Chapter 3 - System Component Overview

2023-03-14 732 words 4 mins read

Chapter 3 - System Component Overview.

This article is Chapter 3 in the CompTIA A+ certification course on that teaches a System Component Overview of computers.

Processors and CPUs

Processors and Operating systems are the Workhorse of the computer.

Processor & CPU.

• Processors and CPUs

  • Brains in the computer
  • Allow it to perform many tasks fast
  • Processor performs calculations based on a request from Operating System, which controls access to system memory

• Processing speeds

  • Speed or power of a processor
  • Calculated in Megahertz, Gigahertz, or Millions of instructions per second

• Operating systems and controls

  • Control the tasks that a computer carries out.
  • Manages software and hardware resources of the computer

This diagram shows how data input flows from a processor to produce an output that is then stored in memory.

Input to Output to Storage.

Many ancillary or supportive devices help make these processes happen such as:

• Input Devices

  • Card readers
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse

• Output Devices

  • Monitor
  • Printer

• Storage Devices

  • Hard Drives
  • RAM
  • Tapes

Power Supplies

• Power supply voltage requirements

  • Convert 120V of alternating current from the electrical outlet and convert it to the necessary voltage for the computer.

Each device requires a different type of voltage requirement.

• 3.3V

  • Less common, found internally in the computer

• 5V

  • Less common, found internally in the computer

• 12V

  • Most common

Storage Devices

Storage Devices 1. Storage Devices 2.
Storage Devices 1. Storage Devices 2.

• Hard drives

  • Most common

• Magnetic tapes

  • Used for archiving data

• Flash drives

  • Thumb drives, zip-drives for quick memory transfer data

• Solid-state drives

  • Use a flash-type memory to store data.
  • Computer memory is a solid-state storage medium, like random access memory.
  • Beneficial because there are no moving parts, less worn out.

Connecting hard dives to the motherboard can be done using one of these technologies.

  • IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics
  • SATA - Serial ATA
  • SCSI - Small Computer System Interface

Hard drives are usually manufactured with one of these technologies which are then connected through bus mechanisms called a Peripheral Component Interconnect.

Adapter Cards

Adapter Cards.

Allow you to adapt the computer to perform functions such as display a picture, or connect to a network. They are integrated into the motherboard of the computer.

• Adapter cards

  • Mouse controllers
  • Serial & Parallel Ports
  • USB Ports
  • Displays

• ISA, AGP, PCI, PCI Express and others

  • Terminology used to describe adaptor slots

• Video Cards

  • Used to produce pictures
  • Measured using bits and colors ex: 16Bit or 65K Color
  • Resolution measured by Pixels ex: 1280 x 1024



BIOS is responsible for controlling and managing system processes such as system boot and interaction with other components on the motherboard.


  • Basic Input Output System
  • Software stored on read-only memory chip on the motherboard


  • Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
  • Stores hardware configuration settings between reboots
  • Supplied with a battery on motherboard
  • Stores settings related to BIOS


  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface
  • Low-level code to control motherboard processes
  • Also includes diagnostic tools that support network booting and commands.

• Storage Settings

  • Stored in RAM and require power to maintain information
  • Some settings include:
    • Which drives are present?
    • How much memory is installed?
    • What type of mouse is installed?
    • Any required resources.
    • Date & time.
    • Power on the password.


Computer Chips.

Computer Chips are integrated circuits that contain transistors that perform a function. They make a decision or create a function.

• Chipsets

  • Used to manage data flow between processor and memory, as well as devices.

• Firmware

  • Fills in between software and hardware
  • A coding program, stored on a chip that provides low-level controls for hardware that help you communicate.
  • Facilitates functioning of the integrated chip circuits which add card functionality.

Input and Output Devices

Printer Monitor
Printer Monitor

Most common Input and Output devices.

• Printers

  • Allow users to produce paper output from computers

• Monitors

  • Allow users to produce images and video displays.

Others include scanners, faxes, or cameras.



• Ports

  • Serve as connection points for cables that allow data between a computer and a device.

• Serial

  • Used to connect devices like modems

• Parallel

  • Connections for printers

• Keyboard and mouse

  • a specific port connection that enables the Keyboard and mouse.


  • Universal Serial Bus
  • Can connect several different devices such as mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, modems, flash drives, and so on.

• Video

  • Used for plug-and-play devices to produce picture outputs.


You can find free course materials preparing you for the CompTIA A+ exam here:


Authored By Is-Rael Landes

Is-Rael Landes, a good man living on the earth, loving making website, teaching others and coding.

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