC, another rectangular plate can be seen which is wider and bigger than the RAM, this bigger plate is called the Graphic Card (GPU) of the PC. The GPU is attached on the PCI-express slot, which is a dedicated slot for GPUs. The details regarding GPUs can be found below.

Graphics Card

Graphics Card is one of the essential components of a modern day PC. It basically boosts the Graphics of your PC and provides you with a much better version of the graphics than your integrated Graphics card which comes built-in with your PC. Even a low-end Graphic Card gives you better performance than that in the CPU. Also the needs of the software and games these days have made it a necessity to have a Graphics Card. Without one, you won’t be able to experience the games to the fullest, software that do heavy rendering and image generation won’t be able to work properly. At least a mid-ranged Graphics Card is required to run the latest games without any issue. They are of different qualities which vary as you increase your budget.

The latest Rtx 2080ti

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is basically a special component which is designed to rapidly alter and manipulate memory in such a way so that a better and processed version of the image can be generated. They are widely used in computers, consoles, mobiles phones these days.
For more information regarding this, visit the details.

The chipset of the RTX 2080ti

Coming back to the insides of the PC, you may also notice a thick or a thin rectangular plate. That plate is the storage device of your PC, if the plate is thick then it is probably a Hard disk drive (HDD) or if it is thin then it probably is a Solid-state drive (SSD). The difference between them is quite clear, we will highlight that for you.

Hard disk drive (HDD)

The hard disk drive is an old school storage device, originating back to the earliest of the PCs, they are still widely used everywhere as the primary storage device. They use rotating mechanical disks to store data. They offer relatively more storage capacity and less cost than a typical SSD. The faster the rotational speed of the disk the more speed the HDD will have. A typical HDD has a disk rotation speed of 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM and some high-speed HDDs have a rotation speed of 10,000 RPM. HDDs are more stable storage devices than the new SSDs.

Insides of a typical HDD.

Solid state drive (SSD)

A solid-state drive is comparatively a newer storage device than the HDDs. There are no moving parts inside the SSD. The moving parts i.e the rotating disk is now replaced by a couple of non-volatile RAMs merged together to give high speed. The speed difference between an HDD and an SSD is quite obvious. They also have a small and compact size compared to the HDD and of course, they have no moving parts so they are quite. The main drawbacks of the SSD are the increased cost and low storage capability. The most common types of SSD are the mSATA and the M2.

A typical SSD.

Furthermore, if you look inside the PC, you will notice an optical drive and sound card on a PCI expansion slot. Yes an optical drive and a sound card, they are still widely used. It is always better to install an external sound card because they can give a boost to the quality of the sound.

An optical drive.

Sound card

Sound Cards are used to boost the quality of the sound. It is much better to install a sound card because it will give a boost to your sound. They are much better than the integrated sound cards. Sound cards are installed on the PCI expansions slot. (A sound card is considered an extra item if you have the budget you can buy it if you don’t then no need to invest on it )

A typical sound card.

Now the next thing that you will be noticing is the wires inside the PC. You may see different types of connectors and cables. Well, they are all coming from a device called Power supply.

Power supply unit (PSU)

A power supply unit (PSU) is a device which is used to supply the desired power to each of the components of the PC so that they can function properly. They come in different sizes and output standards which depend on your need. However, it is better to stick with at least 80 plus silver or other better PSUs for better and efficient output results.

A Power supply unit and all of its cables and connectors.

ATX power connector

This is the connector that powers the motherboard chipset and onboard controllers. It’s housed in a large 20- or 24-pin Molex connector often split into a 20+4-pin dual connector configuration. It comes in 20-, 24- and 20+4-pin configuration.

Peripheral Power Connector

The 4-pin peripheral connector also called the Molex connector, is the most frequently used type of power connector in PC building and is used to connect hard drives, optical drives, certain fans, and other devices.

SATA Power Connector

SATA Power Connector

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is a connector which is used to power devices such as Optical drives and Hard disk drives. It connects them to the power supply so that these devices can receive the necessary power for their proper functioning.

8 Pin EPS +12V Power Connector

8 pin power adapter cable lets you connect a standard 6-pin PCI Express power connection provided by the computer power supply to ATI and NVidia video cards.

6 Pin PCI Express Power Connector

This connector is used to provide extra 12-volt power to PCI Express expansion cards. These are sometimes called “PCI Express cables”. 

These are all of the cables and connectors that come with the PSU.
Overview of the ports outside your PC.

Audio connector panel

The I/O panel on a motherboard typically houses the audio input and output ports, which include an analog headphone jack, a line out, unamplified line in, a Mic connector and digital S/PDIF connections. In the above picture, the Points 5,6,7,8,9 and 10 highlights the audio connector panel.

USB connectors

USB connectors typically serve several different purposes. From connecting mice and keyboard to connecting external Hard drives. They are very useful. In the above picture.

VGA connectors

VGA connector is a connector which is usually used to connect the PC with a screen so that it can give a display. However, they are now replaced by much better connectors knows as the Display port connectors.

DVI connectors

DVI connector is a connector which is usually used to connect the PC with a screen so that it can give a display. The main difference between DVI and VGA is that the VGA connectors carry analog signal whereas the DVI connectors carry both digital and analog signals which result in a better and sharper image. In the above image.

Ethernet connector

Ethernet connector is a connector which is used to connect your computer to a network. It is still used and it is considered to be much better than the wireless transmission (WIFI).

HDMI connectors

HDMI connector is a flat D-shaped connector for digital video that is compatible with HD televisions. HDMI is designed to carry audio, and later revisions can also carry a network signal. HDMI 2.1 currently supports resolutions up to 10K at 120Hz, Dynamic HDR and variable refresh rates. It offers better quality than the DVI and VGA connectors.

Display port connector

DisplayPort is a high-performance digital video connector designed to overcome some of HDMI’s shortcomings as a computer display connector. DisplayPort is physically smaller, allows for higher resolution, improved refresh rates, and permits features like daisy chaining multiple displays. DisplayPort 1.2 natively supports 3,840×2,160 at 60Hz and was one of the first widely available display technologies to be able to do so.

That’s all folks.

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