The Basics of Computer Hardware

The Basics of Computer Hardware

Computer hardware refers to the physical components that make up a computer, such as processors, memory, graphics card, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers and motherboard.

Computer hardware is essential for a computer to run, but it cannot do this without software. Software consists of instructions and programs that your machine requires in order to execute specific tasks.


A processor is the brain of your computer, it controls all other hardware by instructing it what to do and prioritizing tasks that need to be accomplished.

Moore’s law states that processor speeds double every two years, which is great news for all of us!

Modern computers use multiple cores to execute more tasks simultaneously, known as hyperthreading. This technique is increasingly commonplace among today’s high-performance PCs.


Memory on a computer serves to store the data and instructions that a central processing unit (CPU) needs to run a program. It also stores any quickly-accessible information the CPU needs.

RAM (random access memory) is a type of computer memory that the CPU can access directly. This form of storage provides faster response times than hard drives which would need more time to load and read all needed data.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is an integral component of any computer system. It stores files and works together with other hardware to keep a machine running efficiently.

A hard disk drive consists of several disk platters mounted around a spindle inside an enclosed chamber. A motor then spins these platters at high speeds. Furthermore, there’s a read/write head which magnetically records and reads data from these disk platters.

Graphics Card

A graphics card, also referred to as a video card, is an extension of your PC that renders images onto the display. This includes photos, videos, games and more – everything goes through this device!

The graphics card consists of several components, such as the GPU (Graphical Processing Unit). It also has RAM (Random Access Memory), which stores information about each pixel and its color, along with a frame buffer that temporarily holds completed pictures until they can be displayed.


The motherboard is the foundation of a computer and links all its parts together. It also creates an electrical connection between them, enabling them to exchange information.

Motherboards feature a range of ports to connect monitor, printer, mouse, keyboard, speakers and network cables. Furthermore, they include a USB port for connecting devices like smartphones or digital cameras.


Monitors are pieces of computer hardware that project an image onto a display, allowing you to view pictures, videos and text on your desktop.

Monitors are found in a range of devices, such as personal computers and laptops. They’re even found on handheld items like cellphones and MP3 players.


The keyboard is the most basic input device used by computers. It allows users to type English letters, Chinese characters, numerals and punctuation marks; plus they can issue commands and perform other functions with it.

Keyboards, inspired by typewriters, typically feature a standard layout with each key carrying an icon indicating its function or character. Some keyboards even contain additional keys not included in the standard set for added convenience.


A mouse is a hand-held device used to move the pointer on a computer screen. It’s an input device for all desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

A mouse typically uses a rolling ball to detect movement along both x- and y-axes, as well as one or more buttons for controlling its pointing direction on a computer display. These mice can be either wired or cordless in design.


A speaker is an electronic hardware device that produces sound. They may be external speakers or built-in to your computer.

A speaker works by converting electrical energy into mechanical vibration. Its main component is the transducer element or driver.


Printers are devices that take data from a computer and print it out onto paper. Size, speed, sophistication and cost all vary between printers.

Modern printers allow for two-dimensional printing of text and graphics, as well as three-dimensional printing of solid objects. For instance, 3D printers can create prototypes for computer hardware and medical models.

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