Hardware is a term used to describe the non-software components that are included in a PC. Hardware is divided into analog and digital forms. Computer hardware also includes the internal components of a computer, including the central processing unit (CPU), main memory, hard drive, random access memory (RAM), system board, expansion slots and card readers. The operating system software also comprises of the drivers that allow the user to interact with the hardware. The computer hardware includes various devices that can be upgraded or replaced to enhance the performance of the computer.
Modern desktop PC’s come with several hardware components that are customizable. These components include audio cards, CD ROM/writers, DVD ROM/writers, USB drives, webcams, television tuners, smoke alarms, global positioning systems, mice, keyboards and external ports. A complete range of hardware is available for the computer system. The hardware is organized into groups according to their function.
Some examples of typical desktop Pcs include desktop PCs, notebooks, netbooks, laptop, tablet computers and others. Desktop Pcs has an integrated set of hardware components that are common to all models. These common components include video cards, processors, hard diskettes, optical drives, memory cards, Wireless LAN cards, video monitors, keyboards, USB drives and audio speakers.
On the other hand, laptops have some specific set of hardware components that differ from the normal desktop PC. For example, a laptop has a special type of mother board unlike a normal PC. Laptops use the so called ‘motherboard’ to communicate with the rest of the hardware and run applications. A regular PC differs from a laptop in many ways.
A processor, commonly abbreviated as CPU, is the most important component in any desktop computer. It is responsible to execute instructions from software and performing basic mathematical calculations. Although the word processor is the most common software on a laptop, the CPU is the main processor of a desktop computer. It performs various arithmetic and logical operations that allow programs to execute quickly and determine the result. The most important and critical part of the CPU is its heat sink; it controls the heat produced by the CPU and helps to keep the CPU stable over a long period of time.
The optical drive is another component that is found in many different desktop computers. It is used to store data such as images and songs. The optical disc has a data compression mechanism that helps in transferring large files. Another common hardware component is the microprocessor, which is responsible for execution of the applications and data-intensive tasks. Other important hardware components include the memory controller and the boot manager.