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Lesson 3. What are the hardware


components of a computer?
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What is hardware?
Hardware is the physical component of a computer
system. It refers to the electromechanical parts and
devices that make up a computer. Generally,
hardware is categorized according to which of the five
basic computer operation it performs:
Input devices
Processors and memory
Output devices
Secondary storage devices
Communications / networking devices
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What is processing hardware?
The processor and the main memory devices are
the brains of the computer. Housed by the
system unit, the processor also known as the
CPU (central processing unit) interprets and
executes instructions while the main memory
serves as the computer's "work space". The
processing power of a computer largely depends
on the speed of the processor and size of its
main memory. Faster processor results to faster
execution of instructions and bigger memory
would entail bigger "work space".

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What is the processor?
Also called the microprocessor, the
device that interprets and executes
instructions. It is the brain of the
computer. It is also called a chip.
The faster the speed of the processor,
the faster the execution of instructions.

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Some examples of processors
Intel CPU's = Celeron, Pentium III,
Pentium 4; from 500 MHz - 1.5 GHz
Apple/Motorola CPU's = Power PC G3,
G4; from 500 MHz - 700 MHz
AMD CPU's = K6, K7, Duron, Athlon;
500 MHz - 1.5 GHz
Cyrix CPU's = Cyrix MII, VIA Cyrix III;
333MHz - 600 MHz
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What is memory?
The computers workspace where
application instructions and data are held
during operation is called memory also
known as main memory, primary storage or
RAM (Random Access Memory).
The capacity of a memory is important
because this is where data and programs
are stored while they are active, thus bigger
memory means bigger workspace.
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Random Access Memory (RAM)
The amount of memory available
determines the kind of software that can be
run and how much data can be
manipulated. The available RAM at present
32 Mb, 64 Mb, 128 Mb or more.
Whatever data is held in the RAM is erased
when the computer is reset or the power is
turned off.
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Read Only Memory (ROM)
Aside from the RAM, the computer also
has a ROM (Read only memory) which
is used to store the boot program and
other low-level information that enable
the computer to start up and to
recognize its hardware parts.