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HARDWARE

August 6, 2009
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Hardware
Hardware is a general term that refers to the physical artifacts of a technology. When it comes to IT side it may also mean the physical components of a computer system, as computer hardware.
Computer Hardware
Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, within which the computer software executes .The hardware of a computer is infrequently changed, in comparison with software and data, which are “soft” in the sense that they are readily created, modified or erased on the computer.
Personal Computer
A personal computer (PC) is a computer whose original sales price, size, and capabilities make it useful for individuals, intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.
A personal computer may be a home computer, or may be found in an office, often connected to a local area network. The distinguishing characteristics are that the computer is used only (or mostly) by one person at a time, in a very interactive fashion.
Today a personal computer may be a desktop computer, a laptop computer, or a tablet computer.
The most common operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS
The most common microprocessors are the x86 and PowerPC CPUs.
Software applications for personal computers include word processing, spreadsheets, games, and a myriad of personal productivity and special-purpose software.
Typical PC hardware
A typical Personal computer consists of a case or chassis in a tower shape (desktop) and the following parts

Internals of typical personal computer

Motherboard

Motherboard is the main printed circuit board in a computer that carries system buses. It is equipped with sockets to which all processors, memory modules, plug-in cards, daughterboard￯﾿ᆵ￯ᄒ﾿￯ᄒᄁ￯﾿ᆵ￯ᄒᄒ￯ᄒタ￯﾿ᆵ￯ᄒᄒ￯ᄒルs, or peripheral devices are connected.

Typical Motherboard found in a computer

Inside a Custom Computer
The motherboard is the “heart” of the computer, through which all other components interface.
Central processing unit (CPU)
A central processing unit (CPU), or sometimes just processor, is a description of a certain class of logic machines that can execute computer programs.
  • Components of CPU
Two typical components of a CPU are
1. The arithmetic logic unit (ALU), which performs arithmetic and logical operations.
2. The control unit (CU), which extracts instructions from memory and decodes and executes them, calling on the ALU when necessary.
3. Computer fan – A computer fan is kept inside a computer case used for cooling purposes by drawing    cooler air into the case from the outside, expelling warm air from inside, and moving air across a heat sink to cool a particular component. The main purpose of attaching a fan to the computer is to lower the temperature of the computer. So in general a computer case will have several fans to maintain a constant airflow. Liquid cooling can also be used to cool a computer, though it focuses more on individual parts rather than the overall temperature inside the chassis.
  • Functions of CPU
It performs most of the calculations which enable a computer to function.
Hence CPU is referred to as the “brain” of the computer.

Auxiliary Storage

BIOS
Basic Input / Output System. The hard-wired instructions that the CPU uses to boot up and control I/O devices.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
It is a type of computer data storage. RAM attaches directly to the motherboard, and is used to store programs that are currently running. Memory in RAM comes under volatile type, where the information is lost when power is switched off. So it is also called as Fast-access memory.
Firmware
Firmware is a special type of software that is rarely, or ever needs to be changed and so is stored on hardware devices such as microcontroller or read-only memory (ROM) where it is not readily changed (and is, therefore, “firm” rather than just “soft”).
Power supply
It is the case that holds a transformer, voltage control, and (usually) a cooling fan, and supplies power to run the rest of the computer.
A computer power supply unit (Computer PSU) is the component that supplies power to a computer. More specifically, a power supply is typically designed to convert 100-120 V (North America and Japan) or 220-240 V (Europe, Asia and Australia) AC power from the mains to usable low-voltage DC power for the internal components of the computer.
The most common computer power supplies are built to conform with the ATX form factor. The most recent specification of the ATX standard is version 2.2, released in 2004. This enables different power supplies to be interchangeable with different components inside the computer. ATX power supplies also are designed to turn on and off using a signal from the motherboard (PS-ON wire), and provide support for modern functions such as the standby mode available in many computers.

ATX Power Supply

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