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Basic :P it's complex... start with electron of circuit current and reach the light of Interface.
CPU is the brain - It performs the calculations and controls all other components. It needs an operating system (OS) to run. i.e. Windows, OSX (Mac), iOS (Apple iphone)
GPU - like a CPU devoted to graphics, does many operation in parallel
I/O (Input / Output) - Internal I/O is called a bus, it moves data between components;
External I/O - External input data sources like a CD-ROM, mouse and keyboard input; Output data goes to the GPU to be displayed on the screen, or played through sound chip for audio.
RAM - Random access memory - CPU uses RAM to store data used for calculations; data typically disappears when the power is off.
Disk drive - This is for permanent storage of data, when powering on a computer will read the OS from the disk to "boot up" In smart phones, etc. this will be a Solid State Device, that can store data when the power is off. Hard disks have spinning disks and SSD's are all electronic with no moving parts.
There is alot more detail of course, try this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer
I hope that helps!
You can divide the Computer into 3 parts and draw them like circles, as fellow
As you can see, we start with the Hardware,it includes all the peripheries, starting from the CPU, RAM, BUS, DVD.... and so on.
Then we find the Operating system layer, it allow the interaction between the User applications and the hardware, it recognize your hardware and control it (Control the CPU, the Memory, the Hard Disk,...), in other way, it's very important without it your computer is dead and you can't use a computer without an OS (Operating System). And we have a lot of OS, i.e. Windows, Linux, Mac...
The last layer, it's the User applications layer, here we find the programs of the user, for example, Windows Media Player, Photoshop, Microsoft Office and so on... Usually they aren't important, I mean by that, if they aren't installed on your computer, you computer can still works well.
I hope that you get an idea.
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yourself is computer....'interface(your out look), hardware(body skeleton) and operating system brain n nervous system'... use yourself, you will not need to ask questions..........
There are some good answers here already. I just wanted to add that you do not need an OS. Many systems have no OS. It's there to make life easier.
Can you tell me @carlsmith which system doesn't need an OS ?
i also want to know @carlsmith which systems don't need OS these days , cz according to my knowledge it was back in early age if computers that there were no OS , and they used to perform just basic computations ..
I would like to say that saying 'OS is not needed' is completely wrong, if we take just a simple example, the calculator, I think no one will say 'ah it doesn't work with an OS', sure it does, yes its OS is simple not complicated but still it's an OS. Also if we come back before the first OS (MS-DOS), people at this time were talking about OS and were there Time Sharing and like that stuff, I can conclude that an OS is an obligation. Maybe you thought that the plains or cars or phones haven't an OS, you are wrong, they all use OS but a special OS, we called them embarked Systems.
Ktoba have a good explanation.
For example Bios is an OS.
Unix is a great OS to understand the structure of computer.