Computer Hardware is the physical part of a computer, as distinguished from the computer software that executes or runs on the hardware. The hardware of a computer is infrequently changed, while software and data are modified frequently. The term soft refers to readily created, modified, or erased. These are unlike the physical components within the computer which are hard.
Motherboard -- The primary circuit board inside your PC is its motherboard. All components, inside and out, connect through the motherboard in some way. The other components listed on this page are removable and, thus, replaceable without replacing the motherboard. Several important components, though, are attached directly to the motherboard. These include the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS), which stores some information, such as the system clock, when the computer is powered down. Motherboards come in different sizes and standards, the most common as of this writing being ATX and MicroATX. From there, motherboards vary by the type of removable components they're designed to handle internally and what ports are available for attaching external devices.

If you're into building PC's from just the basic components, this is the right site for you. Building a computer isn't as hard as it used to be and there are plenty of people jumping in and making them from scratch - whether it's from parts you may already have or all new parts. There are plenty of tutorials and step-by-step videos out there now that make it much easier.

I/O lets the computer talk with the world around it. Sometimes its necessary to add functionality to a computer to keep it up to date, or make it better. The amount of I/O a computer has can be changed, by adding expansion cards that support I/O. A graphics card can be added to a computer to let it talk with a display, or a WiFi card can be added, which will let a computer talk to other computers without a connecting wire. Sometimes functionality can be added through a universal port, a port that supports multiple kinds of I/O. USB, FireWire, and Thunderbolt (Types of I/O) support multiple data types. Your keyboard, mouse, and monitor all connect to a computer's I/O.
The next two items share the same function but are built differently. A Hard Drive uses a disk and magnets to write data on to the disk that will permanently store information, assuming the disk itself does not get damaged for other reasons.  Hard Drives are older compared to Solid State Drives and are significantly cheaper than SSDs. Solid State Drives work off of flash memory, unlike a hard drive they have no moving parts and everything works electronically. Examples of devices that work on flash memory that you are possibly familiar with are your usb storage devices/ “flash drives”, video game memory cards, or an SD card that most cameras use. SSDs read data much faster but due to the technology being newer are more expensive. If you’re building a computer that will not require a lot of storage you it would be prefferable to buy an SSD, however Hard Drives are much less expensive if you plan on storing more than 250Gigabytes of information.

A floppy disk is a type of data storage that is composed of a disk of thin, flexible(“floppy”) magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic shell. Floppy disks are read and written by a floppy disk drive. Floppy disks are a dying and being replaced by the optical and flash drives. Many new computers do not come with floppy drives anymore but there are a lot of older ones with floppy drives lying around. While floppy disks are very cheap the amount of storage on them compared to the amount of storage for the price of flash drives makes floppy disks unreasonable to use.


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For the average computer user, the graphic and video card is not that important, but for the gamer, it's one of the most important features. In fact, it is the component that sets the scene for a gaming experience to be envied by others. Several things to consider when looking for a new graphic card are GPU, memory and clock speed, and programming interfaces. Users should also ensure the card is expandable to meet your future needs.
While many retailers offer computer parts and accessories for sale, the best places to find parts deals are retailers with a specialty in tech, as opposed to stores that sell everything. For example, Target is a place to find full computers and even accessories like keyboards, but for parts, popular electronics stores like Best Buy or Fry's carry a huge selection of computer components like processors and power supplies. Also, these types of stores are very likely to satisfy any budget or need. You can also find vital equipment, such as motherboards, graphics cards or hard drives, at stores like Newegg, Micro Center or B&H Photo and Video. These may not be as well-known as the big-box tech stores, but you can have confidence that they still specialize in computer parts and have selections that ensure you can truly customize your build or repair. No matter where you shop, make sure to keep an eye out for computer parts coupons to save some cash on your purchase.
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Since memory and storage are a large part of the cost within a new computer, building your own PC gives you a chance to save on these components by adding your own. While RAM and SSD costs rise with the amount of GB they offer, they are less expensive than buying pre-installed (and often inadequate) components that you’ll likely need to upgrade quickly.

A computer system consists of two major elements: hardware and software. Computer hardware is the collection of all the parts you can physically touch. Computer software, on the other hand, is not something you can touch. Software is a set of instructions for a computer to perform specific operations. You need both hardware and software for a computer system to work.


Motherboard -- The primary circuit board inside your PC is its motherboard. All components, inside and out, connect through the motherboard in some way. The other components listed on this page are removable and, thus, replaceable without replacing the motherboard. Several important components, though, are attached directly to the motherboard. These include the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS), which stores some information, such as the system clock, when the computer is powered down. Motherboards come in different sizes and standards, the most common as of this writing being ATX and MicroATX. From there, motherboards vary by the type of removable components they're designed to handle internally and what ports are available for attaching external devices.
RAM isn’t easy to compare to a part of your body, but better to explain through example. Whenever you open a new program in your computer and it takes a minute to load the program, the computer is accessing your RAM, temporary memory/information in the computer. When you close your program, that data goes away and stops taking up part of your RAM. This is the reason RAM is necessary for a computer, any temporary data that you access will use your RAM. Most programs such as a web browser or word processor will not use a large amount of RAM, however programs like high end games, photo editors, and video editors can use a large amount of RAM in your computer, especially if you’re running multiple applications at once. RAM will come in the form of sticks that you insert into your motherboard. RAM can be upgraded at any time to a desktop assuming it is compatible with your motherboard, however be careful and check to see if your motherboard requires 1,2, or 3 sticks of RAM to run. Overall RAM will effect how quickly programs will run, how quickly they will boot up, and how many can be running at a time making it extremely important to having a faster and more efficient computer.

Alongside cameras, low cost scanners have also allowed millions of us to easily capture documents and images directly into a computer. In turn, scanners are now converging with printers -- with multi-function devices (MFDs) now commonly including a printer, scanner, photocopier and sometimes fax machine. Used with optical character recognition (OCR) software, scanners also permit the capture not just of images, but of editable text.
The CPU (central processing unit), which performs most of the calculations which enable a computer to function, and is sometimes referred to as the brain of the computer. It is usually cooled by a heatsink and fan, or water-cooling system. Most newer CPUs include an on-die graphics processing unit (GPU). The clock speed of CPUs governs how fast it executes instructions, and is measured in GHz; typical values lie between 1 GHz and 5 GHz. Many modern computers have the option to overclock the CPU which enhances performance at the expense of greater thermal output and thus a need for improved cooling.
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