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The Computer: How It Is Made, How It Works, How To Improve It

A computer is indispensable for work and entertainment. Let’s find out how one of the most revolutionary inventions ever is made and how it works. A Personal Computer has become one of the indispensable tools for entertainment and productivity. Robust, reliable and with ever smaller dimensions, they represent one of the most popular consumer technologies in the world. The evolutionary path that led to the birth of the current idea of ​​computers was long and had its roots in the wisdom of ancient tools designed to solve human problems. Today the spread of these machines is undisputed (and indisputable). The PC still has the task of solving questions of a different nature that crowd users’ lives daily.

What Is A Computer

The term computer derives from the English verb “To compute” and means to compare or compare to obtain the net sum. In the past, it referred to a person performing specific calculations. The first modern use of the term dates back to the second half of the 1940s, but it will take a decade before it becomes commonplace. The contemporary meaning describes an electronic machine that receives, transmits and stores information of a different nature and solves complex questions quickly and reliably. This discourse refers to the theory of computational complexity, a branch of computability theory that deals with studying the minimum resources necessary for solving a given problem. 

A computer is a machine designed to solve complex operations and issues in the shortest possible time, helping humans to carry out these tasks. Today, when we think of a computer, we generally refer to a tool designed for work and entertainment, consisting of hardware and a software compartment to meet the user’s needs. With the progress of technology, man is increasingly surrounded by these machines, which, thanks to tiny dimensions, are becoming part of everyday life, as in the case of smartphones, for example. In the following paragraphs, we will discover the history, types and characteristics that make computers in the modern meaning of the term.

Types Of Computers On The Market

On the market, different types of computers are designed specifically for general users and for more specific ones. Among these, we find: The personal computer that can be fixed (or Desktop) and portable. The first category represents all those home or office devices designed not to be used on the move. The second, on the other hand, represents tools such as notebooks, netbooks, tablets and convertibles that have been designed for use anywhere as long as you have a charged battery or a power outlet nearby. Generally, these two types of devices are used for entertainment and the needs of the general user; they have average hardware features and are available at relatively affordable prices.

In the case of work-specific PCs, the components can vary according to use and become more or less particular. A supercomputer is a device that guarantees high computing power and is mainly used for operations in the scientific and technological fields. A mainframe, also called a central system, is a machine with a very high level of performance and is used for managing a distributed system or large computer systems, such as data centers. A server guarantees information, data, services or resources to devices connected to it, which are defined as clients. This type of computer is the basis of the current functioning of the Internet.

The Main Hardware Components Of The PC

Among the essential components of a computer is the power supply, which has the task of powering the machine. It connects to the power socket and, through various cables, will power the multiple parts of the device. The motherboard is an essential part of a computer and is the one to which all the different components are connected. Its task is to manage the current received from the power supply and sort it among all the various peripherals by putting them in communication with each other. The processor can be considered the heart of the PC; without this, everything else would be unusable; its function is to process the received data and send it to all the other components so that they can do the job for which they were designed. 

Over time the processors have become so advanced and performing that they are integrated into a single printed circuit that takes the name of a microprocessor. Inside is the CPU that has the task of carrying out the calculations for the operations in execution. A computer contains all the best technology on the market, representing, in fact, one of the most complex tools available to users. Next to the CPU, we find the GPU, also known as the video card, which manages and processes everything the user sees on the screen. This communicates directly with the processor by transmitting data to the monitor

In some cases, the video card is already integrated into the motherboard or on the microprocessor; in the most potent machines or designed for specific tasks, however, we find it as an independent device. The sound card takes care of the promising sector and allows the user to listen to the sounds coming from applications and web pages. Generally, it is integrated into the CPU, while in more specific cases, it can be a separate component (even external) ensuring top-level performance. The RAM (Random Access Memory) acts as an intermediary between the hard disk and the processor cache to speed up operations. Its particularity is that of a volatile memory, which stores information only as long as it receives power. When the PC is shut down, all of its contents are deleted.

The hard drive is responsible for holding all personal data and information. On it, we also find the operating system and all installed programs. In a nutshell, it represents the storage space on your computer on which all critical files are saved. There are two hard disks: the mechanical disk that works through arms and heads and the SSD (or solid-state) built with several small electrically charged memories. The second type is the most modern and offers the best performance. The network card allows the user to access the Internet or connect to an internal network. It can be wired via Ethernet or wireless with classic Wi-Fi. This peripheral is already integrated into modern devices such as notebooks and similar but could be sold separately in desktop PCs.

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PC External Hardware Components

The monitor is the output device par excellence and is essential to a PC as it allows the user to see everything that happens. They come in different sizes and features and can be connected to any computer, including laptops, to extend the integrated screen. The mouse and touchpad interface with the operating system, allowing the user to move within the various programs. Thanks to this peripheral, with a few simple movements, you can make the most of your computer’s potential. Next to the mouse is the keyboard, another fundamental input component. Its function is related to text entry, but it also allows you to use particular operating system settings. 

