Computer Basics/Hardware/Types of hardware

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Types of hardware

The physical parts that make up a computer are called hardware. A computer enables hardware components to work together to store, retrieve and process data. The computer uses software (programs or sets of instructions) to carry out the storage, retrieval and processing of data.

There are four types of hardware devices:

Types of Hardware Function and examples
Input devices
  • used to insert or supply data to the computer
  • examples include the keyboard, mouse and a memory (USB) stick
Processing and
Internal memory devices
  • used to process data using program instructions
  • examples include the motherboard, CPU (central processing unit) and main memory or RAM (Random Access Memory)
Output devices
  • used to display data and programs from the computer
  • examples include a computer monitor or screen, and a printer
Storage devices
  • used to store programs and data
  • examples include the hard disk drive and optical disk drive

In this image you can see the hardware components of a typical personal computer:

Inside a personal computer

1. Monitor

2. Motherboard

3.CPU (Microprocessor)

4. Main memory (RAM)

5. Expansion cards

6. Power supply unit

7. compact disk drive (CDD)

8. Hard disk drive (HDD)

9. Keyboard

10. Mouse

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Please note: the following tutorials will open in a new window/tab. When you have finished each tutorial, simply close the window/tab and you'll return to this page.

  • Complete this online tutorial on Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer Be sure to watch the short video.

Identify the main parts of the computer you are working on. Identify these parts on other computers you have seen at work, home or at friends.

  • Complete this online tutorial on Inside a Desktop Computer Be sure to watch the short video about what's inside a desktop computer.

Review the function of the inside parts of a desktop computer