Computer hardware is the external and internal components that make up your personal computer, laptop, or tablet. It performs many important tasks and includes items like monitors, keyboards, and hard drives.
The motherboard is a hub that all other computer hardware runs through. It handles power allocation and communicates with all other hardware devices.
You don’t have to hang out with tech professionals all day to know that the motherboard is central to every computer. This printed circuit board houses all of your computer’s internal components and connects them into one cohesive unit.
Motherboards come in different sizes (eATX, ATX, mini-ATX, BTX, and micro-ATX) to fit your computer case. The size of the motherboards dictate how many expansion slots are available and what types of ports are included.
The most important components on the motherboard include a CPU, memory, and a heat sink. The CPU receives all of the computer’s instructions, and the motherboard makes sure that they are routed to the right places for processing. Motherboards also contain a chipset, which handles communication between your computer’s components. Often, new chipsets are introduced with a new generation of processors to keep your computer up-to-date. They also contain USB ports that allow you to connect your computer to external devices, such as pen drives and digital cameras.
A video card is a type of expansion card that allows your computer to send graphical information to a monitor, television or projector. It is also known as a graphics card, display adapter or video controller.
Unlike integrated graphics chips that come with most motherboards, dedicated cards interface with the mother board via an expansion slot to work almost exclusively on graphic rendering. Adding a high-performance card can significantly improve gaming performance and video editing speeds.
A faulty or outdated video card may cause bizarre visual symptoms such as colors that aren’t supposed to be there, 3D models that stretch for no apparent reason, or “digital snow.” If your PC is having these issues, the first thing to check is whether the card has been properly seated in its PCI slot and if any power connectors needed for operation have been securely plugged in with no wiggle room. If neither of these is the case, you should upgrade your power supply to resolve the issue.
The hard disk is the main, and usually largest, data storage device in a computer. It holds the operating system, software titles and most other files.
The disk is a round, spinning platter with thousands of slits or “sectors” that accept an electrical charge and translate that to binary — 1s and 0s. A read/write head moves with an actuator arm across the platters to read and write data to them.
A DSP in the drive electronics takes the raw analog voltages read by the heads, uses PRML or Reed-Solomon error correction to decode them and sends the resulting data over the standard interface. It also performs bad sector remapping and collects data for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T).
Mechanical failure of the drive can be caused by physical damage such as a hard impact or by an internal problem such as a bad sector that makes that area of the disk inaccessible. Logical failure can occur if the firmware that manages the drive’s operation becomes corrupted or stops functioning.
A monitor, or computer screen, is a display device that shows the information processed by your graphics card in an instant. It allows you to view text, graphics and videos on the computer. Monitors come in a variety of sizes and resolutions. They can also be configured to work in grayscale or color.
Traditionally, most monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRT). This technology uses a vacuum tube that houses an electron gun and a phosphorescent screen to create images. The electron gun emits a beam of electrons that periodically stimulate the screen to create pixels on the monitor.
Currently, most monitors use liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. This technology has many advantages over the CRT, including low power consumption and higher brightness levels. Some of the most important features of a monitor are its pixel count, screen size and refresh rate. Other important factors include the monitor’s contrast ratio and its ability to render colors accurately.