Hardware is a general term that refers to the physical artifacts of a technology. It may also mean the physical components of a computer system, in the form of computer hardware.
Modern hardware stores typically sell equipment such as keys, locks, hinges, latches, corners, handles, wire, chains, plumbing supplies, tools, utensils, cutlery and machine parts, especially when they are made of metal.
In a more colloquial sense, hardware can refer to military equipment, such as tanks, aircraft, ships or munitions. In the case of vehicles, such may instead be referred to as armour.
Personal computer hardware
A personal computer is made up of multiple physical components of computer hardware, upon which can be installed an operating system and a multitude of software to perform the operator's desired functions.
Typical PC hardware
Though a PC comes in many different form factors, a typical personal computer consists of a case or chassis in a tower shape (desktop) and the following parts:
The motherboard is the "body" of the computer. Components directly attached to the motherboard include:
The central processing unit (CPU) performs most of the calculations which enable a computer to function, and is sometimes referred to as the "brain" of the computer. It is usually cooled by a heat sink and fan.
The chipset mediates communication between the CPU and the other components of the system, including main memory.
RAM Stores all running processes (applications) and the current running OS. RAM Stands for Random Access Memory
The BIOS includes boot firmware and power management. The Basic Input Output System tasks are handled by operating system drivers.
Internal Buses connect the CPU to various internal components and to expansion cards for graphics and sound.
The northbridge memory controller, for RAM and PCI Express
PCI Express, for graphics cards
PCI, for other expansion cards
SATA, for disk drives
ATA (superseded by SATA)
AGP (superseded by PCI Express)
VLB VESA Local Bus (superseded by AGP)
ISA (expansion card slot format obsolete in PCs, but still used in industrial computers)
External Bus Controllers support ports for external peripherals. These ports may be controlled directly by the
Includes power cord, switch, and cooling fan. Supplies power at appropriate voltages to the motherboard and internal disk drives.