What Are the Basic Components of a Computer?

By Jason Chavis

There are a number of basic components of a computer. No matter what type of operating system is loaded onto the computer, the fundamental structure of the computer is nearly identical. These components were constructed over the course of decades during the late 1900s, and implemented and standardized by the early 1990s. Each one of the components is constantly upgraded for greater speed and storage.

Hard Drive

The hard drive, a magnetic disk that retains information, is essentially the long-term memory of the computer.


The motherboard is the base component of a computer, providing the electrical flow along the wires, transistors and compressors.


RAM chips, an acronym for random-access memory, are small chips that plug into the motherboard, giving the computer the ability to process short-term actions.


The processor is essentially the brain of the computer, handling all activities involving processing and computing.

Power Supply

The power supply is an electrical unit that accepts voltage from an electrical socket and distributes it throughout each device within the computer.