Computer hardware

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Computer Hardware Components
– Von Neumann architecture is a design architecture for electronic digital computers.
– It consists of a processing unit with an arithmetic logic unit and processor registers.
– The control unit contains an instruction register and program counter.
– A memory is used to store both data and instructions.
– External mass storage and input/output mechanisms are also included.
– The motherboard is the main component of a computer.
– It connects other parts of the computer, including the CPU, RAM, and disk drives.
– Integrated circuit (IC) chips on the motherboard contain billions of tiny MOSFETs.
– The CPU performs calculations and is referred to as the brain of the computer.
– The chipset mediates communication between the CPU and other components.
– Expansion cards are printed circuit boards that add functionality to a computer system.
– They are inserted into expansion slots on the motherboard or backplane.
– Expansion cards are used to obtain or expand on features not offered by the motherboard.
– They connect to the computer system via the expansion bus.
– Examples of expansion cards include graphics cards, sound cards, and network interface cards.
– Storage devices are used for storing, porting, and extracting data files and objects.
– They can be internal or external to a computer.
– Storage devices can hold and store information temporarily or permanently.
– Examples of storage devices include hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs).
– Dedicated storage devices include RAID systems and tape libraries.
– Input devices allow users to enter information into the system or control its operation.
– Common input devices include keyboards, mice, touchpads, webcams, microphones, joysticks, and image scanners.
– Output devices are designed to be perceived by human senses.
– Examples of output devices include monitors, speakers, printers, and Braille embossers.
– They provide visual, auditory, or tactile feedback to the user.

Computer Case and Power Supply
– The computer case encloses most components of the system.
– It provides mechanical support and protection for internal elements.
– The case controls and directs the flow of cooling air over internal components.
– It also protects internal parts from electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge.
– Different case designs include large tower cases, desktop cases, and all-in-one style designs.
– The power supply unit (PSU) converts AC electric power to low-voltage DC power.
– Laptops can run on built-in rechargeable batteries.
– PSUs typically use switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) with power MOSFETs.
– SMPS converters and regulator circuits use power MOSFETs.
– Power supplies are essential for providing the necessary power to computer components.

Types of Computer Systems
– Personal computers are versatile and relatively affordable.
– Desktop computers consist of a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and computer case.
– Laptops are designed for portability and have integrated keyboards, displays, and processors.
– Tablets are portable computers with touch screens as the primary input device.
– Some laptop models have detachable keyboards, making them tablet-laptop hybrids.

Environmental Impact of Computer Hardware
– Computer hardware contributes to electronic waste, or e-waste.
– E-waste contains hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.
– Improper disposal of computer hardware can lead to soil and water pollution.
– Recycling computer hardware helps reduce the environmental impact.
– The United States generates a significant amount of e-waste annually.

E-Waste Management and Recycling
– The U.S. has implemented various policies to manage e-waste.
– The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the disposal of electronic waste.
– The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines for e-waste recycling.
– Some states have implemented extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs.
– E-waste management policies aim to promote responsible disposal and recycling.
– Many manufacturers offer take-back programs for their products.
– Local recycling centers often accept computer hardware for recycling.
– Some retailers provide drop-off points for e-waste.
– Non-profit organizations may collect and recycle computer hardware.
– Online platforms facilitate the trade-in or donation of used computer hardware.
– Recycling computer hardware conserves natural resources.
– It reduces the need for raw materials in the production of new devices.
– Recycling helps decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
– Proper disposal prevents hazardous materials from entering the environment.
– Recycling computer hardware creates job opportunities in the recycling industry.
– Individuals should be aware of the environmental impact of computer hardware.
– Proper disposal and recycling of e-waste is the responsibility of consumers.
– Donating or selling used computer hardware can extend its lifespan.
– Education and awareness campaigns can promote responsible e-waste management.
– Governments and organizations should collaborate to improve e-waste recycling infrastructure.

Computer hardware (Wikipedia)

Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, such as the case, central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer data storage, graphics card, sound card, speakers and motherboard.

PDP-11 CPU board

By contrast, software is the set of instructions that can be stored and run by hardware. Hardware is so-termed because it is hard or rigid with respect to changes, whereas software is soft because it is easy to change.

Hardware is typically directed by the software to execute any command or instruction. A combination of hardware and software forms a usable computing system, although other systems exist with only hardware.

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