Building Blocks of a Computer

The ultra light, multipurpose and sleek Smartphones have come a long way from their ancestors the 50 ton ENIAC that was used to make calculations. The fist computer engineers could have only dreamed of what their groundbreaking inventions would evolve into after less than a century. A century’s worth of innovation  has created modern computers which all share many basic components.


The Mastermind 

The central processing unit (CPU) is in simple terms the brain of the computer. The CPU composed of complex sets of circuits used to converts data input into information output is made up of the arithmetic/logical unit and control unit. The arithmetic/logical unit carries out mathematical problems  and logical procedures (such as comparisons). While the control unit directs other parts of the computer to carry out operations.

In order for computers to execute and operation the instructions must first be already stored in the memory (To ride a bike you have to know how to do so prior to getting on). The control unit finds and reads the instructions from the memory, then directs those instructions to be followed by the arithmetic/ logical units. The arithmetic and/or logical unit follows the given instruction and stores the answers in the computer’s memory.

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Short Term Memory vs. Long Term Memory

In terms of computers the short-term memory can be likened to the RAM while the Hard Drive can be likened to long-term memory. RAM an acronym for random access memory stores the operating system and other data in current use. As long as the computer is in use the RAM can store data which makes it more accessible.

A hard drive holds all the data of the computer,  the hard disk is a physical part of the computer that holds the memory. Stored magnetically in multiple layered disk it can be accessed anytime due to its ability to spin quickly. RAM information after the computer closes or becomes too full is sent to the hard drive.


The monitor is the most used output device. LCD technology is commonly used for a lighter and greener alternatives. The projection surfaces are called screens, where information is actually displayed. Most modern LCD screens use a 15:9 ratio. Using primary additive colors the monitor depending on the bit depth processing abilities can display tens of millions of colors.


This is certainly not all of the components computers share, simply the basic components. As technology evolves ever so rapidly, so will these basic components becoming more complex and efficient. One day the computers used will be come as unrecognizable to modern users as modern computers are unrecognizable to the first computer engineers, all in the name of progress.



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