Computer hardwarerefers to the physical components of a computer system. There are three major
kinds of devices in computer hardware such as input devices, output devices, and processing and control devices. In order to be fully aware of the working parts of a computer system, let us take a look at each type of computer hardware.
Computer Hardware – Input Devices
Input devices are computer hardware used to enter data into a computer and to give commands to manipulate the data. Input devices are physical equipment which is used to read or translate data into electronic impulses. These electronic impulses can be understood by the computer or is converted into binary patterns.
The keyboard is the standard computer hardware input device and it has three partitions including function keys, which is a set of keys that can be reserved by a software program to perform special functions such as saving or retrieving files; alphanumeric keys, which are used to enter alphabetic, numeric, and punctuation characters; and numeric keypad, which lets you quickly enter numbers and numeric symbols, perform mathematical calculations, and move the cursor.
Another bit of computer hardware is the mouse, which is the second most popular input device, which is rolled about on a desktop to direct a pointer on the computer’s display screen. The mouse pointer is the symbol that indicates the position of the mouse on the display screen. The five actions of a mouse include click, double click, drag and drop, right click, and point.
Other input devices used in computer hardware include scanners, magnetic ink character recognition, pen-based systems, bar code readers, electronic cameras, optical mark recognition, optical character recognition, smart card, optical cards, and audio and video input devices.
Computer hardware – output devices
Output devices are the kind of computer hardware that converts the information that comes out of a computer into screen images, print, or other forms.
The monitor is essential computer hardware and the primary output device. Monitors vary in the sharpness and quality of images that they produce. There are five kinds of monitors such as monochrome, flat panel monitors, enhanced graphics adapter, video graphics array, and super video graphics array.
The printer is a computer hardware device that produces information on paper output. There are two kinds of printers: impact and non-impact printers. Impact printers are those that use some sort of physical contact with the paper to produce an image, physically striking paper, ribbon, and print hammer together. Impact printers include dot matrix printers, letter quality, and plotter. Non-impact printers place an image on a page without physically touching the page. Examples are thermal printers, ink jet printers, and laser printers.
Other devices included under computer hardware are processing and control devices.
The microprocessor is typically called the central processing unit or the CPU. It is a computer hardware device that is responsible for controlling data flow and executing program instructions on the data.
Memory is another computer hardware device, which is known as primary storage, main storage, internal storage, and main memory. It stores program instructions and allows very fast access to data.
Buses and boards are electrical pathways through which bits are transmitted within the CPU and between the CPU and other devices in the system unit.
Interfaces are processing and control devices which are circuit-filled computer hardware components that facilitate information transfer between the CPU and its peripherals.