computer Hardware

what you need to know!


The disk drive determines the path by which you send and receive information to the computer. Information stored on a disk is measured in bytes. Think of a byte as a letter of the alphabet.
1,000 bytes=1 kilobyte (K or KB)
1,000 KB=1 megabyte (MB)
1,000 MB=1 gigabyte (GB)
1,000 GB=1 Terabyte (TB)


The monitor is the computer’s screen or display. Monitors come in sizes from 14 inch, 17 inch, to as large as Gateway’s 36 inch monitor.


CPU stands for central processing unit, and is usually used to describe the brain of the computer. Any tasks that you do on the computer has to go through CPU. It processes what you want and then gives you the results.

For example, if you want to type a letter on the screen it will go through CPU, then the letter will appear on the screen.


Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random-access device allows stored data to be accessed in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location, so data can be accessed quickly in any random order. In contrast, other data storage media such as hard disks,CDs ,DVDs and magnetic tape, as well as early primary memory types such as drum memory, read and write data only in a predetermined order, consecutively, because of mechanical design limitations.


Read-only memory (ROM), also known as firmware, is an integrated circuit programmed with specific data when it is manufactured. ROM chips are used not only in computers but in most other electronic items as well. ­


The motherboard is the main circuit board of your computer and is also known as the mainboard or logic board. If you ever open your computer, the biggest piece of silicon you see is the motherboard. Attached to the motherboard, you'll find the CPU, ROM, memory RAM expansion slots, PCI slots, and USB ports. It also includes controllers for devices like the hard drive, DVD drive, keyboard, and mouse. Basically, the motherboard is what makes everything in your computer work together.

Inputs and Outputs

Input is what goes into something and output is what you get out. In terms of computing, data going in is input and data that comes out is output. When you type something on your keyboard, you are sending input to your computer. It responds by displaying what you type on your monitor. That is output. Movements and clicks with your mouse are the same. They are inputs. You see the pointer move on your screen, which is output. When you print something or if you are playing music on your computer, that is output. Installing software can be input, or copying files onto your computer from a disc, a USB key, a digital camera etc. can also be input.

Touch screen

A touch screen means you do not need to use a mouse with a computer. You simply move your finger across the screen and the mouse pointer moves with it. To mouse click, then you tap on the screen instead. You don't even need a keyboard with many systems, as a software keyboard can be displayed on screen when a user needs to type in information. Many touch screens also come with hand writing recognition software so that your on screen writing can be converted to text.