Well, if you start writing the list of computer parts, right from the miniature components, the list will get very long. So why not explain the parts, grouping them, depending on the purpose they solve. This list will also help you in designing, or at least selecting, the configuration for your computer. Let us start with the basic list of parts in a computer, which you need to have, irrespective of the purpose for which you want to use your computer.
LCD Monitor
It is not required to mention that this is one of the most important peripherals of your computer. The computer monitor is your computers display device and in most of the cases, the only source of output from your computer. Your exact requirements will largely determine the LCD you purchase. While some may prefer a High-Def system at 1920x1080, others may be satisfied with a 1280x1024 pixels, 17 inch LCD. To ensure that you make full use of your LCD, check your video card abilities. Although VGA can still be used on many video cards, LCDs are typically connected with a DVI cable. If your video adapter has a DVI port, you can get a cable to use it with a VGA-ported LCD.
Case and Power Supply
For any desktop computer you a case that holds vital hardware parts and need enough watts to power your entire system internal parts and hence the requirement of a power supply. While choosing a case its cooling characteristics, noise level and ports layout are some features to lookout for. Though most computer cases come with a built-in power supply, you may need to install your own power supply in case you're using a powerful CPU and a high-end video card.
Most people wonder, how can keyboards differ? But computer keyboards manufactured by different vendors have different facilities. There are some that provide keys for internet access, while some provide keys for games. Some have keys for increasing or decreasing the volume, though this has been integrated in almost all keyboards, that are manufactured nowadays.
This is the device, because of which, we don't have to remember the keyboards shortcuts anymore. An optical mouse is always preferred, whether a laptop or desktop. There are three modes of connecting an optical mouse; USB, wireless and Bluetooth.
With the three basic peripherals explained, let us now try to understand the detailed computer parts, as per our requirement.
Optical Drive
You will require an optical reader to read your CDs and DVDs. You can also get a DVD-ROM R/W, can read and write both CDs and DVDs. You can consider getting a Blu-ray drive to enhance the viewing pleasure on your LCD monitor. Having a separate reader and burner for both reading and writing CDs and DVDs, can avoid excessive use of the same lens, and hence increase the longevity of your optical drive.
USB Ports
This is the age of USB devices. The storage capacities of USB storage devices have also increased a lot. Check that you have got more than two USB ports in your computer, for almost all components, like a mouse and USB flash drives will need a USB port. Computer mouse, monitor, keyboard, printer etc. all come along with the USB connection facility. You can add an external hard disk to your computer too, using a USB port.
These are the computer peripherals, which you can get as per your requirement. If you have a job of desktop publishing, then printers and scanners are among the parts that will be an integral part of your infrastructure.
Surge Protector or UPS
A great safety device for your computer, a surge protector will enable you to plug all your power chords to one power source and protect your computer against power surges in case of power outage. An UPS will buy you vital time to save your file or important work in case of a blackout.
What I have listed above, can more accurately be termed as computer peripherals rather than computer parts. Now, let's take a look at those, which are inside the CPU (Central Processing Unit).
This is perhaps the most important part of your computer. This is where all your computer peripherals and components are connected to and most importantly, the CPU is mounted on the computer motherboard. It is nothing but a PCB (Printed Circuit Board), which holds and provides connections to different components. When selecting a motherboard, you should take into consideration, the processor which you are going to use. Not all processors are compatible to all motherboards. For example, socket motherboards are compatible with AMD Athlons, whereas socket 478 motherboards are compatible with Pentium 4 processors.
This is what controls everything in your computer. Be it the processes, the components or even the minutest operation like the volume, it handles everything. So take due care when selecting this component during your computer buying process. There are 32 bits and 64 bits processors available in the market. Get a proper review of the 32 bits and 64 bits processors, before selecting the computer processor you want. AMD and Intel are the two major players in this field. Review the AMD and Intel chips, before selecting the CPU for your computer. The other most important factor that you need to take care of is the processor speed. The unit of processor speed is GHz/sec.
It is generally assumed that the more the storage capacity of the RAM, the faster the computer. This is because the RAM is the primary storage device in a computer. Your RAM also needs to be compatible with the computer processor you are using. DDR SDRAM is the most used RAM nowadays. It is compatible with socket A as well as socket 478 motherboards.
Storage Devices
The most important storage devices within any CPU, is the hard disk. The storage space in your computer again depends upon its use. If you are a movie freak and want to make a collection, then you will require high storage capacity. The hard disk space is generally measured in Gigabytes. Since hard disks generally come very cheap nowadays, it is always better to use a hard disk with a high storage capacity. There are also, high memory portable storage devices available in the market, which can be connected to your computer using the USB port. There are two different types of hard disks that are available in the market, namely the serial and the parallel. The SATA hard disks are serial devices and have high data transfer rates. The parallel hard disks are known as PATA. You can take a review of the different types of hard drives too, before selecting the one which best suits your purpose.
Graphics Card
Now, suppose you want to configure a computer that is compatible with almost all types of PC games. The gaming parts, will include almost all the components and peripherals that have been mentioned above, but with, what I would term as 'higher values'. You will require a processor with a greater speed, a larger storage hard disk, s RAM with a larger capacity and a TFT screen for better display. In addition to all these, you will require a graphics card. If you want to play the latest multimedia games, then a graphics card is the utmost necessity. Many computers come along with built-in graphics card, while many of them just provide the graphics card slot. If the graphics card provided by your computer manufacturer does not solve your purpose, then you can replace the graphics card with another one of your choice. The Nvidia Gforce and ATI Radeon are among the top competitors in this field.
Sound Card
Most computer motherboard manufacturers provide integrated sound cards. However, you may have to install the drivers for the sound card, depending on the operating system you will be using. Linux operating system, for example, does not require the installation of any driver. Hence, if you are planning to use a Linux operating system, then installing the sound card drivers is not required.
What I have listed above is the most common computer parts, which you have to take into consideration before getting a computer or upgrading your existing one. Ensure that you have studied the reviews of all the components in the list mentioned above, before configuring your computer. There are various other details like the type of cabinet and UPS, which you will also need to take into consideration.