Skip to main content
Workforce LibreTexts

2.1.5: Components of the Computer System Unit Wrap-Up

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \(\newcommand{\avec}{\mathbf a}\) \(\newcommand{\bvec}{\mathbf b}\) \(\newcommand{\cvec}{\mathbf c}\) \(\newcommand{\dvec}{\mathbf d}\) \(\newcommand{\dtil}{\widetilde{\mathbf d}}\) \(\newcommand{\evec}{\mathbf e}\) \(\newcommand{\fvec}{\mathbf f}\) \(\newcommand{\nvec}{\mathbf n}\) \(\newcommand{\pvec}{\mathbf p}\) \(\newcommand{\qvec}{\mathbf q}\) \(\newcommand{\svec}{\mathbf s}\) \(\newcommand{\tvec}{\mathbf t}\) \(\newcommand{\uvec}{\mathbf u}\) \(\newcommand{\vvec}{\mathbf v}\) \(\newcommand{\wvec}{\mathbf w}\) \(\newcommand{\xvec}{\mathbf x}\) \(\newcommand{\yvec}{\mathbf y}\) \(\newcommand{\zvec}{\mathbf z}\) \(\newcommand{\rvec}{\mathbf r}\) \(\newcommand{\mvec}{\mathbf m}\) \(\newcommand{\zerovec}{\mathbf 0}\) \(\newcommand{\onevec}{\mathbf 1}\) \(\newcommand{\real}{\mathbb R}\) \(\newcommand{\twovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\ctwovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\threevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cthreevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\mattwo}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{rr}#1 \amp #2 \\ #3 \amp #4 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\laspan}[1]{\text{Span}\{#1\}}\) \(\newcommand{\bcal}{\cal B}\) \(\newcommand{\ccal}{\cal C}\) \(\newcommand{\scal}{\cal S}\) \(\newcommand{\wcal}{\cal W}\) \(\newcommand{\ecal}{\cal E}\) \(\newcommand{\coords}[2]{\left\{#1\right\}_{#2}}\) \(\newcommand{\gray}[1]{\color{gray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\lgray}[1]{\color{lightgray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\rank}{\operatorname{rank}}\) \(\newcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\col}{\text{Col}}\) \(\renewcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\nul}{\text{Nul}}\) \(\newcommand{\var}{\text{Var}}\) \(\newcommand{\corr}{\text{corr}}\) \(\newcommand{\len}[1]{\left|#1\right|}\) \(\newcommand{\bbar}{\overline{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bhat}{\widehat{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bperp}{\bvec^\perp}\) \(\newcommand{\xhat}{\widehat{\xvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\vhat}{\widehat{\vvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\uhat}{\widehat{\uvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\what}{\widehat{\wvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\Sighat}{\widehat{\Sigma}}\) \(\newcommand{\lt}{<}\) \(\newcommand{\gt}{>}\) \(\newcommand{\amp}{&}\) \(\definecolor{fillinmathshade}{gray}{0.9}\)

    Let’s Summarize

    As you can see, the system unit is a critical component of desktop, notebook, and tablet PCs, as well as mobile devices such as handheld PCs and smartphones.

    The system unit houses the main internal electronic components of the system or device:



    Motherboard (system board)

    A thin, flat piece of circuit board, usually green or gold, that directly or indirectly connects all other components and peripherals.

    Memory module

    Consists of electronic components that store instructions, data, and the results.

    Processor slot(s)

    A slot on the motherboard used to install processor chips.

    Processor chip (central processing unit, or CPU)

    Interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate a PC. The CPU contains a control unit (CU) and an arithmetic logic unit (ALU).

    Adapter card slot(s) or expansion card slot(s)

    One or more slots on the motherboard used to install an adapter card.

    Adapter card (expansion card)

    A circuit board that enhances the functions of a component of the system unit and/or provides a connection to a peripheral.

    Internal drive bay

    A bay in the chassis used to install internal devices such as hard drives.

    Hard drive

    An electronic component used to store instructions, programs, data, and information for future use.

    Power supply

    Provides the electrical power needed to make the PC operate.

    The system unit houses the main external components of the system or device:

    • Bays are used to house CD and DVD drives.

    • Slots are used to insert modem cards, wireless-access cards, and other PC cards that may not be internal to the system unit.

    • Ports are used to connect additional input, output, storage, and communication devices. Some ports provide wireless data transmission, such as the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) port, which uses infrared light waves for connectivity and communication.

    The type of computer user will influence which type of system unit will most effectively support the user’s requirements:

    • A home user typically uses a desktop or laptop. A handheld or smartphone will also support some of the home user’s requirements.

    • A small-business/home-business user typically uses a desktop or laptop; this type of user will need more sophisticated software programs than the home user. May also use a smartphone.

    • A mobile user typically uses a mobile device: a laptop, a smartphone, and possibly a handheld.

    • A power user typically uses a powerful workstation (desktop) with sophisticated software packages.

    • An enterprise user typically uses a desktop linked to a mainframe physically located on company premises.

    When purchasing a computer, the user should consider

    • the needs for mobility—particularly weight and size;

    • the type of software applications to be used—gaming, for instance, requires sophisticated graphics and sound adapter cards;

    • the number of peripherals required—printers, monitors, external hard drives, and so on;

    • the number of USB ports for connecting peripherals;

    • the size of the internal hard drive;

    • the speed of the processor; and

    • the amount of memory (RAM).


    Before you complete the quiz activity, please evaluate your understanding of the learning objectives for the "Components of the Computer System Unit" module and use the first "My Response" link below to ask any questions you might have that you would like the instructor to address. Your questions can be for clarification of the material or further insight. Your self-evaluation will not be graded, but it will be available for your instructor to read. Answering these questions may also shape the discussions in class.


    About Components of the Computer System Unit

    Learning Dashboard

    If you do not feel you are ready for the quiz, identify the objectives you need to review. Go back to those pages. Read the examples and do the activities. Don’t just read the activities; actually do them to get practice with the types of questions that will be in the quiz.


    Components of the Computer System Unit Module

    Learning Dashboard

    Now that you have finished the quiz, do you have any questions? Your instructor will be able to read the questions and comments that you submit.


    2.1.5: Components of the Computer System Unit Wrap-Up is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?