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The Computer case - Some people call this the hard drive, however this is incorrect. The hard drive is a unit contained inside the case. The case shown to the left is a tower configuration. This type of case comes in several different sizes, Full size (the image), Mid size about ½ the size shown and Mini which is about the size of a large dictionary. The case contains the power supply, motherboard, ram memory, hard drive, and video device. The monitor connects to the computer case as well as the keyboard, mouse, printer, USB devices and external hard drives. These items are all discussed below.
Motherboard – In personal computers, a motherboard is the central printed circuit board (PCB) in many modern computers and holds many of the crucial components of the system, while providing connectors for other peripherals. The motherboard is sometimes alternatively known as the main board, system board, or, on Apple computers, the logic board. It is also sometimes casually shortened to mobo. A typical desktop computer has its microprocessor, main memory, and other essential components connected to the motherboard. Other components such as external storage, controllers for video display and sound, and peripheral devices may be attached to the motherboard as plug-in cards or via cables, although in modern computers it is increasingly common to integrate some of these peripherals into the motherboard itself. An important component of a motherboard is the microprocessor's supporting chipset, which provides the supporting interfaces between the CPU and the various buses and external components. This chipset determines, to an extent, the features and capabilities of the motherboard.
Hard Drive – A hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile, random access device for digital data. It features rotating rigid platters on a motor-driven spindle within a protective enclosure. Data is magnetically read from and written to the platter by read/write heads that float on a film of air above the platters. Introduced by IBM in 1956, hard disk drives have fallen in cost and physical size over the years while dramatically increasing in capacity. Hard disk drives have been the dominant device for secondary storage of data in general purpose computers since the early 1960s. They have maintained this position because advances in their areal recording density have kept pace with the requirements for secondary storage. Today's HDDs operate on high-speed serial interfaces; i.e., serial ATA (SATA) or serial attached SCSI (SAS).
Random-access memory (RAM) - is a form of computer data storage. Today, it takes the form of integrated circuits that allow stored data to be accessed in any order (that is, at random). "Random" refers to the idea that any piece of data can be returned in a constant time, regardless of its physical location and whether it is related to the previous piece of data. The word "RAM" is often associated with volatile types of memory (such as DRAM memory modules), where the information is lost after the power is switched off. Many other types of memory are RAM as well, including most types of ROM and a type of flash memory called NOR-Flash
Video card - a.k.a. video adapter, graphics accelerator card, display adapter, or graphics card is an expansion card whose function is to generate output images to a display. Many video cards offer added functions, such as accelerated rendering of 3D scenes and 2D graphics, video capture, TV-tuner adapter, MPEG-2/MPEG-4 decoding, FireWire, light pen, TV output, or the ability to connect multiple monitors (multi-monitor). Other modern high performance video cards are used for more graphically demanding purposes, such as PC games. Video hardware can be integrated on the motherboard. However limitation to this integrated graphics chip often only occurs with early machines. In this configuration it is sometimes referred to as a video controller or graphics controller. Modern low-end to mid-range motherboards often include a graphics chipset developed by the developer of the Northbridge (i.e. an nForce chipset with Nvidia graphics or an Intel chipset with Intel graphics) on the motherboard. This graphics chip usually has a small quantity of embedded memory and takes some of the system's main RAM, reducing the total RAM available. This is usually called integrated graphics or on-board graphics, and is low-performance and undesirable for those wishing to run 3D applications. A dedicated Graphics Card on the other hand has its own RAM and Processor specifically for processing video images, and thus offloads this work from the CPU and system RAM. Almost all of these motherboards allow the disabling of the integrated graphics chip in BIOS, and have an AGP, PCI, or PCI Express slot for adding a higher-performance graphics card in place of the integrated graphics. Despite the performance limitations, around 95% of new computers are sold with integrated graphics processors, leaving it for the individual user to decide whether to install a dedicated Graphics card.
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