Understanding the Basics of Computer Hardware

Introduction to hardware

Hardware constitutes all the physical components of the computer. Not all the hardware is visible or external. Some of the hardware is inside the computer’s casing that protects them from getting damaged. The external hardware is comprised of a monitor, mouse, keyboard and the central processing unit (CPU) and the internal ones are the motherboard, hard drive, RAM, power supply unit, etc. Out of all the parts, the motherboard is one of the most essential parts of the hardware. Every part of the hardware performs certain tasks that work together for the computer functions.

Components of hardware

The following are the main components of hardware that affects the working of a computer:

  • Motherboard: The motherboard is inside the PC that connects the various parts of the computer together. It doesn’t necessarily affect the performance of the computer directly, but it affects the parts of the PC. The motherboard also decides on the input and output of the computer that is the keyboard, mouse, USB ports, video, and audio outputs. Every motherboard needs to be compatible with the device to which it is installed.
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU): CPU is the brain of the computer; it gives the required instructions to the other parts of the computer. The CPU has the capability to affect the working and performance of the computer. With a high-tech CPU the computer will work faster and is capable of performing difficult tasks. As the brain of the computer, the CPU is one of the major components of the computer.
  • Hard Disk Drive (HDD): The major task performed by the HDD is that it stores information or data permanently in its disk. The drive uses magnets and a disk to imprint the data into the disk. The newer version of HDD is a Solid State Drive (SDD) that is built in a different way but does the same functions as HDD. SDD uses flash memory instead of any moving parts. The data is stored electronically and is also read faster.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM): RAM is where the computer stores the temporary memory while using a particular program. Once the program is removed the temporary data related to it also goes away. This is the reason why a computer requires RAM in order to store the data while the program is running. An upgraded RAM means one can run any programs at the same time and they will also run faster which results in an efficient computer.
  • Power Supply Unit (PSU): As the term describes, it is the hardware that supplies power to all the parts of the computer. It converts the energy received from the wall socket into energy in which the computer runs. A higher watt does not specifically mean better working of the computer. Watts usually depends on the power consumption of the other components of the computer. PSU does not exactly affect the performance of the computer, but it is needed in order to run the computer.
  • Computer Monitor: A computer monitor is the display screen which provides video output and some of the monitors also come with sound output. Monitors come in different sizes and have some different features. Some recognize video inputs such as VGA or HDMI and for some, the screen needs to be compatible with the graphics card.
  • Speakers: Some of the motherboard or monitors come with an inbuilt sound system but for more effective sound output, one can add speakers to their PC.
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): Graphics Processing Unit is responsible for the output of every visual of the PC and video playbacks. Most motherboards come with the video card that recognizes and plays back videos and lets one do some basic video editing. But for advanced editing, a graphics card will need to be installed on their motherboard.
  • Optical drive: An optical drive is required to read CDs/DVDs, but most importantly, it is required to install an operating system on the computer. Without an operating system, the hardware and software of the computer will not work. There is also Blu-ray Drive that reads Blu-ray disks along with other DVDs/CDs, but is unable to write CDs or DVDs.
  • Computer case or Tower: Computer cases keep the various electronic components safe and in place. The case or tower also provides proper ventilation in order to avoid overheating. Many cases come with USB ports in the front and also protect the hardware from dust. A tower is very important to keep all the fragile components properly protected.

Importance of hardware

In today’s fast-paced world, computers play a vital role in everyone’s day-to-day lives. And without hardware a computer cannot work which is the reason why one takes extra care of the hardware of the computer. Every component that constitutes hardware needs to be in its best condition so that the computer can work efficiently.