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Hardware: Computer Components


Hardware is an extensive term for all of the physical parts of a PC, as distinguished from the information it contains or works on, and the software that gives directions to the hardware to fulfill assignments. The limit amongst hardware and software is somewhat foggy – firmware is programming that is “inherent” to the hardware, yet such firmware is typically the region of PC software engineers and PC designs regardless and not an issue that PC clients need to fret about.


Computer Components

Computers come in different types and sizes. There are two primary sizes of PCs. They are:

Compact or Portable

The compact computers come in different sizes and are alluded to as laptop, notebooks, and hand-held PCs. These are the diverse sizes, the laptop being the biggest, and the hand-held the smallest.


Computers are made up of the these basic components

Case with Hardware inside:

  • Power Supply – The power supply comes with the case, but this component is mentioned separately since there are various types of power supplies. The one you should get depends on the requirements of your system.
  • Motherboard – This is where the core components of your computer reside which are listed below. Also the support cards for video, sound, networking and more are mounted into this board.
  • Microprocessor – This is the brain of your computer. It performs commands and instructions and controls the operation of the computer.
  • Memory – The RAM in your system is mounted on the motherboard. This is memory that must be powered on to retain its contents.
  • Drive controllers – The drive controllers control the interface of your system to your hard drives. The controllers let your hard drives work by controlling their operation. On most systems, they are included on the motherboard; however you may add additional controllers for faster or other types of drives.
  • Hard disk drive(s) – This is where your files are permanently stored on your computer. Also, normally, your operating system is installed here.
  • CD-ROM drive(s) – This is normally a read only drive where files are permanently stored. There are now read/write CD-ROM drives that use special software to allow users to read from and write to these drives.
  • Floppy drive(s) – A floppy is a small disk storage device that today typically has about 1.4 Megabytes of memory capacity.
  • Monitor – This device which operates like a TV set lets the user see how the computer is responding to their commands.
  • Keyboard – This is where the user enters text commands into the computer.
  • Mouse – A point and click interface for entering commands which works well in graphical environments.
  • Other possible file storage devices include DVD devices, Tape backup devices, and some others. 

Computer Cases

There are two basic style of cases the computer may come assembled in. They are tower and desktop style cases. Desktop style is in the shape of a rectangular box that sets flat on a desk. Usually the computer monitor is placed on top of it. A tower case, looks similar to a tower as the name says. These computers will be placed off to the side of the keyboard and monitor. The tower case is the most popular style of desktop computer today. Tower cases come in several sizes which are:
Mini-tower – The smallest.
Mid-tower – The standard size, recommended for most applications including standard desktop systems and some servers.
Full-tower – The largest. Usually this is a very tall case and you may have a difficult time fitting it where overhead is limited. This case is usually used for high powered servers.

Recommend To Read: Hardware – Computer Memory

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