As a PC technician, it is very important that you understand the common components of a computer. The following table contains the three basic elements that make up a computer:
|Hardware||The physical components that work together to make a computer system or network. Hardware components include:
|Software||Computer programs that perform specific tasks. Software components include:
|Firmware||Software that has been permanently placed in a hardware component. An example of firmware is a BIOS chip.|
Computers perform the functions listed in the following table:
|Input||The process of sending data to the computer. Input devices include:
|Processing||The event of a program being loaded, retrieved, transmitted, or executed. Major processing components include:
|Storage||The act of keeping or maintaining data. Storage devices include:
|Output||The process of the computer presenting, displaying, or otherwise giving data. Output devices include:
|Networking and Communications||Networking is a specialized form of input and output that entails using media (cable) and devices (routers, switches) to link multiple computers into an interconnected unit.|
Modern PC repair and maintenance is facilitated by increasing componentization and standardization.
- Because of componentization, a working PC is a combination of many different parts. Each component, also called a Field-Replaceable Unit (FRU), can be replaced when faulty or upgraded to provide additional functionality. Replacing a single component is cheaper than replacing the entire PC. And in most cases, replacing the component is easier and cheaper than repairing the component.
- Because of standardization, components from many different manufacturers are interchangeable. As long as the component meets the standards, you can be reasonably confident that it will work in the system.