Computers have turned into ever-present aspects of our life. Almost in all parts of our society, we make the best possible use of computer systems in various ways. The PC, which makes computation, operation and data memory easy, uses hardware elements which need to be properly designed in order to operate the system effectively.
It is the job of computer hardware engineer to ensure that all parts of a PC perform effectively. The primary objective of these experts is to analyse, design, develop, configure and test different PC elements.
Computers are made up of different pieces, of which every component has its own unique function. The working days in the job of a hardware engineer include examining different prototypes on the base of theoretical models. If you are planning to build your own computer, there are a few things you should know about computer hardware.
Due to the fact that an increasing number of websites and servers are making use of high performance computer systems, there is also a need of upgrading and servicing the hardware. As a result, this area is likely to flourish in size along with the development of PCs and different related fields.
What does Computer Hardware Mean?
Computer hardware is a main core that is relevant to its systems, and it is found under physical form. Keyboard, computer mouse and monitors are parts that can be touched by the user. In comparison, software such as Windows’ operating systems, is not hardware since it does not possess physical actual form.
These components are not only used for PCs, but the term might be used for any physical item that is part of a larger computer or network. However, components seen in modern PCs include monitors, motherboards, CPU, RAM memory, storage cards, power sources, optical disk devices, hard disks, and mouse for computers.
So, if a person has bought an performing disk to install their preferred program on a laptop or PC, then it can be said that the disk is a category of hardware because it is under a physical form. In comparison, applications installed on that disk (e.g. games or operating systems), are not hardware due to the fact that it only exists in mega or giga-bytes of data.
Similarly, detachable media parts such as CD-ROM drives or CD-W are typical examples of components that are used to gather information and bigger files. Today, USB drives are turning into the main solution for users and are quickly replacing the CD-ROM as better hardware to keep short-term data. In our near future, the other PC components known as solid state drives will replace the hard drives because they do not contain moving parts and take a lot less space. So, USB flash drives, hard drives and solid state drives are just a few examples of common modern hardware.
How do we use the term: Computer Hardware?
Hardware is a word used for physical items of technology such as laptop or computer, but terms like computer hardware and hardware are associated too. Therefore, it is accepted to use terms such as hardware and PC components in an interchangeable way.
For example, the CPU can be known as hardware or computer hardware. Typically, anything physical regarding the computers is known as PC hardware. On the other hand, things such as keys, door handles, locks, electric cables, tools, utensils, machines and most things metallic are generally called hardware, and found in the specialized stores.
There is another way to determine these elements:
Hardware gadgets are the executors of the instructions provided by programs. For example, let us observe what happens when we click the printing button of the online surfing programs: the software provides control over the processor, which is the main part of all hardware elements. The processor in turn assesses a connected printing device. If the printing machine is ready, the program will get a positive reaction from the processor. Then the application gives instructions to the printing device through the processor to create a copy of the web page. In this regard, the hardware elements are the foot soldiers and the programs are the leaders in the digital functioning that occurs within a PC.
Computer Hardware Components
The main element of computer hardware is certainly the microprocessor. It is the center of the system of hardware gadgets. It is the top component with all the other elements working around it. This is a chip processor on which a number of operations are integrated. Two requirements determine its performance.
One is the processing speed that is calculated in GHz, while the other is the bit rate. Typically, available processors are the 32-bit and 64-bit. Their bit rate represents a measure of the performance of these processors to carry out several functions at the same time.
A specialist cannot determine hardware elements without referring to the two categories of memory utilized in computers. The first one is permanent storage. It represents the magnetic storage capacity of the hard drive and it is calculated in GB. The second one is RAM, an acronym for random access memory. This storage is able to store information only when the PC is turned on. This type of storage will lose all its data when a computer is switched off.
Other important products that should be discussed when one describes hardware parts is the motherboard. It is an electronic and electric circuit board where all the other parts are placed. There are some other kinds of items, such as sound cards, video cards, network cards and devices that complete this hardware elements variety.
