Computer hardware is the physical parts inside a computer that connect to form a complete system. Also referred to as computer hw, it includes devices that take input from the user such as a mouse or keyboard.
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The motherboard is a giant circuit board that connects all the other components of your computer. It allocates power, translates instructions and transfers data to make the other hardware talk to one another.
Motherboards have a wide variety of ports and slots for connecting hardware like hard drives, RAM and expansion cards. They also have a processor socket, allowing you to install the CPU (your computer’s mechanical brain).
Modern motherboards feature chipsets that work with specific CPU generations. The chipset relays communications between the CPU and the many high-speed expansion and storage devices connected to your motherboard.
The CPU is the brain that guides your computer as it processes data, whether you’re making TikTok videos or filling out spreadsheets. It does this with silicon chips that house billions of microscopic transistors.
Four primary functions of the CPU are fetching instructions from program memory (aka RAM), decoding those instructions using a set of binary-decode circuits, executing or carrying out those instructions, and writing the result back to program memory.
Computer RAM works closely with the CPU, temporarily storing information created by programs so it’s immediately accessible. It’s often referred to as volatile memory because it loses its contents when the PC shuts down.
Like your own short-term memory, RAM helps store the data your computer needs most, like a web page you’re looking at or a word processor document. Without it, you might see your computer slow down or crash as it tries to load too much data at once.
Unlike storage, which is where data resides for the long term and remains accessible even when your device loses power, RAM keeps the most important data close at hand. It’s also fast, transmitting information to the CPU in milliseconds. Newer technologies like SDRAM and DDR make it even faster.
Graphics cards are responsible for displaying everything you see on your screen, whether it’s videos, games or even just your regular desktop environment. They’re found in every device that uses a display, from tablets to smartwatches to your PS5 or Xbox X Series – even your phone has one!
Modern graphics cards have cores, which are processors dedicated to graphics-intensive computing. A higher core count means better performance, as does a faster clock speed.
Some GPUs have built-in cooling systems, while others are designed to accept additional fans or liquid coolers for even greater performance. You can find a list of your graphics card’s specs by opening System Information in Windows.
A computer’s graphics card (also known as a GPU) converts instructions from other programs into visual renderings on the screen. This includes everything from 3D games to a regular desktop environment. It is also responsible for processing huge amounts of data in a very short amount of time—drawing and redrawing images tens or hundreds of times per second to ensure everything looks smooth.
There are two main types of graphics cards: integrated and discrete. Integrated GPUs are built into the motherboard and cannot be upgraded or replaced. These are often found in laptops and inexpensive desktop PCs.
A mouse is a computer hardware input device that allows users to select files, text, folders and icons by moving the cursor on the screen. It needs to be placed on a flat surface as users have to move it smoothly to control the cursor’s movements. Its name comes from its elliptical shape and a connecting wire that resembles the mouse’s tail.
It converts hand movements backward and forward, left and right into electronic signals that control the movement of the pointer. The buttons on a mouse can also send specific commands to the computer.
The keyboard is an external hardware component that allows you to input text, characters and commands into your computer, desktop or tablet. It is a flat board with different types of keys that represent letters, numbers and symbols as well as various functions like copy, paste and delete.
The standard keyboard is based on the QWERTY layout designed long ago for typewriters and continues to be the primary input device for PCs.
Keyboards with additional programmable or macro functions are often used by gamers to optimize their performance in computer games. Some multifunctional keyboards allow users to control multiple screens and information sources, making them popular in high-performance work environments like financial trading rooms and control room settings.