Hardware Elements

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The term hardware refers to the physical components of a computer system – the bits you can actually reach out and touch. At one level this means the visible components, such as the system unit or case, the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse.

Nowadays there are many different types of computer available. They all have similar hardware components, although there can be significant variations in size, capacity, performance etc. In this section we will look at a variety of computer types including desktop, laptop, netbook, ultrabook, tablet and other devices, such as smartphones and e-book readers.

Hardware can also be used to refer to the the internal components of a computer, such as the motherboard, power supply, Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, storage devices, such as hard disks, optical drives (CD or DVD) and memory cards, and I/O devices, such as monitors, keyboards and pointing devices. We’ll look at each of these in more detail shortly.

Next: Types of Computer