Introduction to Computer Hardware

What computer hardware components are for

Let’s start by stating that ordering a brand name or a computer customized with the separate computer parts is entirely affordable for any category of computer users. In fact, if you are a newbie you can have a brand name or a custom built computer by simply having a monitor and a ready-to-use computer case.

However, the computer hardware that we are going to explore consists of something a little more elaborate and frankly, believe it or not, you can get an excellent quality custom computer, even a brand name one, for under $1000 (including the monitor).

OK, let’s go through the computer hardware that you need to be installed and/or connected to your computer.

  • Power supply (1)
  • Computer case (2)
  • Ribbon cables to connect hard drives, CD-ROMs, etc. (3)
  • Internal peripheral devices, such as CD/DVD drive (4), floppy drive (5) and hard drive (6)
  • Internal speaker (7)
  • Power cables (8)
  • Motherboard (9)
  • Memory chip(s) (10)
  • Processor cooler which is above the processor itself (11)
  • Slots for additional cards, such as sound cards, video cards, network cards, etc. (12)
  • Slots to connect external peripheral devices, such as printers, keyboards, mouse devices, etc. (13)
  • Computer monitor (14)
  • Keyboard and computer mouse (15)

Power supply
The power supply is a device which can be purchased separately when you want to build your own computer and have more powerful electrical support for internal devices. Also you can buy a more stronger power supply along with some of the models of computer cases.

In addition, there are individual external power supply devices exist in the computer market which can help you protect your computer hardware from blackouts, brownouts, sags and surges.

Computer case
The computer case is a box into which all computer hardware components are installed, with the exception of monitor, keyboard, mouse and other external peripheral devices.

The computer case contains the following computer hardware components: a power supply, computer bays for mounting internal peripheral devices, such as floppy and hard drives, an internal speaker, additional fans for cooling, LED and switch leads.

The monitor is a computer hardware device which displays all output of the software programs. It is like a TV set but you are sitting much closer to it. I believe, there is no necessity to explain what the computer monitors are for. Instead, you can learn how to choose the right monitor.

Hard drive
Hard drives (or hard disks) are computer devices which store all your computer data, including operating systems, software programs, games, electronic documents, etc.

The motherboard binds all computer parts into a single whole system. All internal and external peripheral devices, processors, memory, additional cards are mounted on or connected to a motherboard. This is why it’s called – MOTHERboard.

The processor unit or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is a heart (better be a brain) of computers. All computer hardware devices and components are managed by CPU. A single operation won’t be able to execute without CPU. Without CPU, the computer turns into a great and unusable pile of iron.

Computer memory (RAM)
Computer memory or Random-Access Memory (RAM) is a computer chip which is designed for temporary storing (and executing) the computer data and software programs. All computer programs, including operating systems, are “loaded” into the computer memory to execute their instructions. (By the way, all instructions are executed by CPU.)

Input/Output devices
This group of computer hardware devices includes

  • video cards
  • sound cards
  • network cards
  • internal/external hard drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs etc.
  • printers, plotters, scanners etc.