Typical PC hardware
- Motherboard - It is the "body" or mainframe of the computer, through which all other components interface.
- Central processing unit (CPU) - Performs most of the calculations which enable a computer to function, sometimes referred to as the "backbone or brain" of the computer.
- Computer fan - Used to lower the temperature of the computer; a fan is almost always attached to the CPU, and to the back of the case, also known as the 'muffin fan'.
- Firmware is system specific read only memory.
- Internal Buses - Connections to various internal components.
- External Bus Controllers - used to connect to external peripherals, such as printers and input devices. These ports may also be based upon expansion cards, attached to the internal buses.
A case contro, and (usually) a cooling fan, and supplies power to run the rest of the computer, the most common types of power supplies are mechanic shed (old) but the standard for PCs actually are ATX and Micro ATX.
Video display controller
Removable media devices
- CD (compact disc) - the most common type of removable media, inexpensive but has a short life-span.
- DVD (digital versatile disc) - a popular type of removable media that is the same dimensions as a CD but stores up to 6 times as much information. It is the most common way of transferring digital video.
- Blu-ray - a high-density optical disc format for the storage of digital information, including high-definition video.
- HD DVD - a high-density optical disc format and successor to the standard DVD. It was a discontinued competitor to the Blu-ray format.
- Floppy disk - an outdated storage device consisting of a thin disk of a flexible magnetic storage medium. Used today mainly for loading RAID drivers.
- Zip drive - an outdated medium-capacity removable disk storage system, first introduced by Iomega in 1994.
- USB flash drive - a flash memory data storage device integrated with a USB interface, typically small, lightweight, removable, and rewritable.
- Tape drive - a device that reads and writes data on a magnetic tape, used for long term storage.
Hardware that keeps data inside the computer for later use and remains persistent even when the computer has no power.
- Hard disk - for medium-term storage of data.
- Solid-state drive - a device similar to hard disk, but containing no moving parts and stores data in a digital format.
- RAID array controller - a device to manage several hard disks, to achieve performance or reliability improvement in what is called a RAID array.
Enables the computer to output sound to audio devices, as well as accept input from a microphone. Most modern computers have sound cards built-in to the motherboard, though it is common for a user to install a separate sound card as an upgrade. Most sound cards, either built-in or added, have surround sound capabilities.
Connects the computer to the Internet and/or other computers.
- Modem - for dial-up connections or sending digital faxes. (outdated)
- Network card - for DSL/Cable internet, and/or connecting to other computers, using the Ethernet cord.
- Direct Cable Connection - Use of a null modem, connecting two computers together using their serial ports or a Laplink Cable, connecting two computers together with their parallel ports.
In addition, hardware devices can include external components of a computer system. The following are either standard or very common.