Till now I have been revolving around the computer hardware as a whole. Now I am going to enter into the basic parts of the computer. They are divided into two categories.

1. Basic or Internal

2. External

Basic or internal components are nothing but the components that are inside the cabinet such as processor, motherboard, RAM, graphics card and Hard disk drive.

UPS, monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, gamepad, steering wheel, portable hard disk drive etc. are the external components of the computer.

Recent trends in Basic components of a computer

Over a decade, the basic components haven’t changed much. Only the hard disk is currently replaced by SSD, solid state drive. Solid state drives are much faster than present hard disk drives. SSD improves Windows boot time, an application opening time, etc.

Since SSD is costlier than hard disk drive (HDD) it’s not a perfect solution for our storage systems, but still we are in need of a faster computer, so we can buy a smaller capacity SSD, for the size of about 60 GB. We can install the OS (operating system – eg: Windows 7) and other important or frequently opened software such as Microsoft Office in that SSD and other things can be stored in our HDD (Hard disk drive). This gives us speed and is also a cost effective solution.

Another recent change in the basic components is that the integrated graphics from motherboard has got shifted to the processor. AMD (Processor Manufacturer – Advanced Micro Devices) calls it as APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). This concept has been implemented from AMD Llano APU (A Processor). Present generation of AMD APU is called Trinity. We shall get more into this later.

Recent changes in the external components of a computer

Let’s start from monitors. Monitors have got lot of changes, from CRT to LED or OLED. But I am not going to talk about that in this stage. I like to talk to you about the alternatives that replaced the monitor. Since monitors are not so large, (We shall discuss about Multi-Monitors later in ‘What is a Monitor?’ section) they are replaced by projectors in some areas, such as presentations, multimedia theatres etc.

Projectors are very costly; they need dark environment and have low resolution compared to present day monitors. But they are portable, compared to monitors and are capable of projecting the image in a very large size. At homes we may not need them, but they are very essential in business needs.

I wish to share some interesting stuff for gamers now. Most of the households think that they don’t afford to buy a gamepad. So they use keyboards and mouse for gaming. But nowadays you can get a gamepad for around Rs. 350, of course not a branded one. Some steering wheels are also available for around Rs. 1000.

Most parents may ask me, “What’s the actual use of those things?”

This answer is for them. Present day computer games are life like games. It teaches your son/ daughter to face failures. It also brings perseverance for success within them.

Let me tell you a fact that happened in my life. I was a fan of Microsoft’s famous ‘Midtown Madness’ game during my school days. It’s actually a simple car game that allows us to drive cars using mouse. The main advantage of using mouse over keyboard is that you can turn at any desired angle such as 10°, 35°etc which is not possible in keyboard. At that time, I didn’t know car driving in my real life.

A few years back my friend had bought a car and brought it to my home, to show it to me. He was in the beginning stage of learning car driving by that time. We drove in a road, for around 5kms. Then suddenly he asked me to drive back to home. But I hadn’t even sat on a car driver’s seat before that. Then I sat on it, watched the rear view mirror and started to move the car. I drove it at around 50 kmph to home.

Do you know, what helped me?

Yes of course! ‘Midtown Madness’.

These games are called simulation games, where you can simulate real life events. Nowadays, you can use steering wheels, if you do so, then there will be no difference between actual driving and game.

Tomorrow we are going to see about processors. Yes, similar to our ‘Day 1 – What is a computer?’ But this is going to be ‘What is a processor?’ With that we are going to enter into the core part of our programme.