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What is Computer Hardware

What is Computer Hardware?

Want to know what your computer's hardware is? Become a computer pro with our quick guidance on key components and their roles.

Simply put, computer hardware is the physical components required by a computer system. It includes everything that has a circuit board operating inside a PC or laptop; including motherboard, graphics card, CPU (Central Processing Unit), ventilation advantage, webcam, power supply, and more.

Although the hardware design differs between desktop PCs and laptops due to their differences in size, the same core components appear the same. Without hardware, there is no way to run important software that makes computers more useful. Software is defined as virtual programs running on your computer; that is, operating system, internet browser, word processing documents, and so on.

Even if a computer can operate only when the same hardware and software work together, the speed of a system will largely depend on the hardware used.

When repairing a new computer, or replacing old components, you may need to know the specific hardware on your computer. The purpose of this guide is to help you understand the basic functions of your computer.

What is a Motherboard?

The motherboard is at the center of what makes a PC work. It houses the CPU and is a hub that all other hardware runs through. The motherboard acts as a brain; allocating power where it’s needed, communicating with and coordinating across all other components – making it one of the most important pieces of hardware in a computer.

When choosing a motherboard, it’s important to check what hardware ports the motherboard supplies. It’s vital to check how many USB ports, and what grade (USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1) they are, as well as what display ports are used (HDMI, DVI, RGB) and how many of each there are. The ports on the motherboard will also help you define what other hardware will be compatible with your computer, such as what type of RAM and graphics card you can use.

Although the motherboard is just one piece of circuitry, it is home to another one of the most important pieces of hardware: the processor.

What is a CPU (Central Processing/Processor Unit)?

The CPU (Central Processing Unit or processor) is responsible for processing all information from programs run by your computer. The ‘clock speed’, or the speed at which the processor processes information, is measured in gigahertz (GHz). This means that a processor advertising a high GHz rating will likely perform faster than a similarly specified processor of the same brand and age.

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