HARDWARE THEORY


By Stephanie Anderson


external image computer-hardware.jpg





What is hardware?


A computer comprises of hardware and software. Hardware is the name given to physical components (eg, circuit boards, mouse) while software refers to the programs loaded onto the computer. Hardware can be installed inside a computer or connected to ports. When buying a new computer, hardware specifications (commonly called specs) are listed. To assist you in understanding what each of theses specifications means, I have defined the basics and compared the following two computers:

Computer A: Acer Aspire 5422g
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Computer B: HP Pavillion MS224IN
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1. Central Processing Unit:


DEFINITION
COMPUTER_A
COMPUTER_B
5-cpu.jpg
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is responsible for interpreting and executing the commands from the computer's hardware and software.
...
Its speed is measured in Gigahertz. 1GHz per second is 1 billion clock cycles. The faster your CPU, the better your computer will run.
...
Popular CPU manufacturers are Intel and AMD.
Intel Core i5-460M
2.53GHz
AMD ATHLON
1.91GHz

2. Hard Disk Drive:


DEFINITION
COMPUTER_A
COMPUTER_B
external image HDD-ST340014A-N-unit.jpg
The hard disk drive (HDD) is the main data storage device. The operating system, software, and almost all the other files are stored in the hard disk drive. It is often called the “C drive”.
...
The amount of data an HDD can store is measured in Gigabytes. The more Gigabytes your hard disk drive has, the more data you can store.
...
Popular HDD manufacturers are Seagate, Western Digital and Hitachi.
500GB HDD
320GB HDD

3. Random Access Memory:


DEFINITION
COMPUTER_A
COMPUTER_B
external image ram-ch.jpg
Random Access Memory (RAM) is the temporary storage in a computer, and controls the amount of data it can work with at a time.
...
The amount of data that RAM is capable of storing is measured in Megabytes and Gigabytes.
...
Popular manufacturers are Corsair, Samsung, Kingston and Micron.
4GB DDR3 RAM
2GB DDR2 RAM

4. Graphics Card:


DEFINITION
COMPUTER_A
COMPUTER_B
external image Gaming-graphics-card.jpg
The Graphics Card or Video Card is the hardware component responsible for rendering the image on the screen. They need to be compatible with the motherboard.
...
Popular Graphics Card manufacturers are NVIDIA and Radeon.
NVIDIA GeForce
GT 420M
NVIDIA GeForce G210 with 512 MB

5. Motherboard:


DEFINITION
COMPUTER_A
COMPUTER_B
external image best-motherboard.jpg
The Motherboard is the meeting place of the ports and hardware of a computer. It houses the CPU. The motherboard determines which hardware components you can install on your computer.
...
Popular manufacturers are ASUS, AOpen, Intel, ABIT, MSI, gigabyte, and Biostar.
Intel
AMD

Below is an image showing various other hardware components:


external image types-of-computer-hardware-2.jpg


For further information on hardware, visit the following sites: