Again I’ll start with the basics, and in case you didn’t read the PC as an Office above, I’ll repeat the intro as well: 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 automobile.

  • The Processor a.k.a. CPU – Think of this as your engine. The more horsepower an engine generates, the faster you can go, to an extent. Why to an extent? Because without the proper components being used in conjunction with that engine, it becomes nothing more than a big gas guzzler that can spin tires and not get anywhere. So the Processor of a PC is it’s engine.
  • RAM – RAM is your carburetor/fuel injection system and air intake. The more fuel and air you dump into the cylinders, the more horsepower an engine can generate. Adding RAM is like adding a 4-barrel carb and camming up the engine or adding an air ram or blower. You can get more out of an engine by doing those things, just like you can do more at the same time with a PC that has plenty of RAM.
  • Hard Drive – This is your gas tank. It’s the storage for your fuel. Think of a computer’s fuel as the programs and data you work with.
  • 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 car’s fuel pump, fuel lines and intake ports. If the fuel lines are too small, fuel pump is weak, or intake ports are too small, it bottlenecks the fuel delivery system which prevents you from getting the most out of the engine. If a PC’s front side bus isn’t fast enough, the engine (Processor) cannot generate as much HP (like a Processor doing nothing while waiting for instructions) because it can’t get the fuel and air (data and programs) into it fast enough.
  • Motherboard – This is like the car frame and running gear, and includes the ECM. The Motherboard connects all of the other systems together and contains the ECM which, in modern cars, controls the flow of fuel (data) in the car.
  • North Bridge / South Bridge – Seldom heard by non-geeks, but included anyway. These are your ECM. they help control the flow of fuel (data) around the car (PC).

Well, that’s pretty much where I’m going to stop with the car analogy. If you notice any discrepancies, or something outright wrong, let me know. Thanks!