Basics of Computer: What is a Computer?

In an era captivated by technology, all we know about a computer is that it consists of a monitor, a case, and accessory components that help in typing documents, sending emails, browse on the internet, playing video games, and watching movies. But in this discourse, our arguments on the subject of what is computer are somehow very comprehensive. With the ever-expanding demands of this technological world, computers are now being used for cosmic purposes like creating and editing content, presentations, spreadsheets, and explanatory videos. Moreover, almost all the electronic devices in your home or working place recruit one specific type of computer system to complete their assignments.

Acknowledging the intricacy of this agile device, we consider the dire need to highlight its elements and the breathtaking scope of fundamental operations it can perform. However, it is worth mentioning that the term computer is not limited to the desktop setup we have known for decades; it covers a broad range of devices. Simply put, any programmable gadget capable of performing numerical calculations, receiving, manipulating, storing, reclaiming, and processing information, and delivering results as output is called a computer. It could be any device, even your smartphone or a system server.

Computer Overview

A glance at a desktop computer setup lets us know its broadness and complexity. The main elements include a System Unit, output devices like the speaker and the flat-panel display, and input devices like the keyboard and mouse. Some components are crucial to the performance of a computer, but they are not apparent from the outer side and reside inside the case and motherboard. All these physical components are called computer hardware, whether apparent from the outside or lodged inside. Conversely, the software is working machinery in a computer that directs the hardware, what task to perform and how to do it.

The entire operating framework of a computer relies on both these units, hardware and software. An example might help you clear this idea like you are reading this article on the webpage, which is your system’s software. And to open this page and scroll it down, you are using your mouse or touchpad, which is hardware. Therefore, the integrity of your setup, optimal performance, and steady connectivity are the key factors that can ensure an interruption-free working space.

History Of The Computer

The history of this digital device reveals how unique its nature, behavior, and action were at that time. The first device in the computer lineage was ENIAC, which stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, which employed vacuum tubes instead of transistors as transistors were not yet a part of human technological inventions. During World War 2, consistent efforts were made to develop this device in time and help the State in war. The device was designed to perform general tasks such as solving numerical calculations in lesser time.

Because of accommodating vacuum tubes, the size of ENIAC was quite large, sometimes up to the size of a room. Therefore, only universities, businesses, and government institutions could afford to keep and use them. With progressive improvements and the application of transistors, computers became cheaper and more accessible. Now, computer parts are so handy, lightweight, and affordable that almost everyone can have a setup in their home or workplace.

How Are Computers Used Today?

This electronic device makes our daily activities easy that could have gulped days if performed earlier and even now without a computer. With this tool, even the most arduous and complicated tasks become so simple that you can finish them in a few seconds or minutes. For example, you write an email, edit, check spelling errors, and print it out. You can also send these emails to anybody across the globe in just a few seconds. Moreover, the information and content people upload on the internet becomes accessible to everyone with just a few clicks of your mouse.

A computer has become an indispensable utility in almost all areas and fields of life. For instance, a brief description of computer applications includes managing finances in banks, making transactions and handling workers' data and jobs in businesses, communicating with people all across the world, encrypting data, and tracking people with the help of GPS in military defense. Education today has become tremendously digital because of increased dependence on the internet; therefore, every student’s access to a computer is crucial. However, the functions and applications of a computer are not limited to this list, and whatever we have mentioned here is just a tiny fraction of its duties.

What Components Make Up A Desktop Computer?

You might have known some older computer components, like a floppy disk drive, but technology has replaced or upgraded most of these units to resilient elements. Here we will only talk about the most trendy and integral components which fulfill the expanding needs of today’s ever-demanding arena. A detailed catalog of computer components includes;

What Parts Are Needed For A Computer To Work?

The complete list mentioned above is not required to make a computer fully operational. However, if all those parts are present, a computer is better able to deliver its services. Below we have highlighted the minimum elements without which a computer is merely a metal bag.

  1. CPU: The two key ingredients of a computer, hardware and software, both communicate and collaborate to deliver any job, and this credit goes to the processing ability of a CPU.

  2. Motherboard: This unit houses most computer components inside its case and offers plug-in ports for the rest of the peripheral elements. Thus, it serves as the liking platform for all the hardware elements and the flux of instructions.

  3. GPU: Some CPUs have integrated graphics, and you can run your PC without a dedicated GPU, but nowadays, CPUs mostly don’t come with integrated graphics, and you need to pair a dedicated GPU to meet your PC’s graphics requirements.

