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If you are new to working with computers or just want to get more out of them, this page is right for you.

Hardware Basics

By Juan Gonzalez posted July 20, 2017

What is hardware?

When one speaks of computer Hardware, they are referring, specifically, to the physical components that make up the computer. Hardware differs from computer to computer but all computers must have a few basic components to be considered computers. Some of the main physical components of a computer are:


The Central Processing Unit has evolved quite a bit over the years (give examples). It is often referred to as the "Brain" of the computer. Nowadays its ability to process information is measured in Gigahertz. The higher the number the better the CPU.

RAM (Memory)

Random Access Memory is a type of storage that is used in computer systems to store information temporarily while it is being used by software. It is called volatile since it only stores information while the computer has power. When the computer is shut off, the information within the RAM is lost. It is also measured in Gigahertz. Higher numbers are typically better.

ROM (Storage)

Read Only Memory is any type of medium that information can be read from but not altered. There is ROM on your computers main board or motherboard. Some examples of ROM are DVD, CD, Blue ray disc, Game console cartridges etc... It is considered non-volatile memory because the information it contains is not lost when the machine is powered down.


A Hard Drive or a Solid-State Drive are components where your permanent information is stored. Your computer will need some place to store all of your pictures, music, documents, and even the programs that you install. The older hard drives have moving parts such as a moving arm and a spinning disc while the newer solid-state drives have no moving parts. Solid state drives tend to have faster read and write speeds and last longer than traditional hard drives. Storage is measured in Gigahertz. While traditional hard drive can cost less for more storage, solid state drives tens to cost a lot more for less storage space. It is not uncommon to see hard drives advertised at 1 TB (terabyte) or more while SSD's are advertised at 128 Gb, 256 Gb, and 256 Gb. Note: A Terabyte is equal to 1024 gigabytes.

If you are going to be using a desktop computer with a non-touch monitor, you will need a keyboard and mouse or touchpad.

You will also need a monitor and, if you are going to want to output sound, you will need speakers. To input sound, you will need a microphone.

Step 2


At this point, you will begin to connect the different parts of your computer system together.

The first thing you want to do is find a cool dry place near an outlet to plug your CPU tower in. A Cool and dry location is essential to the life and function of your computer. Heat and moisture are the enemy when it comes to the speed and longevity of your electronic equipment.

Once you have plugged the tower in and before you turn it on, plug in the monitor and the keyboard/mouse input devices.

Although it is often called the CPU tower, it houses much mor than just your Central Processing Unit. inside it you will also find:

ram memory, rom memory and the graphics processing unit at the very least.

You may also have cd, dvd, or bluray drives installed.