If you’re considering building your own computer, you should have a basic understanding of the parts that make up your computer.
The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is the ‘brain’ of the computer. Currently, AMD and Intel are the only ones selling desktop CPUs.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is an extremely high-speed but volatile form of memory. Volatile means that RAM will only store data when power is supplied to it, but loses all data when power is off. Thus, it cannot be used to store your files and documents long-term.
It is used to store data that programs commonly use when they are running, so that it can be provided to the user at a quicker speed compared to reading off the HDD or SSD.
The HDD, or Hard Disk Drive, is a cheap storage medium. It uses magnets and rapidly spinning disks to read and write data. The main advantage of HDDs over SSDs is that they are a lot cheaper. They are commonly found in 3.5″ SATA form factor, though laptops mainly use 2.5″ HDDs. The speed of hard drives is commonly denoted by RPM (rotations per minute) – the higher the faster (but noisier). Common consumer drives spin between 5400 and 7200 RPM.
SSDs, or Solid State Drives, are a storage medium that utilise flash memory. They are superior to HDDs in sequential and random read/writes and are commonly used as the primary OS (Operating System) drive for faster boot times. SSDs are found in 2.5″ SATA or m.2 form factors. As they contain no spinning parts, they are quieter than HDDs.
The motherboard is where all the components of the PC are plugged into.
The PSU, or Power Supply Unit, is the component that transforms grid power into the voltage/amps that your computer components are expecting.
The GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is a specialised card that is used to drive your monitor display. Some CPUs will contain an integrated GPU which is enough for day to day cards. However, you will need a dedicated GPU if you are planning on playing graphically intensive games.