Have you ever asked an electronics salesperson or computer technician a question and got a
reply that made you
say, "huh?" Something like, "what would it cost to make my computer run faster?", and the answer sounds
something like "well, if the flibbergibber has a quodget-linked DIPG and plenty of space in LD-REM, you might be able to
replace the glockernickel with a whatchaflack and get a faster response from the bowsenlarder...." (Entry Number
#111 in "things that make you go 'hmmm' ") |
Unlike "Star Trek," your computer isn't a living entity. Yet, thinking of it that way may help when it comes to understanding your computer's components, the things that affect performance. The answers to questions like "can I upgrade this machine, and how much will it cost," and even understanding things you read in "help" or on the web, might become a little easier.
So, in this article, we'll compare your computer to someone you know and understand quite a bit about: YOU. So, think for a minute about the wonderful way in which you were created, and hang on for a crazy, but hopefully enlightening, tale....
I - The electronic servant Think of your computer, now, as a 'servant-person.' (Remember, JUST for the purposes of this article.) He's a person you can order around and cause to do things for your benefit, without worrying about his feelings or rights. Let's start at the top --- you are looking at his face --- the monitor. Just like your face, everyone can read some of what it says---depending on what's on the screen, an experienced person can read quite a bit more. Also, just like your face, there is often a lot going on inside the computer that will never be read on the monitor. Also, note this: the "brain" is not behind the face...more on that later. The computer's sensory inputs---its "eyes" and "ears"---are the mouse and the keyboard. Actually, the mouse & keyboard are a little more like putting your hands on the computer and making it do what you want --- kind of like demonstrating proper hand-washing to a toddler, you basically do it for him/her.) .. .. (We manipulate the mouse and keyboard to create input and give our "servant" his orders. He can also have other inputs---scanners, cameras, microphones, etc. His sensory and physical outputs, (besides the above-mentioned monitor) and the other devices like speakers, printers, CD-writers, etc. We can think of the outputs as "arms," "legs," "hands," etc. --- these are the things that actually do some useful work for us (occasionally, anyways...) Now, down to brass tacks --- the heart, mind, and all other internal organs of our "servant" are inside the main box, or case, what some people call the CPU. (It's not really the 'CPU', strictly speaking...read on!) The case contains the motherboard, to which are attached: a] the main processor chip (which is really the CPU - 'central processing unit'), b] the main memory (RAM - random access memory), c] one or more hard disk drives (HDD) and d] various peripheral "cards" to help the "nervous system" (all those wires) run the inputs and outputs (hands, eyes, ears, etc)..... It's what goes on inside the case that allows our 'servant' to do his work. And this is where the rest of our discussion lies....Stay tuned!!