Computer hardware devices are tangible elements that make up a computer, in contrast with software – written instructions which tell its physical components what actions should take place.
Keyboard and mouse input devices enable you to enter information into a computer while monitor and speaker output devices display or broadcast that information as visuals or sound.
Input devices, or gadgets that allow us to enter data or commands into a computer system, include everything from keyboards that allow for entering text or numbers directly onto screens to mice or light pens that point at particular screens and microphones that convert soundwaves into digital information.
The evolution of gadgets has made them more user-friendly; for instance, external web cameras that were once only found at bargain bins now come standard on new laptops. Furthermore, USB standards have allowed many peripherals to become integrated directly into primary devices.
These devices connect directly or wirelessly with computers, working in tandem with hardware like scanners or modems to transfer or receive data. Manual data input can be time consuming and prone to mistakes; input devices provide alternative methods that speed up data entry and increase efficiency.
Output devices take processed data and transform it into audio, video or physical reproductions – often audiovisual presentations – typically using monitors, printers, speakers, headphones earphones and projectors as output devices.
These hardware devices work in concert with our computers to display results more easily for us to comprehend. A monitor displays text and images while printers print hard copies.
Some output devices enable you to print in various forms, including Braille embossers and 3D printers which use digital models as sources to produce tangible objects. They’re often used in art installations to project images onto unconventional surfaces. Another popular output device is a headset for listening to music or participating in VoIP and video conferencing conversations; speakers are another type of output device associated with computers but they can also be attached to smartphones and tablets for output purposes.
A motherboard serves as the focal point for all of a computer’s functional components, connecting its central processing unit (CPU) with other hardware such as memory, storage drives and expansion cards. Furthermore, it contains an on-board chip which facilitates communication among these devices.
Motherboards come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and forms; from as large as a book to consisting of layers of fiberglass with copper connecting traces, ports and slots; there may also be sockets to install CPUs into, expansion slots for video and sound cards and power supply connections – and some even house a chip that supports Power-On Self-Test (POST) tests and basic functions such as POST testing.
Motherboards can also be found in other electronics such as laser printers, televisions and washing machines as a control board for these devices. Sometimes referred to as mainboards or system boards.
Device drivers are software programs that act as intermediaries between hardware and a computer operating system. Each driver is specifically tailored for one piece of hardware to enable its specialized commands to be understood by the OS without needing to know every single detail about all its devices – similar to an army general who directs his troops without getting into specifics about how each task will be accomplished.
Device drivers play an essential role in modern computing by not only translating instructions but also optimizing and configuring hardware components’ performance – they help ensure compatibility between older operating systems and devices and newer ones.
While most drivers are kernel-mode and installed as part of an operating system, some (usually user mode drivers) may also work together in a “stack”, communicating directly with devices directly. Other drivers may help facilitate plug-and-play functionality by working in the background.