Computer Hardware Components and Their Functions

Computer Hardware Components

Computers are the greatest innovation of the 20th century. It has opened doors to an interconnected web of information and communication. Being at the cutting edge of technology, computers can be complicated.

Don’t worry. We’ve simplified all the techy lingo down for you.

In this article, we discuss eight main hardware components of your computer.


This is the main piece of your computer where everything else connects to. It is what tech people call a “circuit board” that allows other components of the computer to communicate. A computer’s motherboard usually has extra slots for expansions, so you can always upgrade your computer’s specifications if you want to.

Power Supply

As the name suggests, the power supply supplies power to all the other parts of the computer. It is usually placed into the motherboard and takes its power from a battery in the case of a laptop and a power outlet in the case of desktop computers.

Central Processing Unit

A circuit board

The Central Processing Unit functions like the brain of the computer. It performs all the calculations and computations of a computer unit. It is placed in the heart of the motherboard and is usually placed under a fan. This fan is there because a CPU tends to overheat due to the work it is doing.

Random Access Memory

A circuit board

Random Access Memory or RAM is the short term memory of your computer. It allows your computer to continually store and compute information in spans of micro-seconds. The higher the RAM of your computer, the more programs it can run. A RAM of 8 to 12 GB is recommended for medium use computers while 16 GB of RAM is recommended for high-spec workstations.

Hard Disk Drive / Solid State Drive

If a computer has RAM to deal with short-term memory, then it has a hard-disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SDD) to deal with long-term memory. You can store information on HDDs and SDDs as long as those drives last. Traditional drives (HDDs) have disks in them where information is physically transcribed, not unlike vinyl records. However, they are slow and clunky. Newer solid-state drives fix this speed problem by using flash memory, which is the type of memory used in your smartphone.


A computer is meant to interface with a human and communicate the information it computes. It is through the monitor that this is accomplished. The monitor is what you can call an “output device”. The monitor emits light on the screen in a way the visually communicates the information from the CPU to the human user.


Speakers are another output device the computer uses to communicate with its user. Instead of visual communication like the monitor does, the speaker uses auditory communication, projecting sound into the ears of the user.


If a computer must have an output device, then it must also have an input device. Input devices are ways by which we input information into our computer. The keyboard and touchscreen are examples of this.

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