Your computer is nothing without its hardware. The Central Processing Unit, or CPU, does all the number crunching and thinking, taking in and sending out information all over your system. The CPU plugs into the motherboard, a large flat plate covered with tiny circuits and chips that send all the bits and bytes where they need to go. Information is temporarily stored in RAM, or Random Access Memory, specialized high-speed memory chips that hold data on behalf of the CPU.
Some machines contain a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), a chip that is dedicated to rendering the graphics and images that appear on your screen. Other systems may have a specialized sound processor. Then there’s the optical drives, meaning your DVD readers and writers. Many machines have flash card readers, where you plug in your SD cards or Memory Sticks from your cameras; and one of the most important devices is the HDD (hard disk drive) – a small unit that contains spinning magnetic disks that store millions of bits of information in milliseconds. The HDD is where all your documents, images, and videos go. More modern computers use an SSD (solid state disk) instead, which stores your data on flash memory chips that are much faster.
As advanced as computer technology has become, it is still man-made and thus imperfect. CPUs and GPUs get very hot and if fans and heatsinks become clogged with dust (or worse, stop working altogether), they can’t efficiently cool the components. CPUs can literally burn out. Repeated cycles of overheating and cooling off can crack the delicate traces and circuits in the motherboard. Hard disk drives are susceptible to damage from bumps, shocks, and drops. Motors in HDDs and optical drives eventually fail from old age.
And sometimes you want additional capabilities, like audio DSP or better graphics, or additional RAM or hard drive space. The Computer Cellar are experts at repairing, replacing, and installing new hardware in your PC or Mac. Laptops can often be upgraded, too! Give us a call or email today and we’ll be happy to help you get things running at full speed again!