Horizontal Subnav w/ CSS & jQuery


This is a more advanced explanation of computer components, this page is designed for those who have an interest in computers and would like to better understand basic terminology and the function of its core components. This page might seem pretty useless to you, but we call ourselves "Th3 techies" and therefore we (Aidsman) have an obgliation to present this information.

Section 1: Processors

The CPU or Central Processing Unit, what does it do? I suppose it processes stuff. Correct! but the way the CPU functions is quite an amazing technological acclomplishment. As a Computer Engineer this computer component is my personal favorite. At a very basic level everything you do on your computer, a mouse click, typing on your keyboard, etc is simply an input to your computer. You are telling your computer you want to type out the sentence "Corey is the best". However, before we dive into how a processor works, there are some fundamentals we need to cover first.

(talk about differences between, silica, silicon, and silicone) You have probably heard the terms "semi-conductor" or "transistor", this is the fundamental level of a processor. A semi-conductor is made up of silicon material, at the atomic level silicon is a stable and uniform material, stable meaning its outer electron shell is full making it unable to accept electrons and electricly meaning that this will not conduct electricity. However, silicone is a synthetic substance made by "doping" the silicon material. By chemically doping silicon we can create two types of junctions a "N Type" material (negative) meaning it has more electrons and is willing to donate, and a "P Type" material, meaning it wants to accept electrons. When we put N and P type material next to each other we create a diode, an electrical component that generally operates in the "forward bias" direction; or simply electrons flow from the N type to the P type. So we can pass current in one direction, why is this relevent to us?

Well the next logical thing to do is to string a whole bunch of these diodes together. When we place N-P or P-N junctions together we have what we call a transistor. Which simply, is a bunch of semi-conductors arraged in a way that will pass electrons differently based on the orientation. Early, applications of this are amplifier circuts that were used in early radios. A beautiful application in computing is these devices are such low power they can be used as electrical switches which brings us to logical circuits.

Computer logic is based on binary, a set of conditions or statements will be evauluated and set to true or false depending on the configuration. The correct name for this is Boolean logic circuits, meaning the resultant of a circuit will evaluate to true or false; 1 or 0. Using these logical circuits we can create gates (I should explain gates at some point)

Our final step is to combine these logical circuits, using billions of transistors (now a current cpu can have as much as 10 billion transistors) we have an extrememly complicated logic machine that preform calculations in nano seconds. This corrosponds to the clock speed. Processors are advertised based on their clock speed. You may see something like 4GHz, clock speed is measured in Hertz which corrospond to clock cycles. Without getting into too much jargan a processor with a higher clock speed can preform more instructions per second; that 4 GHz processor can process one thousand million or one billion instructions per second.

Section 2: Motherboard

Motherboard, its that giant plate of circuitry that takes up most of the space in your computer. The printed circuit board (PCB) is used to connect the most crucial components of your computer together. A common analogy is if the processor (cpu) is the brain of the computer than the motherboard is the nervous system, it connects the brain to the rest of the computer components

capacitors are an importatnt part of any electrical circuit, the capacitors will help with voltage spikes. Many of the componnts on the motherboard require different voltages. Power supply may deliver voltage in spikes, in order to avoid damage to the board capaictors buffer this input to provide a constant voltage throughout