The group of physical elements that combine to form a computer system is called computer hardware. It consists of components like monitor, mouse, keyboard, hard drive disk, printers, computer data storage, CPU (Central Processing Unit) etc. CPU itself is a collection of many parts such as motherboard, graphics card, sound card, memory and chips with different function. In one word we can describe computer hardware as the parts which we can touch unlike software. There is some basic computer hardware which is compulsory to run the system. Other than that many parts can be added to boost the computing system and make it more efficient.
The basic components of computer consist of input and output devices, removable data storage, data ports and the computer case.
Input devices are peripherals used to control signals and provide data to the system which processes information. This includes devices like keyboard, mouse, microphone, webcam, image scanner etc.
Output devices are computer hardware elements which are used to communicate with the data processed by the system which processes information. The information which is electronically generated is converted to forms which are readable by humans. This includes devices like monitor, plotter, speaker, printer etc.
Removable Data Storage:
The removable data storage devices are transportable elements or components that are used to store data or information. This includes devices like USB flash drive, Optical disk drive, memory card, floppy disk, disk pack etc. The portability of data through these devices makes these a very useful part of the computer system.
Data ports are interfaces between computers and other peripheral devices. It is an outlet where a cable or a plug connects. This includes components like Universal serial Bus (USB), Serial port, FireWire (IEEE 1394), Ethernet, Parallel port etc.
Computer case or cabinet is the box in which all the components of CPU exists. It acts as a protective environment for the hardware. It keeps away dust and protects the highly sensitive and expensive chips. Other than protection, it helps in proper arrangement of the hardware components and as a result makes it user friendly.
A computer system generally runs low voltage DC power. Hence a Power Supply Unit (PSU) is used to convert high voltage AC power to low voltage DC. SMPS or Switch Mode Power Supply is the most used Power Supply Unit for the computer. Regulated DC power is provided by the SMPS at several voltages as per requirement of the various hardware components of the computer system. It is generally present inside the computer case.
The most important component present inside the computer box is the Motherboard. The rectangular board consists of integrated circuits which serve as an interface for connection of various components including CPU, disk drives, RAM, ROM, peripherals via ports, expansion slots etc.
These entire components act together to run the highly complex computer system. To run these hardware components software is needed. The hardware and software combine together and makes the computing system usable.