The major hardware components of a computer are
Input and output devices
A processor, also called a CPU (central processing unit), runs the computer’s programs. The CPU’s main parts include the arithmetic logic unit and control unit. The CPU reads, decodes and executes program instructions and performs operations (by reading/writing data to/from memory). When you turn your computer on, a program called the BIOS (basic input/output system) sets up the computer’s basic hardware. The processor then executes another program called the operating system (OS), which allows users to concurrently run programs that interface with the computers hardware.
The CPU performs the fetch, decode, and execute cycle operations in order to process program information. The CPU’s control unit fetches, from main memory, the next instructions in the sequence of program instructions. The instruction is encoded in the form of a number. The control unit decodes the instruction and generates an electric signal. The signal is routed to the appropriate component of the computer (such as the ALU, a disk drive, or some other device). The signal causes the component to perform an operation.
Main Memory, also called RAM (random-access memory) , contains currently running programs and data used by those programs. RAM is divided into units called bytes (8 bits of 1s and 0s). Each byte in memory is assigned a unique number called an address. RAM is volatile, so if you turn the computer off, its contents are erased. A processor spends much of its time moving data between memory and storage. A common way to make a computer faster is to increase the RAM.
A storage device, also called disk or hard drive, is any computer hardware that is capable of storing data. It is non-volatile, meaning you can store the data for a long time on the device. Common storage devices include a disk drive, solid state drive, USB drive, external drive, or CD/DVD.
Input devices collect data from the outside world. Common input devices include a keyboard, mouse, digital camera, or scanner
Output devices send data to the outside world. Common output devices include printers, monitors. Some devices such as disk drives and touchscreens perform both input and output, and are called I/O devices.
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