Look Inside Your Computer

What We'll Learn

  1. Three important components inside your computer
  2. How to check "under the hood" of your computer
  3. Using this information to buy a computer

What's Going on Inside 

This video describes what goes on inside a computer:

Three Important Parts 

Knowing a bit about these three parts is important to understand how your computer works.  It's also helpful when comparing computers when considering a purchase.  Often, if you purchase a software program, it will specify the minimum requirements and refer to these aspects of your computer.
  1. CPU - The Brain
    • Central Processing Unit - Controls and manages all the activity
    • Measured by size and speed (Hertz = Cycles per second)

  2. Hard Disk Drive - Filing Cabinet
    • Stores all the information on your computer  
    • Measured by storage size (Bytes = space required to store a single letter)

  3. RAM - Workbench
    • Random Access Memory - Temporary working area for information in use
    • Measured by storage size (Bytes = space required to store a single letter)
It's helpful to know a bit about the Metric System when talking about these three items.

 Kilo  1 Thousand  1,000
 Mega      1 Million  1,000,000
 Giga  1 Billion  1,000,000,000
 Tera  1 Trillion  1,000,000,000,000

Exercise 1 - Looking Under the Hood

You can easily learn a little about the details of the CPU and storage in your computer.  Here's how:

For Windows XP 

  1. Click on Start
  2. Right-mouse-click on My Computer
  3. Click on Properties
You will see the CPU speed and amount of RAM similar to the picture below:

Windows Vista / Windows 7.0 

  1. Click on Start Icon
  2. Right-mouse-click on Computer
  3. Click on Properties
The screen with similar information is pictured below:

Exercise 2 - Buying a Computer

Knowing about these three parts is very helpful if you are buying a new computer.  Let's have a look:
  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Go to www.staples.ca
  3. Search for Computers and click Go
  4. Observe how the computers are described - Identify the three components in the descriptions
  5. Pick a computer you might like to buy
  6. Use Google Search  to search for the following:
    • Computer Brand and Model Reviews   (replace the Computer Brand and Model with the specifics from your ad)
  7. Read what others say about this computer