In this segment, we will be listing the most common hardware regardless of their form dimension (physical dimension or the PC casing). Essential laptop or desktop hardware is comprised of:
- Main board
- Hard Disc Drive
- Power Source/Casing
- Graphic Card
- DVD Writer
- Keyboard / Mouse
1. Main Board (Motherboard)
It is the greatest piece of hardware in the computer. This is where some other key elements are linked, such as RAM, CPU, hard disk etc. Any modern mid-range main board usually has add-on elements such LAN slot, sound cards and video cards.
As other elements are joint with the main board, it is essential to ensure that the board bought is of great quality and has at least the add-on part as mentioned in the passage above.
2. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
It is one of the PC hardware elements that decide the speed rate of the whole computer. The other identifying elements are its RAM or hard disk drive. The single core CPUs are outdated today and are much slower in comparison to the Dual core / Quad core alternatives.
Usually, a certain number is mentioned and that its clock frequency, generally known as the speed rate of the CPU. The higher its regularity, the quicker your information can be operated.
Also called Random Access Memory, they are memory chips with data stored temporarily on them. By saving the information on RAMs, the CPU is capable to process it in a shorter time which brings quicker performance of the instructions and operations allocated to the PC.
Here too, a figure (in GB) is provided and this is the physical capacity which the RAM can store onto it.
4. Hard Disk Drive
The HDD (hard disk drive) is a computer hardware that stores all information completely – compared to the RAM which will remove data if the PC is shut down. It has a dimension of 2.5 inches (for laptops) and 3.5 inches (for desktops).
Usually, a number printed (in GB) is mentioned and comes in several capacities. A short computation tells us that if a 4 minute long song is saved in mp3 files and takes up to 4 Mb worth of storage on a hard drive, on 160 GB, we will be able to have approximately 40,000 songs per drive.
5. Graphic Cards
As mentioned, these cards are originally accountable for showing images on the computer’s display. However, due to high resolution games that are created these days, players will demand their video cards to perform better than the CPU.
That is due to the fact that a video cards will manage all challenging game playing frames that the CPU was incapable to process properly. To meet these the requirements, even graphic cards become dual core for increased efficiency. Graphic card specs are also referred to as GPU.
Related article: Graphics Card Benchmarks
6. Power Supply Unit (PSU)
The computer power supply unit literally gives life to a computer system. This type of computer hardware delivers energy to various parts, such as its main board, hard drives, etc.
These are often the most neglected elements and are frequently affected due to financial restrictions. However, by reducing the budget for a modern PSU, threats like electric shocks or under-current increase, and that could immediately damage the main board or other hardware by supplying the wrong electricity and voltage.
7. Computer Chassis/Covering
The computer case (covering or chassis) is a resilient armour designed to secure fragile PC parts. Casing is essential as it can ventilate and control air circulation to prevent heating up the interior of essential hardware. In recent times, the design of computer chassis has evolved in some sort of geeky fashion, where computer users come up with the funkiest designs. Here are a few examples:
8. Optical Drive
Commonly called CD-ROM/DVD-ROM and DVD Writers, they allow reading the CDs and DVDs. The ROM hardware is only capable to read data from CD or DVD, while a DVD writer allows writing (copying information) to the disks.
The most advanced technological innovation for Optical Drives is currently the Blu-Ray ROM that allows reading the Blu-ray disks. Due to a high price, it is not commonly integrated in systems.
They are screens that present images created by the graphic card. CRT screens that are offered today are using outdated technology that takes in more energy.
Popular monitors created nowadays are mostly LCDs, due to their lightweight and less expensive manufacturing price. LCD monitors come in various shapes and sizes, which range from at least 15″ to more than 70″.
10. Keyboards and Mouse
This is the hardware responsible for data input and instructions to the PC. The mouse is used to move the computer’s cursor around the screen and it is invaluable for navigation (laptops are usually equipped with touch-pads), and keyboards are essential for the input of characters and commands.
We hope that the presented hardware guide will help you in creating a further comprehension of computer parts.
How to Choose the Best Hardware Components?
The business of hardware elements is becoming very profitable today due to the fact that many people buy computer parts for one task or the other. Purchasing hardware might not always be an easy thing regardless of whether you are getting it on the Internet or in the traditional stores.
