View on Wydea YouTubeYouTube Channel

Computers - How do they think?

The core components of a computer that do its 'thinking' are the processor, memory and hard disk.


The processor (CPU) is the main "brain" of your computer. The processor does everything from processing characters that you?re typing to making aliens come alive in a game. The speed of the processor, typically measured in gigahertz essentially determines how quickly your computer can "think". Generally, the faster the processor runs the more quickly your computer will think. Newer multiple core (e.g. dual-core, quad-core) processors basically contain multiple "brains" on a single chip, providing a dramatic increase in computing power.


As your processor 'thinks' it uses your computer's memory, called RAM, as a scratch pad. This short-term memory "remembers" the programs you're running, files you've opened and basically everything that's on your screen. Memory chips have no moving parts and can transfer data at extremely high speeds. When the computer turns off, the memory is cleared.

Hard Disk

Your computer's hard disk acts as long-term memory. The hard disk, a spinning magnetic wheel, is where your operating system and all of your programs, documents, media and more are stored. Hard disk storage space is slower than RAM but much less expensive. For example, while your computer might have 1 GB of memory the hard disk might have over 100 GB of space.

Now you know the basics!

Submit Feedback or Comment