I am new to pc gaming (hides in shame) and I know little to nothing about computers. I know very basic stuff like graphics cards and processors but I do not know how they work. Example, the l2 cache and all that stuff. I would like to read an in-depth guide on motherboards, cpus, graphics cards, ram all that stuff, I would like to have all this knowledge so my computer can run at optimal performance. As of right now, I don't know if my computer is running at optimal performance, I tried a benchmarking tool the heaven something benchmark and that is a really demanding benchmark so I hear. I'm not sure if 10-15 fps is common with my system. So are there any guides on the internet where I can learn all of this stuff?
PHEMON IIX4 965 3.4GHZ
ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO
CORSAIR 2X4 GB
Also, I had a power surge and was wondering if that would affect my system. I'm hoping not so I don't have to return everything.
If you use a Surge Protector, you will be protected by Power Surges. A good PSU will also help (from Corsair, Antec, XFX, Silverstone, Seasonic or more expensive like PC Power & Cooling).
There are a lot of articles and other things online. You don't need to learn too much about how caches work--just that they're kinda like RAM (which is faster for the CPU to access than a hard drive), but the memory resides on the CPU itself instead of the motherboard--so it's even faster to access. And L1 cache is faster than L2 for all the most important stuff.
Just look stuff up on google and read reviews. If you ask a specific question, we can answer it. But just a general guide on everything? That's a long answer. Davcon's right about Wikipedia for components.
As far as benchmarking--find a similar computer (nearly all CPUs are listed on Wikipedia) and see how it benchmarks for comparison. Save your results and change some of your settings and see what improves it. For a lot of parts, you can look up manufacturer default settings on their websites. Newegg.com has a lot of info too and some helpful reviews if you know what you're looking for.