You should consider some things before you buy any component. Your chances of purchasing performing components rely on the level of research you conduct for them. If you can do your preparation in detail, you will absolutely get the best hardware elements, even on a tight budget. On the other hand, if you buy a part without verifying it first, then surely you will not get a great deal.
For your PC to perform efficiently, you need to go to the best computer sellers available on the market. Regardless of how performing the system you own is, if you do not have elements with high quality components, it will not perform at its best. To be able to do this, it is necessary to have sufficient information about the various elements of a PC. For example, many users do not know that a main board is the most important part of a computer, which quickly performs both logical and mathematical functions in your system.
Many people do not have the information regarding which hardware is correct and which is not or what component works well with another. The good news is that this can be investigated quickly. The best advice for you, if you are not PC savvy, is to ask for help and guidance – lots of online resources provide free guidance so why not contact them, they can help you figure out if your present computer can be upgraded or help you with a new product.
Having the appropriate hardware is very important: without the fitted components or certain quantities of RAM you could run into further issues when trying to run an application. Software will not function without the correct hardware, and this is why a physical component can cost more than software.
Say some program needs 512mb ram to function and you have 512mb ram in the system, that means it will operate the application but with little efficiency only, and if you try to start anything else with that program still functioning, you will see your PC decreasing in terms of performance. When purchasing hardware it is essential to create a list with what you will be utilizing the computer for and this will help figure out how much processing capacity you need, among other things.
These days you can buy top hardware for an excellent price. For example processor chips used to just work on one core, but the newest processors are operating on two cores and even four cores, this is at least twice the performance and efficiency of previous devices, these multiple core gadgets being by far way better in processes and speed for their price.
For the money you pay for the dual core device, you may as well pay a few extra dollars to get a top one, because it will offer you an advantage in the long run because you will not need to update or buy a new PC for a lengthy period based of time. If you multi-task frequently then you should certainly get a dual core processor (or above).
Choose Computer Hardware Based on your Needs
Another thing that must be considered when you want to acquire hardware elements is this: what are you going to use the PC for? This will enable you to decide on the quality and product you need. For example, if you have to use the computer system for commercial reasons and for a very long period of time, you will have to invest in a top quality PC. You cannot bargain the performance in such cases. You must consider the product and the model of your device before you purchase any hardware components.
If you select just about anything available on the market, you might end up not having the best offer and eventually having to look for something else, a useless effort that will charge you more money. The main point here, when it comes to PC parts, is to look around and research each company to ensure you buy the best hardware for your computer.
If you are into gaming, then the computer will have to be a top system with a variety of specifications. You will need a dual primary processor for sure and plenty of RAM, probably a large hard drive and decent periferics. You will certainly need an excellent video card. You can buy the newest graphic cards for the best costs as they will work with the most advanced games at maximum efficiency. The general rule here would be that the more you pay for a video card, the better it will be.
A lot of individuals do not observe this, but when you buy a computer, you have to take into consideration the RAM that its operating system will run on, and any essential application such as malware or anti-virus products, since these also use vital resources. Customers sometimes have enough ram to operate their main application and anticipate it to run quickly, but they do not take into consideration the quantity of ram the operating system uses, and this is very important. Make sure to buy enough RAM for all major programs.
When purchasing RAM, it is generally best to buy twice what you need to ensure that you cover what you need and any other software that you start, so they would still function without cutting down your PC performance.
Why do Computer Hardware Specialists Matter?
When it comes to computer hardware, no matter how much you think you know about it, you will probably encounter several problems that you cannot answer. This is where computer hardware specialists step in. Technicians are needed to perform in labs, offices, commercial units, etc. There are some other hardware specialists who work on the website creation and maintenance departments, being involved in all on-site issues.
These hardware technicians, who provide services to the online audience, also have a certification to attest their qualifications. The Internet world is evolving, and therefore, to endure and grow in this domain, it is important for all hardware engineers to keep themselves in touch with the latest technological innovation.
Although PC manufacturing has declined in the last years, the need for professionals able of maintaining or repairing components is still quite high. Experience in hardware field and techniques, if accompanied by information of program servicing, can help a specialist build a great career.
