Hardware is an umbrella term that describes any component of a PC. It also encompasses the operating system (such as Windows), drivers, security updates, browser plugins, screen savers, languages, and more. The computer hardware installed in a personal computer represents a very large part of the computer system. Many programs use complex instructions to operate on the hardware, making it very critical. Hardware is typically updated when a new version of a driver or security vulnerability is available.
Computer hardware involves the internal components of a computer, including the CPU (including central processing unit), hard drive, memory, video card, hard drive (non-removable or replaceable), optical drive (CD/DVD burner), input devices, output devices, and more. Up until recently, the computer hardware was primarily controlled via software, but improvements in technology have enabled manufacturers to develop and deliver hardware devices that can communicate with their operating system. For example, a USB port has become part of both the input and output devices in modern PCs. Programs that rely on complex instructions to run generally need to rely on their operating system for help.
The computer hardware of today includes a variety of components that are manufactured by many different manufacturers. The most important component is the CPU (which can be either an Intel CPU or an AMD processor). The other important hardware components are usually referred to as peripherals (including scanners, printers, keyboards, mice, USB drives, cameras, televisions, speakers, and monitors). In addition to the CPU and peripheral units, the operating system (such as Windows) also requires additional hardware components such as a kernel (a collection of programs and commands executed on the operating system) and memory for storing the programs and commands that the operating system uses.
The hardware components that make up a personal computer to include several different types of devices. The most important hardware components are the computer’s CPU (or central processing unit), its RAM (main memory for the computer), its video card (also called video memory), its hard drive (also called hard drive memory), and its sound card. Other hardware components include a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, a trackball, a joystick, a game pad, a CD-ROM drive, a magnetic disk, a DVD-ROM drive, a CD burner, an optical drive, a flash drive, a scanner, and a digital camera. Other hardware components may also be required by the operating system, including a modem, a router, a wireless network card, and a modem cable.
To understand how all the various computer hardware pieces fit together, you need to have a good working knowledge of computer hardware. Luckily, because many computer systems are compact, they can all be easily broken down into their basic physical parts. These physical parts, or hardware components, make up the computer hardware. It is these computer hardware components that make up the computer system.
Modern operating systems use virtualization technologies to share the different computer hardware components among multiple computers on a network. Virtualization allows each computer to use only the needed hardware for that specific program. For example, a program designed to play music will not need the sound card to play unless the user decides to include it. The operating systems to share resources among multiple applications and the user has a general idea of what type of hardware is required for his application.