How PCs Work – How do Personal Computers Work?

PCs – How do Personal Computers Work?

How PCs Work
How PCs Work

A device that can accept input and produce output is referred to as a computer. In actuality, the human brain is a highly developed computer, and with each passing year, scientists discover more about how it functions.

The term “computer,” however, is most frequently used to refer to an electrical gadget with a microprocessor.

A microprocessor is a tiny electronic device that can quickly perform complicated calculations. Microprocessors are used in numerous items you use every day, including cars, refrigerators, and televisions.

The personal computer, or PC, is the object containing a microprocessor that is most well-known. In fact, the name “PC” has practically come to mean the same thing as “computer.”

History of computers

PCs can be traced back to the 1970s when Ed Roberts started selling computer kits based on an Intel CPU chip. Roberts marketed his machine as the Altair 8800 and charged $395 for the unassembled kits.

How PCs Work
How PCs Work

When Popular Electronics published an article about the kit in its January 1975 issue, almost everyone was surprised to learn that the kits were an immediate success. Thus, the personal computer era got started.

Although the Apple II was released a few years after the Altair 8800, it was this that marked the beginning of the personal computer as a sought-after household appliance.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s invention, the Apple II, demonstrated that there was a need for computers in both households and classrooms. Soon after, both newcomers like Commodore and Atari and long-standing manufacturers like Texas Instruments and IBM entered the PC industry.

We’ll examine the PC’s internals in this post to learn more about its components and functions. We’ll also look at the essential programs that a PC uses to start up and function.

Then, we’ll talk about mobile PCs and look at where PC technology is headed.

What are Computers?

A programmable electronic device that can process information is a computer. Computers, which are made up of both hardware and software, function on two levels: they take data via an input route—either directly or through a digital storage device—and then they send it out as an output.

Computers in the modern era should not be confused with the antiquated profession of computers in the nineteenth century. One of them is a person, and the other is a computer, yet they both execute time-consuming and difficult mathematical calculations and information processing.

How Do Computers Operate?

How PCs Work
How PCs Work

To create the necessary result, a computer processes the information, but how does a machine exceed the human brain?

Typical computers do not attempt to imitate the human brain. Instead, they carry out commands in a sequential manner, with data constantly traveling from the device’s processor to its input and memory.

On the other hand, neuromorphic computers process data simultaneously, which makes them quicker, more energy-efficient, and more resemblant to the organization of the human brain.

A computer generally operates in four steps:


Input is the data before processing. It comes from the mouse, keyboard, microphone, and other external sensors.


Storage is how the computer retains input data. The hard drive is used for long-term and mass data storage while the data set for immediate processing is stored temporarily in the Random Access Memory (RAM).


Processing is where input gets transformed into output. The computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) is its brain. It’s responsible for executing instructions and performing mathematical operations on the input data.


Output is the final result of data processing. It can be anything from images, video, or audio content, even the words you type using a keyboard. You can also receive the output through a printer or a projector instead of directly through your device.

The Computer’s Hardware Components

A computer is easier to construct the simpler the task it must complete. Because of this, older computers are more basic and have fewer capabilities than modern computers.

All of the input and output devices, such as keyboards, microphones, mice, screens, and speakers, are considered to be hardware components of a computer.

Hardware also refers to the actual processing components found in modern computers, such as the motherboard, graphics card, sound card, RAM, and storage.


The motherboard serves as the main hub for communication between the hardware parts of the computer.

Except for devices that rely on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, everything needs to physically connect to this circuit. A contemporary computer simply cannot function without a motherboard.


The CPU is the communications director of the motherboard serves as the communications hub. It takes in the input, interprets the commands, and then communicates with other parts of the system to tell them exactly how to process the data to produce the intended result. A CPU can handle more tasks concurrently the more cores it has.


The CPU’s primary supporter is the RAM. The information needed by the operating system, any open software, and input is stored in RAM so that users don’t have to sift through a disproportionately large storage unit to find what they need.

More resource-intensive software can be run on a system without slowing it down the more RAM it has.


A hard Disk Drive is referred to as HDD. It is the element where your media and applications, along with the operating system, are stored permanently (OS). They range from a few hundred gigabytes (GB) to several terabytes in size and performance (TB).

Solid State Drives (SSDs), another type of storage hardware, may also be included. Different applications make use of SSDs and HDDs, and many users combine devices to improve performance.

Graphics Processing Unit

Your computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) is responsible for handling visual imagery. To render high-quality photos and graphics or to play video games, a powerful GPU is required. Either separate hardware for graphics processing or CPU integration is an option.

Audio Card

Auditory data processing and transmission to your speakers are handled by sound cards. Similar to the sound card, the CPU can be incorporated or used as a separate component.

The Computer’s Software Components

In order to process complicated inputs and outputs, modern computers need a combination of hardware and software components.

Software is a set of pre-written instructions that your computer can use to do various tasks. It is a digital program rather than a visible physical component when a computer or laptop’s cover is opened.

Additionally, several types of software play a variety of responsibilities in how your computer operates, just like your computer hardware does.


Where the distinction between hardware and software becomes hazy is in firmware. It is software that has been physically engraved into hardware.

When you turn on your computer, the firmware is the first thing to run; it is a small program that tells your computer to start the operating system. You’ll be stuck with hardware that you can’t communicate with if your computer doesn’t start up your operating system or other components.

Operating System (OS)

A piece of software called an operating system controls the hardware and software resources on your computer. In a similar vein, you cannot use your input devices to communicate with your computer without an OS.

The Future of Computers

Sequential processing-based computers will continue to decrease in price, shrink in size, increase in speed, and improve in effectiveness. The limitations of conventional computer architecture and design have been reached.

Instead, modern computing architecture that is independent of technologies created more than 50 years ago is predicted to grow, from the possibility of Neuromorphic computers to more approachable Quantum computers.


Who invented the first computer?

In the 1970s, a guy by the name of Ed Roberts began to market computer kits based on an Intel microprocessor chip. He marketed unassembled kits for $395 and christened his machine the Altair 8800.

Even though the Altair 8800 was the first true personal computer, it wasn’t until the Apple II’s introduction that the PC became a popular gadget.

What are the seven main parts of a computer?

The motherboard, Central Processing Unit (CPU), power supply, Random-Access Memory (RAM), hard drive, chassis, and cooling apparatus are among a computer’s essential components.

What is a personal computer?

A general computing device with a microprocessor is a personal computer. It normally has an operating system that serves as an interface between the user and the CPU and is made to be used by one person at a time. It is affordable, manageable in size, and functional for an individual to buy and utilize.

Is a laptop a personal computer?

A laptop is a portable personal computer, therefore yes. In 1986, the 12-pound IBM PC Convertible was responsible for putting the laptop idea into mass manufacturing.

What distinguishes a laptop from a computer?

Although they are both considered personal computers, laptops, and desktop PCs have very different looks.

A computer is a device that is contained and has a keyboard, video screen, and some sort of pointing device attached (i.e a mouse).

For many people, laptops are a preferable option for work and school because they are not only portable but also smaller and lighter.