Abbreviated as HW, hardware is best described as any physical component of a computer system that contains a circuit board, ICs, or other electronics. A perfect example of hardware is the screen on which you are viewing this page. Whether it be a computer monitor, tablet or smartphone; it's hardware.
Without any hardware, your computer would not exist, and software could not be used. The picture is a Logitech webcam, an example of an external hardware peripheral. This hardware device allows users to take videos or pictures and transmit them over the Internet.
External hardware examples
Below is a list of external hardware or hardware that is found outside of your computer that may be found with a computer.
- Flat-panel, monitor, and LCD
- USB thumb drive
Internal hardware examples
Below is a list of internal hardware or hardware that is found inside your computer and may be found in a computer.
- CPU (central processing unit).
- Drive (e.g., Blu-ray, CD-ROM, DVD, floppy drive, hard drive, and SSD).
- Fan (heat sink)
- Network card
- Power supply
- Sound card
- Video card
What is the most common hardware included with a computer?
- Processor (CPU)
- One or more fans and heat sink
- Motherboard that most likely has an integrated video card, sound card, and network card.
- For most desktop computers (especially gaming computers), a separate video card is used.
- Hard drive
- Power supply
- Cables that connect internal components and external peripherals.
- Mouse or touchpad with a laptop.
- Flat-panel, monitor, or TV for desktop computers and LCD as part of a laptop.
What are hardware upgrades?
A hardware upgrade is any new hardware better than that which it replaced or additional hardware that improves performance. A good example of a common hardware upgrade is a RAM upgrade, where the user increases the computer's total memory. Another good example is a video card upgrade, which is the act of removing an old video card and replacing it with a newer, more powerful model.
- How to install and add hardware to the computer.
- After adding new hardware, the computer does not work.
- How do I remove hardware from the computer?
- How to dispose of computer hardware.
Where can I buy computer hardware?
There many locations to buy computer hardware today. Many local computer retail store and repair shops have hardware available in stock that can be purchased immediately. However, for more options and typically lower prices, it is generally better to buy hardware online.
- Full list of places to buy computers and computer hardware.
- Computer and computer hardware buying tips.