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TheThreeMainComponentsofa
ComputerSystem
UpdatedonJune6,2017

AlfredAmuno more
Alfredisalongtimeteacherandcomputerenthusiastwhoworkswithandtroubleshootsawiderangeof
computingdevices.
ContactAuthor

Acomputersystemencompassesthreemajorcomponentsnamely,hardware,software,andhumanware.
Typically,acomputersystemismadeupofhardwareandsoftware,simplybecausetheyexistinwhatappearsto
beamorecoexistentecosystem.Thehumancomesintothepictureforthesimpleandfundamentalreasonthat
healonecanbringtheaboveecosystemintofunctionalexistence.

Abasiccomputersystemcomprisinghardware,softwareandhumanware

Eachofthecomponentsaboveheavilydependsontheothertwoinordertoenablemeaningfulproductivity.If
installedseparately,theymaybeusefultoanextent,probably,butredundantinachievingcompletecomputing.

Forexample,computerhardwarecannotoperatewithoutsoftwareandneithercansoftwareoperatewithout
hardware.Thetwocomponentsalsoneedtheinputofalivinghumanbeinginordertomaketotalsense.

Thethreecomponents,thereforeformthebasisuponwhichacomputeractuallyoperates.

Belowareillustrationsoftheaforementionedcomputercomponents:

1:ComputerHardware
Acomputerhardwarecomponentreferstoanycomputerpartthatistangible.Thatis,thecomponentcanbefelt
ortouched.Thisisunlikecomputersoftwarewhichisintangible.Examplesofcomputerhardwareinclude

Displaymonitor
Keyboard
Mouse
Motherboard
Memorymodules
Diskdrive
etc.


Usually,thecomponentslistedabovearehousedwithinthelaptopanddesktopcomputersystemunit,exceptfor
thekeyboardandmousehardwareinthelatter.

Atypicalinstallationofcomputerhardware

Probably,themostimportantpieceofhardwareinthecomputeristhemicroprocessorchipcalledthecentral
processingunit(CPU):NewermobilecomputerscomeembeddedwithaunionofCPUandgraphicsprocessing
chip(GPU)calledAcceleratedProcessingUnit,abbreviatedasAPU.

AsforyouandI,themostimportanthardwarecomponentmayactuallybethestoragedevicewithinthecomputer
wheredataisstored.

TheAMDCPUisanexampleofamicroprocessorandasshownabove,isattachedtoamotherboard

Thispieceofhardwareiscommonlyreferredtoasthebrainofthecomputer.Itsresponsibilityistotranslate
instructionsassignedtoitandwillperformallsortsofdatamanipulation/processing.

Anotherequallyimportanthardwarecomponentinthesystemunitisthediskdrive.Thisiswheredataand
informationarestoredlocallyonthecomputer.Diskdrivesareclassifiedundersecondarystorage.Therearetwo
popluartypesofdiskdrives:

Harddiskdrive(HDD)
Solidstatediskdrive(SDD)

Harddiskdrive:Aharddiskdriveismechanicalbydesignandstoresdataonmagneticmetallicplatterswhichare
readbyread/writeheads.Thismakesthistypeofdiskdriverathererraticandpronetofailureifusedbadly.

Solidstatediskdrive:Thenewersolidstatediskdrive,storesdataonflashmemorychipsandislessproneto
erraticbehaviorthatisapparentwiththeharddiskdrive.AnSSDismuchfasterandreliablecomparedtoHDDs.

Anillustrationofvarioushardwarecomponentsinsidethesystemunit

Whatcomputerplatformdoyoufindeasytouse?

Windowscomputers

Applecomputers

Vote Seeresults

TheFourFunctionsOfComputerSystems
Thefourmainfunctionsofcomputersystemsincludethefourcorereasonswhytheywerebuilt.Theyare
mainlydesignedforinputoutputfunctionswhichincludedataentry,dataprocessingandinformationoutput,
anddatastorage.

Alsoinsidethesystemunitisanotherveryimportanthardwarecomponentcalledmotherboard.

Asthewordsuggests,themotherboardislikethe'mother'withinthecomputer,providingcommunicationand
directconnectivitytoalldevices.

SampleAcermotherboard

Connectivitytocomputermotherboardcanbeinternalorexternal.

Internaldevicesthatconnecttothemotherboardinclude:

Microprocessor(CPU)
Diskdrive
Randomaccessmemory(memorymodules)
Powersupplyunit(PSU)

Externalperipheralsdevicesthatconnecttothemotherboardinclude:

Monitor
Keyboard
Mouse
Printer

AboveisApple'siMaccomputer,anexampleofasingleunitcomputerset:Itcontainsthesystemunitandmonitorbundled
together

TheFourMainCategoriesOfComputerHardwareComponents
Computerhardwarecomponentsaredividedintofourmajorcategoriesandtheyincludeinputdevices,
processingdevices...

