Computer Hardware – Understanding Computer Components
It is easy to get confused when you are researching computers. Many newcomers get frustrated and it seems like the salesman at the local big box electronic store is speaking a foreign language. Many terms and words apply to the PC industry that does not apply to any other aspect of living. What is software? What is hardware? What is the CPU? ROM? RAM? Let’s take a moment to look at some examples of computer hardware.
Computer hardware is just that, the “hard” surfaces you can touch. Hardware is what the PC is made of. Software is the programs running on the hardware that tell your computer what to do when you use the computer to balance your checkbook, look at email, or surf the internet. Examples of computer hardware include:
- The Monitor – what you view the results on, like a television.
- The CPU – central processing unit is where all the complicated math and computing happen.
- CD or DVD ROM – This is the drive that “reads” CDs or DVDs.
- ROMs are NOT burners the “read-only.”
- CD or DVD RW – These are the drives that “burn” or “make” CDs and DVDs.
- Typically they can read and write on a cd or DVD.
- Memory – This is just as it reads; the more memory your PC has, the better it will function.
- Printer – This allows you to print documents (your resume,) pictures, and many times printers have more than one function. Many printers can double up as scanners, fax machines, and copiers.
- Wireless or Hardwired Routers – These are the devices that allow you to connect to other computers in your “network.” They can work singly or in conjunction with “modems” which are the devices that allow you to connect to the internet.
Although the list above is quite extensive, it does not include all the examples of computer hardware you might run into. Lots of devices are considered hardware (remember, you can touch hardware.) The list of devices not mentioned includes CDs and DVDs, flash drives, floppy drives and disks, the mouse and keyboard, and the hard drives that store the operating systems and software on.
All PC have different configurations of hardware. Some offer more memory, storage, or optional drives. The type of computer you purchase will depend on what you do with it. There are different configurations available for virtually every application and desire. Whether you are going to play games, just email and surf the net, or plot the distances between the planets and stars, there is a computer set up and ready for you to purchase. Each will be configured a little differently based upon what demands your applications will place upon the hardware.
In simple terms, it is computer software or a program that lets other higher-level programs (like applications) interact with a hardware device. These drivers are also known as Hardware drivers or software drivers or device drivers. In other words, these are special programs that act as a translator or interface between user-friendly applications or operating systems and the hardware device.
Why does it matter to have the latest update of drivers?
First and foremost it improves the performance of the interaction between the high-level application or operating system and the device being used. This in terms tremendously improves the user experience of the person using his personal PC with the latest update. The game you were playing would respond faster and you can see an increase in performance when it interacts with the game controller. It would prevent those nasty errors you might be experiencing while doing a specific function with the device at the application level.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different examples of computer hardware and can make an informed decision when making your next purchase.
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