Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate - Information Technology/Fundamentals of Hardware

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Overall Objectives of this module:
  • to make users familiar with the components of computer systems;
  • have a competent level of understand of the interrelations of the components that make up a modern computer;
  • be conversant in the correct terms of the technology at hand;
  • Offer career ideas in hardware design, systems engineering, and computer sciences.

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Key points
  • None

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Introduction to PC Components:

Here you will learn computer hardware tutorials introduction, basic pc components, networking devices, ram, vga, monitor and printer etc. Computer hardware is the physical part of the computer including the digital circuits inside the computer as opposed to the software that carry out the computing instructions. The hardware of a computer is unlikely to change frequently unless due to the crash or for upgrading them. The devices that is capable of storing, executing system instructions and controlling other logical outputs.

Hardware comprises all of the physical part of the computer such as Monitor, CPU, motherboard, ram, CD-Rom, printer, scanner, hard disk, flash drive (AKA pen drive), processor, pci buses, floppy disk, power supply, VGA card, sound card, network interface card, peripherals, joystick, mouse, keyboard, foot pedal, computer fan, camera, headset and others.

On the other hard software is a logical part of a computer and is used to carry out the instructions, storing, executing and developing other software programs. A typical PC consists of a case or chassis in the desktop or tower case and these components


  • CPU - Central Processing Unit
  • Computer Fan
  • RAM - Random Access Memory
  • BIOS - Basic Input Output System
  • Digital Circuitry
  • Computer Fan
  • PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Slots

PC Buses

  • PCI - Peripheral Component Interconnect
  • USB - Universal Serial Bus
  • Hyper-transport
  • AGP - Accelerated Graphic Port
  • ISA - Industry Standard Architecture
  • EISA - Extended Industry Standard Architecture
  • VLB - VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) Local Bus


  • CD-Rom
  • DVD-Rom
  • Combo box
  • Joystick
  • Card Reader/Writer

Internal Storage

  • Hard disk (ATA & SATA)
  • Data array controller
  • Floppy disk

Other Peripheral Devices

  • Mouse
  • Modems
  • Digital Camera
  • Sound, Video Cards
  • Printer

Output Devices

  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Monitor
  • Speakers
  • Headset
  • Video output devices

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CPU - Central Processing relates to a specific or processor

The performance of the computer is determined by the CPU chip (processor speed) and the other computer circuitry. Currently, the Pentium chip (processor) is the most popular even though there are other chips available in the market today such as AMD, Motorola and others. The clocks speed becomes most important factor in determining the performance of a computer. The motherboard contains the hardware circuitry and connections that allow the different hardware components of the PC to interact and communicate with each other. Most computer software is being developed for the latest processors so it would be difficult to use the older systems.

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Hard Disk Drives - Disk drive is the mechanism to run the disks.

All disks need a drive to get the information, read it and put it back to the disks. Hard disk is used to store the data permanently. Often the terms disk and drive used to describe the same thing but it should be clear that a disk is a storage device.

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Modem - A modem is used for the modulation and demodulation of the data that is transferred through the modem and the telephone lines.

Modem translates the data from digital to analog from analog to digital. Because on the telephone lines data can travel in the form of the analog signals and in the computer data transmits in the form of digital signals. Modems are measured by the speed which is called baud rate. The typical baud rate is 56Kb.

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Keyboard - The keyboard is used to type something or input information to the computer

There are different designs and models of the keyboards in the market. The most common layout of the keyboard is QWERTY layout. A standard keyboard has 101 keys and embedded keys.

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Video cards - Video cards allow computer to display video, graphics and animation.

Some video cards allow computers to display television. A video card with a digital video camera allows users to produce live video. A high speed broadband internet connection is required to watch the videos on net.

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Network cards - Network interface cards allow PCs to connect with each other and communicate

Every network computer is required to have a NIC card. NIC cards are required both in wired and wireless networking.

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Cables - A cable is one or more wires or optical fibers bound together, typically in a common protective jacket or sheath

There are two broad types of cables internal cables, which are embedded on the mother board circuit that performs the communication between the devices and CPU. The other types of the cables are the network cables like coaxial cable, CAT 5, Ethernet cables. These cables are used for the communication purposes between the devices or computers.

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Memory - Memory is the one of the important piece of the hardware

Sometimes memory chip memory is confused with the hard disk memory. Sometimes unallocated space of the hard disk is used as virtual memory also known as page file. This type of memory is a temporary memory and is used actual memory is less and requires some additional memory to perform a specific task.

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RAM (Random Access Memory) - RAM is a memory that is being used by the computer to store the information temporarily.

For example when some work is performed on some applications that work is temporarily stored in the RAM. More RAM in the computer more faster computer works. Today at least requirement of a modern PC is 64 RAM. RAM is in the form of a chip and different vendors have developed the RAM of different capacities.

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Mouse - In computing, a mouse (plural mice or mouses) functions as a pointing device by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of a small case, held under one of the user's hands, with one or more buttons.

Every modern computer requires a mouse for faster operations. Generally a mouse has two buttons left and right to perform different functions. One type of the mouse has a round ball under the bottom. Another type of the mouse use optical system to track the movement of the mouse.

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Monitors - The monitor is used to display the information on the screen

All the activities of a computer, functions and tasks are seen on the computer screen and this is called outputting information. Monitors come in many sizes and shapes, monochrome or full colors. Today most computers use LCD screens. It is light weight and consumes less power as compared to the monitors.

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Printers - The printer takes the information from the PC and transfers it to the paper of different sizes, which are placed in the printer device

There are three basic types of a printer such as dot matrix, inkjet and laser.

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Scanners - Scanners allow you to transfer pictures and photographs to your computer

A scanner is used to scan the images and pictures. You can then send the image to someone, modify it or take a print out of it. With optical character recognition software you can convert printed documents into the text that you can use in the word processor. Digital camera- You can take the digital photographs with the digital cameras. The images are stored on the memory chip of the digital cameras and you can transfer them to your computer with the USB drive.

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Case - Case or casing covers the whole computer’s circuitry

There are two types of casings desktop and tower casing. There is room inside the casing to add or remove components. Cases come in many sizes like desktop, mini, midi and tower. There are some additional empty slots inside the cases such as IDE, USB, ASI, PCI and firewire slots.

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Cards - Cards are the hardware components that are added to the computer to increase their functionalities and capabilities

Sound cards produce the sound like music and voice. The older cars were 8, 16 and then 32 bits. Color cards allow computers to produce colors. Initially there were 2, 4 and then 16 bits. The main types of the graphic cards are EGA, VGA and SGA. The 32 cards are the standard to display almost billions of the colors on the monitor.

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