A Basic Guide to Computing: Hardware

If you are about to make your very first investment in computer hardware, it can seem very confusing, with many buzzwords that you have probably never heard of. It is a good idea to have a basic understanding of how a computer works and with that in mind, here are some basics about computing.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The CPU is very much the heart of the computer, which processes data using several avenues, or cores, as they are known. The two major brands are Intel and AMD, both offer very fast CPUs that range from single to quad core properties, and at the time of writing this article, the Intel Core i9 is the best available, while the AMD flagship processor is also lightning quick.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

You can buy RAM from JIB, a leading Thai supplier of computer hardware components, but make sure the bus speed is compatible for your motherboard. The starting amount of RAM for a PC or laptop is 4Gb, while most machines will have 8 or even 16Gb RAM chips, which slot into the motherboard. RAM is used by the operating system (OS) to temporarily store data when opening and closing applications and doing other things.

Video Card (VGA)

This component is responsible for sending the data to the monitor and for gamers, they expect to have minimal latency, using a fan-cooled VGA card with around 8Gb of memory. Nvidia do the best video cards and their GEOFORCE GTX series is very popular, bringing lightning speed response.


Also called the mainboard, this is a complex piece of kit that houses all the peripheral components such as:

  • SDD, HDD – Drives to store data.
  • RAM Chips
  • VGA Card
  • CPU
  • Sound Card
  • Cooling Fans
  • Power Supply

The mainboard is an expensive component and if you are going to replace yours, make sure the new model is fully compatible with the system.

Sound Card

Some computers operate sound-on-board, which means the sound component is built into the mainboard, while you can achieve digital sound using a Creative Soundblaster card, which you can order from the online PC component supplier. If you have yet to download and install WhatsApp, here are a few good reasons why you should.

Regarding hardware maintenance, it is a good idea to have a local computer repair store blow out the inside using a can of compressed air, as the interior gets very dirty and dusty. In the event a hardware component fails, unless you happen to know which component has failed, you should take the computer to a local repair shop and they would be happy to diagnose the issue.

IT hardware develops very quickly and when you invest in a laptop or tablet, you really should choose a hi-end machine, as this will be good for 3-4 years of hard use. If you buy a low-spec computer, it will be obsolete in a couple of years and you don’t want to upgrade after such a short time. You might only wish to surf the Internet, in which case a PC with low-specs would be fine.

If you prefer, you can build your own desktop PC, simply order all of the components online and with some online help in the form of ‘how to’ videos, there’s no reason why you can’t build your own PC.