How to understand computer hardware

Table of contents:

How to understand computer hardware
How to understand computer hardware

A computer is a device without which it is almost impossible to live in modern society. Many employers and educational institutions require basic computer skills, such as typing and Internet skills, so that you can print documents or conduct research on a given topic. Computers themselves are capable of much more. Their areas of application are much wider: from running games for entertainment to acting as an additional audio system. How does it all work? Well, without going into details, computers follow the instructions of programs, which are stored as zeros and ones on the hard / floppy / CD drives of the computer. Absolutely all data in a computer is represented in the form of binary code, and not just a program. Binary code is a set of instructions for the hardware of a computer, in other words, everything that is the physical component of the system. Understanding the hardware can come in handy for repairing, upgrading, or assembling a computer.


Understand Computer Hardware Step 1
Understand Computer Hardware Step 1

Step 1. Understand the difference between hardware and software

Before you dive deeper, you first need to know what hardware is and how it differs from software. The key difference is that you can touch the hardware with your hands. Right now, you are flipping through the page with your mouse or keyboard, and the monitor displays the information. These are the pieces of hardware. But you cannot touch the software, because, for example, it is made up of programs that are currently loaded into memory, as well as the operating system.

Understand Computer Hardware Step 2
Understand Computer Hardware Step 2

Step 2. Explore the input devices

Input devices are used to enter data into a computer. The same data can be responsible for instructions for moving the mouse cursor or loading an image. Each input device provides the computer with specific information. This information is sorted into categories according to the underlying hardware:

    • Text input devices


    • Coordinate devices

      • Mouse
      • Touchpad
    • Audio input devices


    • Gaming devices

      • Joystick
      • Game controller
    • Image and video input devices

      • Scanner
      • Webcam
Understand Computer Hardware Step 3
Understand Computer Hardware Step 3

Step 3. Explore the main output devices

“Inference” refers to how the computer responds to user input. For example, in response to mouse movement, the cursor moves on the screen. If you press the spacebar in the notebook, the cursor will move as many times to the right as you press it. Output devices are also sorted into categories according to hardware:

    • Video


    • Images

      a printer

    • Sound

      Speakers (regular or headset)

Understand Computer Hardware Step 4
Understand Computer Hardware Step 4

Step 4. Examine the internal computer buses

Do not bother with the internal device of the tires yet, but rather think about what types of devices they control. Internal bus controllers control some output devices, Internet access, and, in older systems, certain input devices. Other types of internal computer buses can drive disk drives such as IDE or SATA, floppy disks, and more.

Understand Computer Hardware Step 5
Understand Computer Hardware Step 5

Step 5. Examine the external computer buses

You are most likely already familiar with USB, or Universal Serial Bus. This bus, as well as a number of other buses, including eSATA and external version of SATA devices, are external buses.

Understand Computer Hardware Step 6
Understand Computer Hardware Step 6

Step 6. Explore internal and removable storage devices

You, of course, do not need to know all of them, the basic ones will be enough. You need to know the difference between an IDE and SATA drive and a floppy disk drive, about which disks go into which drive, what the cables look like, which drive is the master and which is the slave, and so on. You should know the difference between CDs and DVDs, what are R and RW discs, what are hard drives, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and even terabytes. If that interests you, learn the basics of how each drive stores information. Also learn about USB devices. This is not as important as learning about internal memory and removable storage devices, since they are simple enough to plug in and install to work, but it clearly won't hurt you to learn at least something about them.

Understand Computer Hardware Step 7
Understand Computer Hardware Step 7

Step 7. Find out what the motherboard is

Find out what a CPU is (about which ones are better and which boards they are compatible with) and RAM (learn about types such as DRAM, DDR2, etc.). Learn about the basic I / O system and how to set it up. Finally, if you're curious, learn about CMOS memory and chipset. Information about input and output devices and buses will come in handy when examining a computer's motherboard, because it can help you determine if a particular part is suitable for your computer.


  • Learn more about hardware.

    This article is by no means a complete guide to computer hardware, nor can it even be called an introduction. It only talks about how to become familiar with the computer hardware. Whether you get real knowledge from this page is entirely up to you. If you are building or upgrading your computer and are in doubt about a new graphics card or more RAM, look for hardware information or ask a friend who understands technology.

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