a

Capacitors, Resistors, and Electronic Components

if you're a seasoned PC builder or

tinkerer you can probably rattle off a

few different connectors and headers on

your motherboard in your freaking sleep

especially if you dream about RGB heat

sinks like I do but what about all those

other little tiny components for

instance the capacitors and resistors

that fill up all the extra space what

exactly do they do well a big part of

the reason you have so many electronic

components on your motherboards PCB is

that your computer parts like CPU

graphics card memory etc typically can't

use electricity directly from your power

supply for example most of those 650

watts or whatever your power supply

promises are delivered on the 12 volt

rail but imagine what would happen if

you put 12 volts through a modern CPU

which only needs like 1/10 of that to

run you'd fry it faster than an egg on a

hot radio a sidewalk so because

everything in your PC needs a very

specific amount of power your board has

lots of capacitors on it those are the

cylindrical looking things that poke out

of your motherboard like little tiny

water towers in a little miniature city

they even serve a somewhat similar

function to the affer mentioned water

towers they store energy then release it

in a controlled fashion you see the

power that comes into them doesn't flow

completely smoothly and has small

variances in voltage that could make it

useless or even damage your components

so these small capacitors clean up the

power and deliver the silky-smooth

constant voltage that your internal

electronics need and if you open up a

decent power supply make sure it's

unplugged first you'll probably find

some much larger capacitors that serve a

similar function keeping a constant DC

voltage for your computer and filtering

out noisy AC interference also called

ripple but although capacitors help to

clean up the power resistors do much of

the heavy lifting when it comes to

controlling what voltages your

components actually

as you can probably guess a resistor

resists the flow of current ensuring

that your components won't get so much

power that they'll be damaged although

many hobbyists who have worked with

simple circuits might be familiar with

resistors that look like this with

colored bands that indicate strength

measured in ohms most resistors on

modern motherboards are more understated

in appearance looking like little black

and silver rectangles okay then but what

about all those blocky things near my

CPU they don't look like capacitors or

resistors and okay well you'd be right

these are called chokes which and okay

don't get too excited there are a type

of inductor similar to how a capacitor

will smooth out voltage an inductor will

smooth out current important considering

how much power a typical desktop CPU can

draw you can learn more about CPU power

delivery right up here and speaking of

power delivery we would be remiss if we

didn't mention our old friend the

transistor you might know that there are

millions or even billions of tiny

transistors in your CPU and chipset that

act as logic switches that allow your

computer to function but there are

larger ones on your motherboard close to

the chokes that I mentioned earlier

called MOSFETs since transistors can

both change voltages and have logic

gates your MOSFETs and CPU actually talk

with each other to figure out the

correct amount of voltage to deliver to

the CPU at any given time then the

MOSFETs take the electricity from your

power supply adjust the voltage and pass

it through the chokes and on to your

processor so obviously the engineering

that goes into making all of these parts

work together properly is quite complex

but hopefully now you have a better idea

of why all those random bits on your

motherboard are even there and if not

you could always just buy one of those

newfangled boards with the nice-looking

shroud and RGB lights and forget

everything that I just said it's not

like you'll hurt John's feelings or and

you will a lot actually but it's okay

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