Knowledge of computer and networking hardware is crucial, even if you are not planning to be a technician. The specifications of these physical parts of your computing networking system are equally important when you are planning to buy a new system or when you are looking for an upgrade. And since we interact with computers daily, information about the various parts is not optional.
Types of Computer and Networking Hardware
We have many different parts making up a computer and networking system. Some of them are enclosed within the CPU casing and are only visible when the case is opened. Others are attached to the computer externally, while others are used to extend the functionality of a computer and networking system.
Internal computer hardware
These physical parts are usually enclosed within the CPU casing and include the following:
Motherboard – This is the building block of any computer. It is the hub to where all other devices are attached to. It comes with slots and ports where you can connect I/O devices, RAM, monitor, storage device, etc.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) – This is the brain of a computer. It processes all the information as required by the installed programs. Its performance is measured in gigahertz (GHz). The higher the value, the better the PC performance.
RAM – This is a high-speed speed memory unit that is attached to the motherboard. It usually contains data that are frequently used or accessed by the programs. The higher the memory capacity of the RAM, the better the performance of your computer.
Data storage media – Storage devices include hard disk drives, solid-state drives, optical drives, and SD cards, used to store program data and user data.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) – These can be integrated into the CPU or come as standalone devices. Their work is to process graphical data to be displayed on the monitor or any other display unit.
Power Supply Unit (PSU) – As the name suggests, this unit supplies stable power to other components. The electric power from the source is converted to different levels as required by the components on the motherboard.
External computer hardware
Your computer will work with only the internal components connected, provided there is an electric power supply. However, for interactivity and convenience of use, you will need external components. Here are some of the computer parts in this category:
- Display units such as the monitor, projector, etc.
- Keyboard and mouse
- External storage drives
- Sound card
- Network interfacing card, etc.
Computer networking hardware
To further extend the capability of a computing system beyond personal use, networking hardware is required. There is a long list of networking hardware. In this section, we will only list the most common ones.
- Network switch
- Digital Modem
- Print server
- Firewall, etc.
The topic of computer hardware is vast. We cannot mention all these physical components but have only highlighted the most common ones that you will find in almost all computing systems. Other auxiliary hardware such as fan, heatsink, networking cables, power cable, etc., and may or may not be in your computing system.
Depth knowledge of computer hardware is a requirement for technicians and IT professionals. But it is also a good idea to understand what you use almost every day.