Advanced knowledge about this subject is maybe enough to offer you a job, but the diplomas in electronics, telecommunications or information technology increases the chances of getting excellent jobs in the computer components and networking field.
Hardware industry is dealing with the repairing, addition and servicing of physical PC parts, while the networking field is its version that includes the connections between computers that allows them to spread data and other functionalities. Smooth networks are very important to keep inner communications between different divisions of an organization.
Interested in a Computer Hardware Technician Career?
It is difficult to discover a single company or firm where computer systems are not operated. Therefore, there is a popular demand of hardware engineers over different areas. Production companies, research labs and commercial centers are some of the domains where such technicians are employed. When these specialists are not creating any new models, they do servicing and quality research on current configurations.
Some technicians decide to be private hardware engineers for major companies. They can also have agreements with two or more organizations for the servicing of computer systems at their offices. Consultancy is another industry where components technicians can discover a profitable and fulfilling career. Educating students at technological institutions is the other field where hardware engineers are needed. It is a great remunerative domain and you can gain benefits and rewards along with your wage program.
A networking expert manages a variety of tasks: personalized installation of various application and components devices, utilizing LAN to link different PCs and regular problem solving. These processes involve setting the users’ accounts and their passwords, providing protection at a level of internal systems and Internet, coaching users on the new installed hardware and making sure that the systems run efficiently.
If they have the right expertise and information, they will make a good living as LAN manager and Network Administrator. This is essential for every huge and medium company that depends on their computers to hire a specialist to ensure the smooth operation of these systems. If PCs do not work properly, the working hours of a huge number of persons whose tasks can be done only their computers are lost. The organization cannot waste such valuable efforts and it is the job of the hardware engineer to reduce the risks of such a problem for all involved.
Hardware or networking are areas that will not be affected strongly even by problems in the nations or global economies, because organizations will always look for people to maintain their computers in working condition. There are many positions available for those who have invested enough time in improving these abilities. Also, if they are excellent employees at their work, they can use the same abilities and experience to earn freelance jobs for a huge variety of organizations and get a lot of money for that.
Today, all IT industries have evolved into a massive market. Every organization now looks in advance to build up originally a powerful IT support as a powerful base and then advance to set up various divisions. This area of technology is a wide domain demanding expert abilities and great knowledge.
There is a variation of tasks provided by this market. It has created a huge foundation for itself these days and is still growing even bigger. Some of the divisions of the hardware industry are:
- Hardware Engineer– This division needs a person to have professional information for creating and developing complete hardware configurations. The primary abilities needed are excellent background in systems and electronic devices. Understanding of developing and firmware is also an advantage. The hardware professionals need to obtain a hardware engineering and technological degree.
- Networking- In this industry, it is needed the keeping and creating various type of networks. The abilities required are to understand the important conditions of the programs and keeping the actual framework and following the advanced methods. A networking technician needs to have various certifications like CCNA or MCSE in order to get a job there.
- Client Service- The primary obligations contains managing customer concerns about the organization and services provided by the specialists. The traits needed are excellent interaction abilities along with great knowledge of the organization.
- Application Engineer- The requirements needed for this area are highly trained programming skills. A software program professional is a diploma owner and has various relevant accreditations. It needs very high performances, as it is not simple to get a position due to the competitors in this area, so it is always recommended to increase the expertise set.
- Sales – Several various companies have obtained success in this area by offering consultancy about programs and hardware. It requires extensive knowledge about the items to give the client exactly what he is looking for.
- Quality Servicing and Testing- A specialist is accountable for examining the components and their development. He has to test all their features and to guarantee that they are functioning properly and must deal with any of the hardware’s problems. One has to be acquainted with software and hardware diagnostic of a PC.
- Security Experts- Protection professionals take care of the barriers in the process of networking. Main obligations include creating protected programs by using tools made for this purpose. The specialists must have solid information about software and hardware of a complex system.
- Technological Writing- These experts need to have proper knowledge of PC market. They must be experienced authors who can teach about this domain. This job mainly contains composing technical documents and guides along with modifying them.
These positions are just a few of the divisions in this industry. There is much more being added consistently and growing at a very fast speed.