Hardware refers to all components which are required to operate a computer. These components form the basic foundation on which a user’s computer system is based. It consists of a collection of devices or components that work together in order to give an output when used together with one another. Computer hardware includes all the hardware components of a PC, including the main board, hard disk, CPU, optical drive, computer memory, motherboard, sound card and video card. Together, all the various hardware components of a PC form the PC.
In addition to the hardware components of a PC, the operating system, also known as the operating system, software and various drivers along with various other auxiliary components of the PC are also present. Though most of the hardware components of a PC are interchangeable with each other, there are some components that are unique to a particular computer system. To be precise, the hardware components of a PC vary according to the type of PC that it is. The operating system, for instance, can be either Windows or Mac-based, while the various other components, like the graphics card or the sound card depend on the type of computer system that is in use.
There are two types of hardware that are generally found in a desktop computer system – permanent and removable components. Permanent computer hardware such as the hard disk, the motherboard, the keyboard and the processor are permanently fixed into the PC. Removable computer hardware, on the other hand, can be replaced whenever the need arises. Depending on the nature of the task that needs to be performed, different types of hardware components are installed in PCs. The most commonly used components include the RAM (RAM modules), the hard drive, the battery and the optic drives.
A processor is the most essential component of the CPU (Computing Processing Unit) of a PC. This is responsible for translating instructions contained in an instruction set into actual data that is read by the CPU. Instruction sets are composed of instructions and data that are stored in the form of values that can be accessed by the PC. Instructions are executed by the PC when it receives them from the microprocessor. Instructions that are referred to are compiled by the compiler.
There are two types of hardware that are usually integrated in a desktop PC – the hardware and the operating system. The microprocessor of the CPU is embedded in a chip called the central processing unit. Aside from the cpu, there is another type of mainboard that connects the hardware and the operating system. The motherboard carries the PCI (PCI compliant) bus that enables the PC to communicate with the rest of the components of the CPU.
Modern desktop PC’s has many additional types of built-in hardware that are specially designed to serve specific purposes. For example, a mouse can be built into a PC if the user wishes to control the device through the mouse. A CD player can be integrated in a laptop if the laptop is equipped with a CD player. A TV tuner can also be built in to modern computer systems for the purpose of receiving media such as cable or satellite feeds. Modern PC’s and laptops can also be equipped with audio and video capture devices for use in web cams.