What Is Hardware & Common Types Of Hardware Used On A Computer


Hardware has various meanings. In its literal sense, it is a tool, machine, equipment or any physical component that is durable. In the world of computing, hardware means all tangible or physical components. Any part of the computer that you can see in real is hardware. Likewise, all virtual components are defined as software.

A computer is made up of numerous types of hardware. The most significant hardware components are the motherboard, central processing unit, the random access memory, power circuits and hard drives or solid state drives. It must be noted that the central processing unit comprises of many more hardware ranging from chips to the processors. Then you have the optical drives, video cards and card readers which are also hardware. You will not see these hardware components unless you open the case of your cabinet or that of your laptop or if you have a transparent case for your cabinet.

While the aforementioned hardware components can be found inside a personal computer or laptop, there are many external hardware that you can see. Among these, you have a monitor, a keyboard and mouse, a UPS or battery in case of a laptop, printer and speakers if installed.

The two aforementioned sets of hardware are necessary for a computer to be used to its fullest potential. Without most of the above hardware components, your computer or laptop would be useless and wouldn’t function at all. There are many other common hardware components that include accessories and enhancers. For instance, there are sound cards, network interface cards, expansion cards, hard drive controller cards, modems, scanners, joysticks, webcams, microphones, zip drives and tape drives among others. Network hardware have also become common today as most people use digital modems, network switches, routers, access points, repeaters, bridges, firewall and print servers among others.

It is necessary to note that apart from the computing hardware, there is some basic hardware which is essential for the functioning of the computer or laptop. You need a fan and heat sink to keep the systems cool, a data cable to share files, music and movies and to connect to other devices, a power cable and daughter board among others.

From spike busters to memory cards, everything that you use in or on your computer that has a physical presence and physical utility is hardware.