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Hardware Components

Let's start with the computer case. This is the metal enclosure
that contains many of the other hardware components. It comes
in various shapes ands sizes, but a typical tower model is
between 15-25 inches high. Want to know what's inside? Okay,
go get a screwdriver and let's open it up. Seriously, if you are
really into computers, the best way to learn is to actually get
hands-on. To save us some time, however, have a look at this
desktop computer case. A computer enthusiast replaced the
metal side panel with a transparent one, so we can have a look
Although that photo looks pretty cool, it is a bit hard to recognize the individual components,
especially with all the connecting wires running through it. This figure shows a more schematic
version of a desktop computer, which makes it easier to point out the essential hardware
The computer case contains a power supply unit (#6) to convert general-purpose electricity to direct
current for the other components. The most critical component is the motherboard (#2), a plastic
board on which several essential components are mounted. This includes the central processing
unit, or CPU, (#3), the main memory (#4), and expansions slots (#5) for other hardware components.
The internal hard disk drive (#8) serves as the mass storage device for data files and software
applications. An optical disk drive (#7) makes it possible to read from and write to CDs and DVDs.
Other hardware components typically found inside the computer case (but not shown in the figure)
are a sound card, a video card, and a cool
Computer software, or simply software, is that part of a computer system that consists of encoded
information or computer instructions, in contrast to the physical hardware from which the system is
The term "software" was first proposed by Alan Turing and used in this sense by John W. Tukey in

In computer

science and software

engineering, computer

software is

all information processed by computer systems, programs and data.

Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such
as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and
neither can be realistically used on its own.
At the lowest level, executable code consists of machine language instructions specific to an
individual processortypically a central processing unit (CPU). A machine language consists of
groups of binary values signifying processor instructions that change the state of the computer from

its preceding state. For example, an instruction may change the value stored in a particular storage
location in the computeran effect that is not directly observable to the user. An instruction may also
(indirectly) cause something to appear on a display of the computer systema state change which
should be visible to the user. The processor carries out the instructions in the order they are
provided, unless it is instructed to "jump" to a different instruction, or interrupted