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The Motherboard

The motherboard holds the most important parts of the computer. There are many lines on a motherboard, all of which are wires to transport information and data to the parts of the computer.

The Processor

The processor (pictured right) is located on the motherboard under a fan. It is necessary to keep the processor cool because it contains over a billion logic gates that work very fast. The speed of the processor is regulated by crystals (depicted below) attached to the motherboard. Without the fan, the processor would be at risk of overheating.

The processor carries out the instructions of computer programs using logic gates. 103b-ax-crystal.jpg

The Memory

The memory is located on the motherboard. The capacity of storage is measured in gigabytes. A gigabyte is one billion bytes. Other common byte multiples include:

  • 1 kilobyte = 1,000 bytes
  • 1 megabyte = 1,000,000 bytes
  • 1 gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes
  • 1 terabyte = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes

Most computers have 2-8 gigabytes of memory. The memory is where programs are stored when the computer is on. The memory pictured at right is the random access memory, or RAM. The RAM, as the name explains, can call upon any data stored in it in any order. It doesn't have to be used in the order that it's stored.


The Hard Disk

Since the memory needs electricity, it can only hold data when the computer is turned on. When the computer is off,
another place of storage must be used. Computers use a hard disk for this task: it maintains all the computer's data while it is off. It is able to do this using magnetic technology rather than electricity. The capacity of hard disks range from gigabytes to terabytes.

The Battery

Inside a computer is a small battery. This battery is necessary for maintaining the computer while it is turned off. It keeps track of the date and time so this information is readily available when the computer is turned on.