1.8 - Additional Components

A computer cannot function with just a CPU alone. The following hardware can also be found inside nearly every computer device:

 

Motherboard

The motherboard is the main circuit board of a computer, unique for each device.

 

Components such as the CPU and ROM are directly attached to the motherboard.

 

The motherboard has expansion slots for additional cards (i.e. sound cards) and ports (i.e. USB).

 

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

A GPU is a processor that produces graphical images to be displayed on a monitor.

There are two types of GPU, integrated GPUs within the motherboard circuitry or dedicated GPUs on an additional card (known as a  'graphics card').

An integrated GPU is cheaper and generates less power because it uses the RAM of the computer. Integrated GPUs are used for laptops as they create less heat and are used for general computing uses (e.g. web browsing or watching movies). 

A dedicated GPU is more expensive because it contains its own memory and generates more heat, often requiring a fan. Dedicated cards are used by animation professionals and professional gamers who demand the best graphics.

 

Optical Storage

Sound Card

Sound cards convert analogue sound waves into digital data (binary) when inputting audio through a microphone.

Sound cards also convert digital data (binary) into analogue sound waves to output audio through speakers or headphones.

 

Sound cards can also be integrated onto the motherboard or as an additional 'card'.

Questo's Corner

Additional Components:

a. State the purpose of each of the three additional components above.

b. Explain the difference between integrated and dedicated cards.

c. Where are expansion cards connected in a computer system?

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