The Parts of a Computer

Some parts of a computer are required while others are optional.  The most important computer component is the motherboard.  Every component plugs into it in one way or another, don't forget this when you buy, you do get what you pay for.  Picking an Asus or Gigabyte board will save you headaches both at building time and down the road.

I see a ton of computer builds that buy discount or refurbished parts and expect it to run like a high end computer.  Please, take the time to find the components with brand names that have what you want.  This will ensure that you have a great computer for years to come.  Doing this will have the computer outdating before it dies instead of the other way around.


From all the parts of a computer, the motherboard is the most important, this is where we'll start.  All of your system specifications are determined by the motherboard.  To pick one, I start by selecting which CPU I want, then, I find a motherboard the will accommodate that CPU.  Then the rest of the components are picked based on what the motherboard supports.

If you need to update any of the drivers for your motherboard, we can find out how to identify your motherboard, then just head to the manufacturers website to download the latest drivers or tools.



The choice is completely yours when picking out your CPU or Central Processing Unit.  From all the parts of a computer this is the most basic computer part for most people, and the engine that determines how fast your PC will go.  Since overheating the CPU is a possibility, don't forget a proper heat sink and thermal compound to keep it nice and cool.   Not only is it more reliable, but a good cooler will help your system last longer, plus it will give you the option to overclock if your motherboard supports it.  Picking the best CPU can be tricky if you're doing it for the first time.  I'll share the tricks I use to help you get the most for whatever budget you have in mind.  As far as parts of a computer go, this is one of my favorite parts to pick, and one of the easiest to install.

Hard Drive

How many storage do you want?  The Hard Drives are the parts of a computer that will determine how much data, or files, your computer can hold.  Although not thought of as providing any speed, the hard drive is responsible for more speed of the computer than you might think.

Small files, like word files or emails don't even really count.  Picture and music files are medium sized at about 3MB to 10MB.  Finally large files like movie files, are anywhere from 600MB to 2000MB or 2GB.  This can give you a general guideline as to how much storage you want to buy.  You can have a single drive in a computer, or hook up multiples to increase storage or have them work together for more speed.

The newest technology here is the invention of the solid state hard drive, they are much faster than traditional style hard drives for a simple reason, there are no more moving parts.  How much faster or better are they, take a look at the SSD vs hard disk to find out more.


Next in the parts of a computer is RAM. It is the computer part that provides the get up and go.  Information that is used often by the computer is stored here and is available at the flick of a switch.  Finding the best RAM and knowing what the RAM timing need to be set at are crucial in making your computer reliable.

Video Card

The GPU or Graphics Processing Unit, often just called a Video Card is the part of a computer that will determine how many images, and the quality of display you will see on your Monitor.  If you run any 3D applications, A video card is much more important than if you just use it to open emails and surf the web.  As you can see in the picture my personal choice is the BFG video card.

Sound Card

The Best Sound Cards are the computer part that will determine the quality of sound that goes to your speakers, and how many speakers you can have.   Most computer motherboards are starting to include this part of a computer as a built in part.  If you are really picky, you may want to upgrade, but generally speaking, the defaults are already very good.

DVD-Roms and Blu-Ray

Now add on a DVD-Rom or Blu-Ray Rom so you can watch movies and play CDs from it.  Plus this way you can also easily install Windows and any other software you buy.  

Computer Network Card

The Computer Network Card lets you connect your computer to other computers, or to the Internet.  These days most Motherboards come with a built in Network Card, if it does not, you will need this to connect other computers, either on a local area network, or the internet.

Computer Case

Everything goes into it, and most people refer to it as your tower, or even the computer.  The computer case is the briefcase that holds all your parts securely in place.

Now it's only a matter of  connecting the power supplyinstalling Windows, then you know how to build a computer using the parts of a computer.  

Optional Parts Of A Computer

All the parts below I consider optional because you don't require any of them to have a working computer.

USB Drive

usb driveThese are especially effective if you need to quickly move files from one computer to another that are not connected by a network.  I also often use a USB Jump Drive to store files which I want to backup.  They work just like another drive on a computer, and they are plug and play.  With a high capacity and a compact size, they're a really nice portable storage.

External Hard Drive

Another good alternative if a USB drive doesn't offer enough storage, the part of a computer you'll be after is an external hard drive, or if you prefer, get a USB hard drive case and make your own.  Almost all of them are plug and play and hold a lot of information.  Just make sure if you're looking at getting one for portability, that it does not require an external power source.

Human Interaction Parts Of A Computer

Parts often overlooked when picking out the parts of a computer are things like the mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers.  I would urge you not to do the same.  These are the parts that you actually interact with.  Picking out these components can really change how productive you are, and how much you like using your computer.

Computer Mouse

Whether it's point and click to open a program, or if you need to get the fastest response to maximize your gaming experience.  I never realized how much more I could enjoy using my computer until I got a computer mouse that I really like.  For me wire, ball mice are a thing of the past, and something that can stay with the initial invention.  A cordless optical is a must.  

Computer Keyboard

Even more important than a mouse when it comes to enjoying your computer experience is the computer keyboard.  Once you feel comfortable with a keyboard, it will let you type effortlessly.  Music controls, and volume dials built in just help to make it the master control panel for your workstation.  If you want to go with a wireless keyboard, let me give you some tips to help you get the best one.  If you don't know how to type, or would like to take some time at learning the computer keyboard we'll try to look after you as well.


Although it's probably the first thing that catches your eye and lets you know a computer is there, from a hardware point of view, I have it last because it's not something that will effect the speed of the computer.  That being said, picking the best computer monitor for your budget is still very important, simply because you need to like what you look at.

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Updated October 14 2013

My Core Computer Part Picks

Internal Computer Components