A supercomputer is superficially similar to a mainframe, but is instead intended for extremely demanding computational tasks. As of June 2018, the fastest supercomputer on the TOP500supercomputer list is the Summit, in the United States, with a LINPACK benchmarkscore of 122.3 PFLOPS, exceeding the previous record holder, Sunway TaihuLight, by around 29 PFLOPS.

Now that we’ve talked about the differences between these two items, let me bring the focus back on the main purpose of them. Both of these devices are used to store information, your photos, word documents, videos, etc. that you save to your computer, all the files that appear every time you turn on computer. Hard drives come in the storage sizes of “Gigabytes”, 1024Megabytes. An example of how large a file can be, a 1080p high quality movie that is around 2-3 hours long can be 3-6Gigabytes of data. Larger storage devices would be needed for someone who works with a lot of video, gaming, or possibly sound editing. Basic word documents, power points, and images are immensely smaller than video.
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Many desktop motherboards have sound cards built-in, allowing for audio playback without the need for a dedicated sound card. However, the quality of these built-in sound cards is generally not on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. For tasks that require high definition audio playback, dedicated sound cards are usually better than onboard solutions.
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The computer is an amazingly useful general-purpose technology, to the point that now cameras, phones, thermostats, and more are all now little computers. This section will introduce major parts and themes of how computer hardware works. "Hardware" refers the physical parts of the computer, and "software" refers to the code that runs on the computer.
An additional approach uses one set of fans to push air across the heat sink assembly, while a second set pulls air out of another part of the system, intermixing cooler inlet air to counterbalance the warmer air moving across the heat sink. Individual fan control can be used to monitor multiple in-system temperature sensors so air flow can be tuned for maximum cooling.
We hold 3.4 million different server spare parts in stock. This stock is held across our warehouses nationally, so regardless of where in the United Kingdom you are, we can fast track courier spares to you within hours if needed. We only purchase directly from tier 1 manufacturers to ensure that the stock we hold is original and validated to work with your hardware.
A solid-state drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data. An SSD emulates a hard disk drive, thus easily replacing it in any application. SSDs have begun to appear in laptops because they can be smaller than HDDs. SSDs are currently more expensive per unit of capacity than HDDs which is why they have not caught on so quickly.

The hard drive or flash drive provides persistent storage as a flat area of bytes without much structure. Typically the hard disk or flash disk is formatted with a "file system" which organizes the bytes into the familiar pattern of files and directories, where each file and directory has a somewhat useful name like "resume.txt". When you connect the drive to a computer, the computer presents the drive's file system to the user, allowing them open files, move file around, etc.
Many large defense contractors have multiplatform systems, such as a command module with moving maps, sensor fusion, and database retrieval that overlays data on the unfolding mission scenario. This command system may reside in an air transport rack (ATR) or vetronics chassis mounted in an armored vehicle or widebody aircraft, could be in an air-cooled rack on a ship, or may need to be shoehorned into an SFF system on a multimission ground vehicle.
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When the first microcomputers were introduced in the late 1970s, and in particular when the IBM PC was launched (in 1981 in the USA and 1983 in the UK), the computer industry was dominated by hardware. This was because most of the money spent on a computer system went on hardware, with a direct trade-off existing between processing power and overall system cost. The exact hardware specification was usually also critical. Today, however, neither of these points remains the case.
Choosing the best RAM for your system involves two things: compatibility and how much RAM your system can support. First, for compatibility, identify the kind of module your system uses by identifying the form factor (the physical form of the module – generally, desktops use UDIMMs, laptops use SODIMMs), then figure out the memory technology (DDR4, DDR3, DDR2, etc.) your system supports. Second, your system can only handle so many GB of memory, and that depends on your system. If you buy 64GB of RAM and your computer can only handle 16GB, that’s 48GB of wasted memory you can’t take advantage of.
Software is generally created (written) in a high-level programming language, one that is (more or less) readable by people. These high-level instructions are converted into "machine language" instructions, represented in binary code, before the hardware can "run the code". When you install software, it is generally already in this machine language, binary, form.

The following gives a basic overview of personal computer (PC) hardware, with the focus being on desktop computers. Inevitably, other sections of this website -- most notably those covering storage, mobile computing and networking -- also discuss particular areas of computer hardware and its application and specification. For a more technical hardware guide, see the excellent Introduction to Computer Hardware written by Howard Gilbert of Yale University. And if you are interested in the evolution of computing, you may like to read The History of the Microcomputer Revolution by Frank Delaney or this brief history of computing.

Several key cloud computing vendors now offer computing processing capacity and data storage online. Amazon, for example, now have an IaaS offering called Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2. This allows users to purchase computer processing power online from Amazon. Such online hardware capacity is purchased in "instances", with each instance having its own defined amount of processing power, memory and storage. For example, an EC2 "small instance" currently comprises 1.7 GB of memory, 1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit), and 160 GB of storage. Computing instances are charged by the instance hour consumed, with data transfer charged by the GB.

Drives -- A drive is a device intended to store data when it's not in use. A hard drive or solid state drive stores a PC's operating system and software, which we'll look at more closely later. This category also includes optical drives such as those used for reading and writing CD, DVD and Blu-ray media. A drive connects to the motherboard based on the type of drive controller technology it uses, including the older IDE standard and the newer SATA standard.
When building a gaming PC, you'll also need a graphics display card and a cooling system. The graphics card is responsible for image rendering and video playback. For a powerful gaming computer, choose an NVIDIA or AMD GPU with video RAM of 4GB or higher. Coolers prevent processors and video cards from overheating by blowing cool air over them and venting hot air. Effective cooling requires fans and heat sinks. Power users need thermal paste and circulating cooling liquid when overclocking GPUs and CPUs. Finally, if you want to make your gaming system look as cool and powerful as it runs, outfit it with computer lighting essentials.
There are two types of devices in a computer that use CDs: CD-ROM drive and a CD writer. The CD-ROM drive used for reading a CD. The CD writer drive can read and write a CD. CD writers are much more popular are new computers than a CD-ROM drive. Both kinds of CD drives are called optical disc drives because the use a laser light or electromagnetic waves to read or write data to or from a CD.
A motherboard is the first component you’ll want to choose. The motherboard dictates the physical form factor and size of your PC build, but it also determines what other pieces of hardware the computer can use. For example, the motherboard establishes the power of the processor it can handle, the memory technology (DDR4, DDR3, DDR2, etc.) and number of modules that can be installed, and the storage form factor (2.5-inch, mSATA, or m.2) and storage interface (SATA or PCIe). While you will want to choose your motherboard based on other compatible components, the motherboard should be your starting point. Find out more about RAM and motherboard compatibility.
I/O lets the computer talk with the world around it. Sometimes its necessary to add functionality to a computer to keep it up to date, or make it better. The amount of I/O a computer has can be changed, by adding expansion cards that support I/O. A graphics card can be added to a computer to let it talk with a display, or a WiFi card can be added, which will let a computer talk to other computers without a connecting wire. Sometimes functionality can be added through a universal port, a port that supports multiple kinds of I/O. USB, FireWire, and Thunderbolt (Types of I/O) support multiple data types. Your keyboard, mouse, and monitor all connect to a computer's I/O.
Data is stored by a computer using a variety of media. Hard disk drives are found in virtually all older computers, due to their high capacity and low cost, but solid-state drives are faster and more power efficient, although currently more expensive than hard drives in terms of dollar per gigabyte,[5] so are often found in personal computers built post-2007.[6] Some systems may use a disk array controller for greater performance or reliability.