  4. Storage: A hard drive is the typical storage device used to stock up data permanently. However, the speed with which it redeems data and makes it approachable to the CPU is relatively slow and discouraging.

  5. Memory: The primary but temporary storage type, RAM, is way faster than a hard drive. This unit enables speedy access by the CPU to the information preserved in the storage capsule.

  6. Cooling Solution: We need to keep our PC cool. The cooling method has two different aspects: CPU cooling and drawing heat away from the components to let it work smoothly. There are two types of cooling systems called, air and liquid, and both of them have their pros and cons.

  7. Power Supply: Every PC component needs a specific amount of power to run, so the power supply is responsible for delivering the required power to each PC part.

Although these snippets can carry out all operations, a computer is supposed to perpetuate. But without input and output devices, you can not communicate with this minimal setup. An input element like a mouse helps instruct the computer, whereas an output element like a monitor is responsible for showcasing its duties visually.

Computer Connections

Computer connections lie on the back of the case, in the form of connectors and ports. However, their configuration and layout may be different in each device. These connections are named according to the purpose: Display port, HDMI, MIDI, DVI, SATA, FireWire, Modem, Parallel port, SCSI, PS/2 port, Serial port, VGA, Expansion slots, USB, and Sound card. One specific color is assigned to each connector to help users pinpoint the concerned port for each peripheral device. For example, the connector for mouse PS/2 is colored green, the keyboard is colored purple, and the monitor is kept white or blue.

Remember, not all connectors are designated with color; some are black, such as Ethernet, HDMI, and USB ports. Though the colors are the same, their shapes are different, which can be differentiated by carefully checking their build. While setting up your new computer, check out these color-coded ports, insert each module in its respective connector and turn on the system.

Types Of Computers

The typical old perception about computer devices does not hold any significance nowadays. Because what we imagine in our mind while uttering the word computer is limited to the desktop computers placed at our room desks. However, the vastness of devices that are termed computers is mind-boggling. Your laptop, smartphone, calculator, server, and tablet are all examples of computer units that perform the same computational functions as a desktop computer does. On the same ground, a desktop computer comes in multiple types, where each is built exclusively for a specific duty.

However, for ease of understanding, we divide a desktop computer into three broad brackets.

  • General-Purpose Computer
  • Special-Purpose Computer
  • Specialized Computer

General-Purpose Computer: This type can perform numerous general tasks like playing games, browsing the internet, writing and sending emails, and reading documents. As its capacity is non-specific and not restrained to a single liability, the manufacturing and configuration of a general-purpose computer are more complex and costly than a specialized one whose duties are a few in numbers. A detailed list of old and presently used general-purpose computers include;

Laptop, Notebook computer, Hybrid computer, Custom-build PC, Desktop computer, Mainframe, Gaming computer, Netbook, Microcomputer, Nanocomputer, PDA, Tablet, Smartphone, Server, Personal computer, Pre-built computer, and Quantum computer

Special-Purpose Computer: You can find this computer type almost everywhere, on all gadgets, performing a particular task. Therefore, it requires less cost and manufacturing effort to build this setup.

This type of computer is commonly embedded in each gadget or electronic system, with its units memory and processor having both input and output capabilities. For instance, a special-purpose computer controls one or all of its features in TVs, VCRs, DVDs, ATMs, microwaves, printers, and cars.

Specialized Computer: It is a more targeted and exclusive computer system whose construction style is more complicated than a special-purpose device. One such perfect example is a gaming console or a PlayStation that is fundamentally designed to play beastly video games. But in addition, it can also support some general features like browsing the internet, reading documents, and watching Netflix.

Who Makes Computers?

Nowadays, two notable computer types, the Mac and the PC, are ruling the technology. Several PC manufacturers include ASUS, Acer, ABS, Cray, Dell, DTK, ECS, Framework, Fujitsu, EVGA, GIGABYTE, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, Huawei, and many more. In addition, a person can put a computer together if he gets all its essential components and knowledge of handling them. On the other hand, Apple is the only manufacturer and designer of Mac devices and bears no competitor. However, comparing these two computer types is a hot debate that can never give any final verdict.


All the devices that can simplify human efforts and save time, manipulate and process information, and control almost every electronic setup fall under the umbrella of a computer. This catalog is intended to encapsulate all the basic outlines about the thread of what is computer and helps readers differentiate its several types. Although a computer system comprises many components, a minimum set is enough to make it operational. The rest of the elements are supplementary to the system performance and capacity and connect to the back of the PC case at a specific plug-in point.