A computer is composed of components in the same way that the body is composed of organs, working together to make the body or computer function. A basic computer has several key components which include a computer case or tower, motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), random access memory (RAM), hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), as well as a power supply unit (PSU). The computer case encloses and holds all the necessary hardware required to store and process data on the computer, whilst the motherboard ensures that the hardware inside the computer can communicate with each other.
Processors help to power and accelerate devices and applications
Of the key components, a CPU, also called a central processor, is responsible for processing and executing instructions that make up a computer program. The GPU, also called graphics card or video card, is a specialized electronic circuit that accelerates the creation and rendering of images, video, and animations. GPUs have evolved to handle a growing range of applications, including crypto mining and machine learning tasks. One such example is the use of GPUs in the training and running of generative AI applications such as ChatGPT. The leading vendors in the GPU market are Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, producing GPUs that can perform fast calculations while freeing the CPU to perform other tasks.
Memory and storage imperatives for data reliability and security
Computer memory refers to the physical devices which are used to store data or programs for use in a computer. Primary storage allows for the short-term storage of data: information is retained for immediate use and is directly accessible by the CPU, usually until the main device is reset or turned off. The primary memory of a computer is called RAM, with the two most used forms of modern RAM being static RAM (SRAM) and dynamic RAM (DRAM). The global DRAM market generated around 20 billion U.S. dollars each quarter in 2022, with Samsung being the largest manufacturer of DRAM in terms of revenues.
Secondary storage, either in the form of HDDs, SSDs, flash drives, or other longer-term storage devices, records and holds data indefinitely, even when the main device is unpowered. NAND flash memory is a type of non-volatile storage that does not require power to retain data.
Computer peripherals help to enhance the computer's functionality
In addition to components within the computer, peripheral devices form an important part of the computer hardware market. A computer peripheral is any external device that provides input and/or output for the computer. For example, a keyboard and mouse are input peripherals, while a PC monitor and printer are output peripherals. The hardcopy peripherals market, which includes printers and copiers, is dominated by vendors such as HP, Canon, and Epson.
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