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Most people don't know exactly what goes on inside of their computers, and most of those people don't care. But understanding the basics behind computer parts is an important part of being an educated consumer. Knowing more about computer parts can help people diagnose problems with their computer and avoid bad deals at computer stores. Even though they may seem complicated, it's still important to understand the basic functions of computer parts.

The most visible parts of the system may be easy to understand. The monitor and speakers are obvious enough, and the mouse and keyboard are familiar to all but the newest of users. But the things inside the computer itself, often called the "tower," are more of a mystery. The mother board is the hub where all information is managed from various other computer parts. The CPU, or central processing unit, is housed on the mother board and manages all the exchange of information between parts. The hard drive is where all the information on the computer is stored. This is where all the pictures, music, movies and documents are kept when you aren't viewing them. The memory is different from the hard drive because it is not permanent. The memory is simply a place for the computer to store information temporarily while it performs certain functions.

Other computer parts include CD and DVD drives which can read information off CDs and DVDs. Video and sound cards boost the video and audio quality of the things that the computer displays.

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