Unlikethedesktopandsingleunitcomputerswhichhavethemouseandkeybaordasseparatedevices,thetwoareintegrated
withinthelaptopcomputer

Whichoneofthefollowingisyourpreferredpersonalcomputersetup?

Traditionaldesktopcomputerset

Singleunitdesktopcomputerset

Laptopcomputer

Tabletcomputer

Phablet

Mobilephone

Vote Seeresults


Readthearticlebelowtogetabetterpictureofthedifferentsetsandcategoriesofcomputers.

ClassificationOfComputersAccordingToSize
Thedifferenceincomputersizehasforlonginfluencedtrendsandcapabilitiesincomputing.Forexample,the
giganticsupercomputerwithmanymicroprocessorsisknowntoperformextremelycomplexcalculations,...

2:ComputerSoftware
Computersoftwarereferstotheinstructions,programs,dataandprotocolswhichrunonhardwareparts.

Softwareissubdividedintotwomajorcategories,namelysystemsoftwareandapplicationsoftware.

Computersoftwarecomponentrunninginsidethecomputer

SystemSoftware

Systemsoftware,alsoOperatingSystem(OS)issoftwarethatmanagesothersoftwareanddevicesinsidethe
computerhardware.

Inatypicalcomputersetup,theoperatingsystemislikethemotherofcomputersoftware.Itisthesoftwarethatis
installedfirstinthecomputer,followedbyapplicationandutilitysoftware.Threewellknownoperatingsystem
softwarevariantsfortraditionalcomputersincludeWindows,MacOSXandLinux.

PopularmobileoperatingsystemsoftwaretypesincludeAndroidOS,iPhoneOS,WindowsPhoneOSandFirefox
OS.

ApplicationSoftware

Applicationsoftwareissoftwaredesignedforendusers.Itisatypeofsoftwarewhichismeanttoperforma
specializedassignmentandoutputusefulinformation.

Forexample,awordprocessingapplicationthatoneusestocomposealetterorabrochureinthecomputere.g.
MicrosoftWord,isatypeofprogramorapplicationsoftware.


OtherpopularexamplesofapplicationsoftwareincludeAdobePhotoshop,CorelDrawandAutoCad.

Someapplicationsoftwarecollectionsalsocomeinpackagesthatarecommonlyknownassoftwaresuite.A
softwaresuiteservesmorethanjustoneapplicationneed.

Atypicalsuiteincludessoftwarethatcaterforwordprocessing,presentation,graphicdesignandspreadsheet:It
couldbeless,moreordifferent,butservingdifferentneeds.

ExamplesofsoftwaresuitesincludeMicrosoftOffice,OpenOfficeandiWork.

ComputersoftwareiswrittenincomputerlanguagessuchasVisualBasic,C,Java,etcbysoftwaredesigners.

Formanyyears,computersoftwareusuallywasstoredinopticaldiscsbutthatischangingfastwithmoststoragedoneinthe
cloud

WhatoperatingsystemplatformwouldyouprefertouseMOSTinfuture?

Windows

Mac

Linux

WindowsandMac

All

Vote Seeresults

3:TheHumanwareComponent
Humanwarereferstotheuserofthecomputerhardwareandsoftware.Itisabouttheindividualthatusesthe
computerforproductiveorentertainmentpurposes.


Thedesignofhumanwareoftenbeginswithunderstandingtheneedsandlimitationsoftheenduserandworking
bottomuptodesignaproductthatisultimatelyuseful.

Typically,agreatdealoftestingisdoneonthesoftwarepackagetoensurethatitsproductivityenhancestheend
usersexperience.

Theuserinteractswithhardwaretoproduceneedfuloutput.Itistheusertotypealetter,helprecordmusic,
communicateovertheairwavesandultimatelygivealldirectivestocomputerhardwareandsoftware.

Computeruser,anexampleofthehumanwarecomponent

AnalogyoftheComponentsofaComputerSystem
Inanutshell,aworkingcomputersystemiscomparabletowhathappensinthekitchenwhereyoubasicallyhave:

foodandcookwarehardware
therecipesoftware
chefhumanware

Evenafterpurchasingthefreshestgroceryandevenwithownershipofthefinestpotsandpans,youwillnothave
agoodmealwithoutagoodchef:amanorwomanwhoknowstheinsandoutsofagoodmeal,andhasthe
ultimaterecipetopreparefoodtothefinesttaste.


Bothcomputerhardwareandsoftwarearecomplementedbytheworksofthehumantoproduceafullyfunctional
computersystem.