The physical components of a computer are generally known as computer hardware. This part includes the microprocessor, random access memory (RAM), hard disk, local area network (LAN), video adapter, and wireless card. In this article, we will break down the various kinds of hardware into four categories: the operating system, input/output devices, output/output devices, and memory. By classifying the physical components of a computer, it is easier to understand why a machine needs to function.
The operating system is what controls the physical elements of a computer such as the hardware and the software. This part of the computer is what makes it start up and shut down. An operating system also maintains the login environment and controls the computer’s services. Since all physical changes to the computer happen inside an operating system, the operating system is what enables users to interact with the computer.
The second kind of computer hardware is the input/output devices or I/O devices. These include keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, speaker, USB, video card, and the like. I/O devices are used to process requests from the user and send messages back and forth to them. They are attached to a peripheral device like a scanner or a digital camera. Input/output devices form the backbone of many computer programs and are therefore very important to every personal computer.
The third kind of hardware is the processing unit or processor. The processor is the central unit of the computer which controls the various processing commands carried out by the software. The main role of the processing unit is to process instructions handed over by the software developers, install programs on the computer, translate messages passed on from the user into actions, manage resources like RAM, hard disk, CPU time, and the like.
One of the top three types of computer hardware is the microprocessor. Although it is relatively new in the personal computer industry, the microprocessor has already carved out a niche for itself. The microprocessor is based on instructions stored in an embedded memory chip called the Application Identification Information (AID) and linked with the central processing unit. Like other hardware parts, microprocessors are manufactured in special chips made of silicon that is sensitive to electronic signals. The e-waste problem, though, could be solved with the use of chip switching technology that makes use of logic gates to divide up the silicon chips into smaller components, thereby reducing the total e-waste to a minimum.
Another example of computer hardware that is usually found in PCs is the graphics card. Graphics cards are integrated circuits that directly connected to the mainboard or CPU to provide visual output for the computer users. While most of the graphics card manufacturers have come up with their own proprietary formats for graphics card data, there are some companies that offer recycling parts that are compatible with all formats provided by the graphics card manufacturer.
The third major component is the hard disk drive or solid state drive. It is often believed that the computer is basically a collection of computer parts. This is because the computer case, which is the main article of the computer, is where the main part of the computer is located and also houses many other components that make up the computer. Though the computer case alone constitutes the main article of the computer, it does not mean that all the other components are not important. In fact, they play an important role in the computing environment and cannot be ignored.
One of the most important computer components is the motherboard. The motherboard is the major component that houses the main article of the computer such as the processor chip and the storage units such as hard disk drives. Unlike the CPU, the motherboard plays a passive role in the computing environment. It is not necessary for the operating system to have an active component connected to the motherboard; in fact, it is only when the user starts up the machine that the motherboard begins to communicate with the rest of the system.