Laptop components and functions

Laptop Motherboard

The Laptop motherboard (sometimes alternatively known as the mainboard, system board, baseboard, planar board or logic board, or colloquially, a mobo) is the main printed circuit board in any laptop  . All internal components are connected to the motherboard. This is one of the most expensive parts in a laptop.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is the main storage of information in a laptop. All system files, personal files are stored inside the hard drive. Today’s high-performance laptop computers have hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. Typical hard drives run at 5,400 rpm, but you can get a performance boost with a 7,200 or even 10,000 rpm hard drive. Faster hard drive you have installed – faster data access you get. You can upgrade the hard drive yourself.

System Memory (RAM)

Random access memory (RAM) is one of the main components that will make your laptop run faster. A lot of RAM will allow your computer to run more programs simultaneously, as well as work with larger multimedia programs. A Web-browsing laptop needs about 2 GB of RAM, while an entertainment laptop can have anywhere from 4 to 8 GB. More memory you have installed – better the performance of the laptop.


Laptop screens use thin liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. You get the clearest picture running your laptop display at the native resolution, which is the resolution at which the image matches the exact number of pixels on the screen. The higher the laptop screen’s native resolution, the more detailed the picture quality will be.


The central processing unit (CPU) is the controlling component of your laptop computer. Processor speeds for computers are measured in gigahertz (GHz). Multi-core processors have more than one processor core on the same chip. Speed ratings for these processors indicate the speed of each individual core. The faster the speed, and the more cores the laptop processor has, the more tasks the laptop can do simultaneously.

Video Card

Also called graphics cards, video cards generate graphics on your laptop display. All laptop CPUs have a graphics controller, which allows the computer to display basic video and graphics. A video card, however, is an extra device that takes the load off the processor, allowing the laptop to run smoothly and quickly when playing movies or working with photos. Some video cards have their own system memory, which makes for faster, more seamless performance.

Laptop Heatsink & Fan

Fans and heat sinks help in cooling down your laptop to prevent overheating. The heat sink is a device often made of copper or aluminum that sits on top of high heat generating chips such as the CPU and draws the heat away from the chip into the fins of the heat sink. A fan is generally installed on top of the heat sink to dissipate the heat that the heat sink draws from the chip. Fans are also placed on the sides or bottom of the laptop casing to help improve air flow throughout the laptop which also helps prevent overheating.

Optical Drive

The laptop’s optical drive is its DVD or CD drive. Most new laptops come with a DVD+/-RW drive, also called the burner, which reads and writes blank DVDs and CDs in all formats. These are handy for backing up your important files as well as putting your home videos onto a disc. Some smaller laptops save on space and weight by not having an optical drive to, but the vast majority of notebook computers will have them.

Audio Board aka Sound Board

The audio board is used to enable the laptop to input, process, and output sound. In most laptops the audio board is a part of the motherboard. If that’s the case, all audio board input/output components such as volume control, microphone jack and headphone jack are soldered directory to the motherboard.

CMOS Battery

The CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) battery provides power to the CMOS chip when the laptop is not powered on. The CMOS memory stores the date, time, and system setup parameters. Without the CMOS Battery, the CMOS would not be able to continuously keep track of the date and time while your computer is off.

CMOS Battery


The keyboard is the main input device. It’s a set of keys arranged into rows and used to input text and numbers or give commands to the laptop. Laptops may not have a full keyboard depending on the size of the laptop, they may not have a numeric keypad.

The battery

The battery gets charged while the laptop is plugged into the mains and keeps the laptop running when it’s unplugged from the mains. Most laptop batteries need to replaced every 3 to 5 years depending on how often you use the laptop with only battery power. The typical length of time that you are able to run your laptop on battery power depends on what tasks you are doing, but it should last around 2 to 5 hours with general use. A laptop will mostly likely have a lithium ion battery in older laptops or a lithium polymer battery in newer laptops.

Web camera

Many modern laptops come with a web camera built into the display panel. The web camera is not a part of the LCD screen. The web camers is located on a separate board and can be replaced separately from the LCD.


The touchpad on a laptop is an alternative to using a mouse. By sliding your finger along the smooth, flat, touch sensitive surface of the pad, you control the movement of the cursor on the screen. Often, double tapping the touchpad with your finger simulates a click of the button on a mouse.


An Ethernet port will allow you to connect through an Ethernet cable to a network. Wireless connections, using a wireless-G or wireless-N signal, are nearly universal in newer laptops. Lots of families now set up home wireless networks, too, so they can use their laptop to surf the Web from the sofa or at the breakfast table.

External Ports

The number of external ports varies from laptop to laptop. All will have at least a couple of USB ports. You might also look for a VGA port if you want to connect to a separate monitor or a projector. Your laptop computer may also feature memory card slots for MMC and SD cards.