The webcam is designed to take photos, record videos or participate in online video calls, showing the user on the other side of the screen. In laptops, the webcam is integrated into the display, as in modern monitors; if not, it can be purchased separately and easily connected via USB. External peripherals allow you to add components to your PC by simply connecting them through one of the various ports installed on it. Scanners/printers/faxes/copiers are usually integrated into a single multifunction tool that guarantees all these uses in a small device. Printers and copiers have the task of reproducing text files, images and the like on paper. 

On the other hand, the scanner takes care of acquiring a paper image by converting it into a digital one. Among these, the “rarest” tool is the fax, a technology gradually disappearing. Speakers and headphones are output devices used to reproduce sounds from the PC; they are connected directly to the sound card and ensure that all multimedia files and incoming notifications are heard. Among the external devices, we also find external hard drives or removable USB memories, which allow you to add additional storage space to your computer and, in addition, are easily transportable to always have all the necessary data available. Graphics tablets are peripherals that allow you to draw by hand on the PC; they generally have specific uses and are “reserved” for professionals dealing with graphics and design.

Computer Cables: Types And Uses

USB cables have now become a standard for connecting most peripherals to the computer and transferring data quickly. Currently, USB 2.0, 3.0 and USB-C are available on most modern machines, designed to ensure fast and reliable transfers. We can find the classic audio jack inputs used for earphones or external speakers, which still represent the most used connectors ever. As for the video, however, the old VGA has left room for modern HDMI, which also incorporates audio. These new high-definition connections guarantee full compatibility with screens and projectors and flawless video rendering, effectively representing the new standard for multimedia connections.

Although most modern computers have almost turned to Wi-Fi connections, there is no shortage of ports for the Ethernet cable, the most used model in the world. Alongside these wired systems, there are many others which, however, have been almost entirely supplanted by the new models mentioned above. A “modern” computer or one purchased in the last ten years is generally equipped with USB ports, HDMI input, Ethernet and jack cable input.

How To Do Maintenance On Your PC

To always have an efficient and fast computer, some simple maintenance activities can be carried out regularly. The first is the backup of the most critical files; for those who often work on the PC, it is essential to create a copy of the hard disk content, and it is advisable to do this daily. Another tip for people who use their computer a lot is to turn it off completely to fix performance issues. The advice is aimed at those who keep the machine on for days (or weeks) without allowing the RAM to be emptied. Weekly it is advisable to clean up unnecessary files; in this sense, you can proceed by manually deleting all new documents or images or using a cleaning program such as CCleaner. 

With a few simple clicks, the software will automatically delete the files that are no longer used and the temporary ones, freeing up precious space on the hard disk. Another tip is to uninstall unnecessary programs; it is a procedure that takes very little time but which can lead to significant benefits, especially in terms of space. Keeping a PC efficient requires simple care and maintenance activities that can make a difference in machine life and performance. Performing a full antivirus scan at least once a week is a way to protect your computer and verify that there are no threats in the system. You can easily use the Windows security panel or, for those who want a deep scan, choose one of the many antiviruses / antimalware available for free on the net. 

Updating programs and the operating system is also an excellent solution to keep your PC always efficient. System updates are generally performed automatically, but it is always advisable to check from the Windows Control Panel. On the other hand, updates to programs and applications must be manually controlled by the notifications that appear to the user each time the software in question is opened. The last suggestion to have a computer always performing is disk defragmentation, which significantly improves the machine’s performance. From the “Tools” panel of the hard disk, it is possible to check and, if necessary, start the defragmentation procedures, an operation that should be performed at least once a month.

What Is A Computer Upgrade?

Upgrading a computer replaces all those components that define its performance and characteristics with newer and more powerful models. An operation that is not too complex but requires a minimum of manual skills and knowledge of the hardware sector. Therefore, if you do not have these two requirements, it is always advisable to contact a professional. Generally, these operations are unique to desktop computers which allow easy assembly of additional components. In laptops, it is practically impossible to replace some parts, and, especially in the most recent models, it becomes even more complex due to some solutions to hermetically “seal” everything. The first two items that can be changed in a PC are the RAM and the hard disk. 

The first is sold in rectangular-shaped slats that can be easily replaced even in laptops, where you need to locate the appropriate compartment and insert the new cards in place of the old ones. The hard drive is a more complex procedure that often requires disassembling the entire machine and swapping the old hard drive with a modern SSD. Be careful because doing so will lose all data and the operating system. Performing a hardware upgrade is a procedure that allows you to rejuvenate your PC as long as you are familiar with the world of electronics and computer hardware components.

In both cases, it is advisable to check the compatibility of the new devices purchased, constantly checking that they are supported by the computer, especially if it is an outdated machine. In stationary PCs, the user can evaluate the idea of ​​changing the processor, especially in the case of an obsolete model. Before proceeding, you must also check that the new processor is compatible with the slot on the motherboard. The last device to be replaced is the video card, essential for those who use programs that need more power in the graphics sector or for those who use the PC as a gaming platform.

There are thousands of cards on the market, with different price ranges. Before buying one, you need to check the compatibility of the new model with the motherboard and the power of the power supply available. We remind you again that replacing the CPU and the video card can only be carried out on fixed PCs and by competent users. With these small tricks, it is possible to “rejuvenate” an obsolete computer without spending exorbitant amounts; the only suggestion is always to check that the old PC supports the new elements and if the price of the single one is more advantageous than buying a new machine.

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