I’ll start with the basics. If you have been around PCs at all, you have heard of RAM, CPU or Processors, Hard Drives, Motherboards, Front Side Bus, etc. I’ll attempt to explain these items simply with illustrations of an office environment.

  • The Processor a.k.a. CPU – Think of this as your workmates in an office. The more people there are, the faster you can get work done, to an extent. I say to an extent because if there are too many people and not enough hallways, desk space, or storage, everything gets congested and will actually slow you down.
  • RAM – RAM is your desk space. The more desk space you have, the more projects you can work on at a time. This helps you because if you had to go to the filing cabinet to store one project so you could get another one out to work on it, it slows you down. The filing cabinets are farther away than your desk, and you have to find things in the filing cabinets which also slows you down. If you have a big desk, you can keep multiple files open and work on multiple project simultaneously. RAM is your PC’s “desk space”. With more ram, your PC can have more programs and projects open at the same time without having to go the the “filing cabinets”.
  • Hard Drive – This is your “Filing Cabinet”, your permanent storage. You keep all of your project data and all of your work in a filing cabinet. This is what a hard drive is. It takes time to go to the filing cabinet and search for a file to remove it or put it back, and you can’t work on projects when they are in the cabinet, that’s what your desk space, or RAM is for.
  • Front Side Bus – You don’t hear this one quite so often, but it’s still mentioned. Think of the Front Side Bus as your office’s hallways. If your hallways are too small and you have lots of employees, you can’t effectively get projects to and from the filing cabinets to your desk space. So, if the front side bus is too slow, your workers (the CPU) cannot get data fast enough from the filing cabinets (Hard Drive) to the desk space (RAM).
  • Motherboard – This is like the actual office building and includes your managers. It is the physical structure that connects everything together in your company, such as the workers, filing cabinets, desks, etc. and houses the managers who control and schedule the transfer of data around, in, and out of the office. Data in and out of the office refer to user input and output: your keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and can be compared to the incoming and outgoing mail.
  • North Bridge / South Bridge – Seldom heard by non-geeks, but included anyway. These are your managers. The North Bridge is your General Manager, and the South bridge is your Assistant Manager. They help control the flow of data around the office to the desks, filing cabinets, and mail.

I could go on, but I’m going to stop here. If you notice any discrepancies, or something outright wrong, let me know. Thanks!