What is Computer Hardware – Computer Components Explained

What is Computer Hardware

What is Computer Hardware?

There are a huge number of computer users out there who surprisingly enough, don’t know the answer to this question! So what is computer hardware exactly?

You need to think of your PC as a system, one that consists of various components. Some of them, like the version of windows you use and any other programs on your PC, are called software. Meanwhile, in answer to the question what is computer hardware, this is the stuff that you can actually see and feel, the bits that would break if you were to drop them, are called hardware.

Not all of us use exactly the same bits of hardware. However, it’’s a pretty safe bet that most of us have a basic set up of the following hardware components.

Even if you only have a laptop computer, you will still have them, only they are integrated into your computer. For more information about learning hardware click here, or otherwise just continue reading for a basic run down…

what is computer hardware - computer components explained

System Unit

This is the actual computer – All the other bits are known as peripheral devices. When discussing what is computer hardware, this is the most important example we can give.

The system unit, in the case of a desk top computer, is the big chunky thing that usually has a floppy drive and a DVD or CD drive. Inside the system unit there’s actually another disc drive, which is called the hard drive, and this is where everything “in your computer” is stored.

RAM – Random Access Memory

Almost as common a question as “what is computer hardware?” is “What is RAM?” Abbreviated from “Random Access Memory”, this is the part of the computer that stores whatever it is (files, programs and so on) that you are currently working on.

When you open a file up, the computer basically “moves” it into the RAM memory. The reason the computer does this is that RAM works very fast, much faster than your hard drive, and so it means a lot less waiting around for you.

So you’re probably thinking, why not just store everything on the RAM? The reason we don’t is because RAM is very unreliable. RAM cannot store information when the power is turned off, either by accident or intentionally, and so we have to use the hard drive for long term storage. For more information on Computer RAM go here..

Computer Hard Drive

As we’ve just mentioned above, this is where everything stored on your computer goes. We don’t actually see the hard drive because it is housed inside the system unit and needs to stay there.

Quite the opposite of the highly volatile RAM, hard drives are able to store data permanently, with or without power. Most hard drives nowadays have huge memories, into the billions of bytes, which means that we are able to use our computers for years without filling them up. For more information on the computer hard drive read this.

Computer Mouse

What of the simplest examples of “what is computer hardware?” is this extremely handy tool. The mouse is a quite essential piece of hardware for any computer user, as it allows us to navigate through our computers quickly and easily. While it is actually possible to do everything on your computer without a mouse, this would be much more difficult and time consuming!

Computer Keyboard

Another indispensable part of your computer hardware, the keyboard is absolutely vital for interacting with your PC. You need the keyboard, quite simply, to type. The chances are that you will need to type at least one or two words almost every time you log onto your computer, whether it’s just a password, a URL, or even just the “Enter” key. Find more information on the computer keyboard, the layout and the different types of keyboards.

Conclusion – What is Computer Hardware

The more you come to know about what is computer hardware, the more proficient you will become, until eventually you may even be able to build your own computer, customized just for you!


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