How familiar are you with computers?
Without a doubt, you sure are very familiar with the computer you are using. In fact, you can work on it even if you were only half awake. That may be true with the applications installed in your computer. But are you familiar with the hardware that makes up your computer?
A typical computer assembly looks something like this.
Computer Hardware Defined
By definition, computer hardware consists of the different components of a computer system. These physical parts include the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and computer case.
The other parts or components found inside the computer case are also called computer hardware. They include:
- hard disk drive
- video card
- sound card
- removable media device
- power supply
- other parts of the computer that you can physically touch
Looking inside the computer case you are likely to find the typical hardware components listed above.
Software And Hardware Elements Of A Computer System
There are two major elements in a computer system, namely: software and hardware. Computer software is a set of instructions or commands that allow a computer to perform specific functions or operations.
The hardware, as defined above consists of those hard components of the computer. For a computer to operate and function fully, both software and hardware are required.
The bigger and visible components of the computer are easy to identify and recognize. You should be able to easily identify the keyboard, computer case, and monitor.
But can you identify the power supply unit, motherboard, expansion slots, internal hard disk drive, optical disk drive, sound and video cards, and the cooling fan?
Desktop And Laptop Computers
Computers are classified into two types: desktop computers, and the laptop computers. Desktop computers are generally bulkier in form and consist of computer case with all the internal components, a monitor or computer screen, mouse and keyboard. This computer type is not portable and as the name suggests – it is usually placed on a table or desk.
Laptop computers, on the other hand, basically have the same components except that they are more compact and all the components are integrated into a single unit which is portable and can be carried around as they are also lighter in weight.
In the early laptop days, however, businessmen and executives put them in leather briefcases with two strap holders held by solid brass rivets which could carry the still-relatively heavy weight of the laptop back then.
Laptop computers were not as compact and lighter as they are today. Hence, the need for a sturdy briefcase to carry the laptop around.
Hardware Components Inside The Computer Case
In order to become familiar with the computer hardware components inside the computer case, you should learn to disassemble the computer case and the parts inside it. There is no better way to get around those hardware components than by actually going hands-on.
Inside the computer case, you should find:
- A power supply unit which converts the general-purpose electricity to direct current for all the other components.
- The motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) on which numerous essential components are mounted. This is the most critical hardware component of any desktop or laptop computer. The mother board includes the CPU (central processing unit), RAM (random access memory), external and internal buses, firmware, and expansion slots.
- An optical disk drive provides the capability to read from and write to CDs and DVDs.
- Internal storage is the component where data inside the computer is stored for later use. Most computers come with an internal hard disk drive (HDD) which serves as the storage device for software applications and data files.
- Removable media devices are hardware components that you can attach to the computer when you need to use them, and remove from the computer when you’re done using them. A typical computer assembly would include a CD or DVD drives. The more modern computers have Blu-ray drives which have the capability to hold a larger amount of information as compared to CDs or DVDs. A removable media device which has become obsolete and less used is the floppy disk drive. Only older models of desktop computers may still have this drive.
- A video card is also known as video adapter, graphics card, or graphics adapter. It is an expansion card that allows the computer to send graphical data to the monitor or computer screen. Newer models no longer have video cards because they are already integrated into the motherboard.
- A sound card is also known as sound adapter, audio adapter or audio card. It allows the computer to send audio data to the computer’s speakers or headphones. Like the video card, most computers no longer have a sound card as it is already integrated into the motherboard.
The hardware components inside the computer case may seem daunting but if you get your hands on them it will be easier to identify each part.
With a little more time spent looking at these components, you’re gonna be familiar with each and every hardware part of the desktop or laptop computer you have.
Can you identify each hardware component and its function?