What Is Computer Hardware?

What Is Computer Hardware?

Computer hardware refers to any part of a computer system that processes or stores information. The key components include motherboard, CPU and hard disk drives.

A mouse is a hand-held pointing device with optical sensors to guide its cursor, making it one of the most widely used pieces of computer input hardware.


Transistors are semiconductor devices that enable small current to control much larger voltage. Since their discovery in 1947, transistors have revolutionized electronic device development; replacing bulky vacuum tubes which consumed more power during warm-up periods while also permitting smaller and lighter electronics that consume less energy.

William Shockley, Walter Brattain and John Bardeen of Bell Laboratories in New Jersey invented the transistor in 1947; since then it is found in nearly all electrical devices as a key component of integrated circuits or chips used to construct modern technological gadgets.

A transistor has three terminals – its base, emitter and collector. When subject to forward biasing, electrons flow from emitter to base area via electron flows that create an electric field in base region and diffuse electrons there before entering collector junction – this ratio of electron flows determines its amplification capability.


A motherboard is a large circuit board that connects and controls all of the parts of a computer, acting like the brain of its system and connecting all its various parts to communicate with each other. A motherboard includes ports for external devices as well as PS/2 and USB connectors to connect mice and keyboards respectively.

A Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) works together with the CPU to start up and operate a computer, managing memory and expansion slots as necessary.

Motherboards connect other components of a computer together, such as optical drives, video cards and sound cards. They may even support multiple CPUs and RAM chips simultaneously allowing more powerful computers to be assembled without soldering irons or complex wiring, further decreasing overall size of computers. Popular manufacturers of motherboards include ASUS, Intel and AMD; to work correctly they must be compatible with all other hardware to avoid malfunctioning computers.


Chipsets are essential components of motherboards that facilitate data flow between the CPU and other hardware, including expansion cards and peripheral devices that may connect to a system as well as maximum clocked speed for RAM and hard drives. Furthermore, chipsets determine whether a computer can be overclocked as well as which processor type it supports.

Historically, chipsets were composed of numerous individual integrated circuits that managed individual parts of a computer system. Nowadays, however, modern motherboards feature single pieces of hardware which combine all these functions.

A chipset comprises two main parts, known as Northbridge and Southbridge. The Northbridge connects high-speed devices like memory and graphics controller, while Southbridge handles slower connections for peripherals and expansion cards. Manufacturers generally design specific chipsets for their products – for instance Intel has several options designed specifically to connect desktop and laptop CPUs while AMD offers numerous models tailored towards enthusiast, performance, mainstream markets with various features.


RAM (random access memory) is essential to quickly retrieving files and opening programs on any computer system, known as its digital countertop. RAM stores temporary programs so they can be accessed more rapidly than hard drives would.

SRAM, or Static Random-Access Memory, is one of the most prevalent forms of RAM. Each cell of SRAM uses six transistors and capacitors to store one bit of data, requiring constant power but faster performance with lower dynamic power usage than its DRAM counterparts.

NAND flash memory offers another type of RAM storage. Unlike RAM, NAND flash is nonvolatile and will save data even after power has been turned off on a device; however, NAND flash is slower and more expensive.

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