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What is Computer Hardware?

Basic – Computing

Reading Time – 1 minute, 28 seconds

The hardware is the tangible components of a computer system that you can use to input and output information. The main components of a computer system are hardware and software. The hardware is controlled by computer software which consists of a set of program instructions that collaborates with hardware to perform an action.

Computer hardware differs based on the type of computing system. A typical desktop computer consists of hardware such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse and computer case which houses other internal hardware components such as motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), data storage devices, graphic cards, disk drives. A laptop computer integrates all these parts into a portable compact device.

There are other external hardware devices such as the printer, scanner, microphone, digital camera, webcam, speaker, USB flash drives that can be connected to a computer system to perform different tasks.

What are the categories of Hardware?

Hardware devices can be categorized into the following categories based on their functionality.

  1. Input devices – The devices that you can use to feed data into a computer to be processed by software applications. The typical examples of input devices are mouse, keyboard, touch-pad, touch screen, scanner, and webcam.
  2. Output devices – The devices that convert processed data into a human-readable form such as audio, videos, text and graphics. The computer monitor, printer and speakers are examples for output devices.
  3. Processing devices – The devices that execute program instructions and process data accordingly. The CPU, GPU, and motherboard are examples of processing devices.
  4. Storage devices – The devices that you can use to store data and retrieve later through processing devices. These devices can be internal and external storage devices such as hard disk drive (HDD), random access memory (RAM), USB flash drives and external hard drives.

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