Critical examination of the functions of computer hardware

Essay, 2019

6 Pages, Grade: A


Critically examine the functions of computer hardware


The computer hardware has a lot of significant functions basing on its components which include hard drive, configuration and controllers, ports, internal memory, specialized card, backing storage and peripherals. The internal system unit is made up of many components such as the processor, motherboard, bios, power supply, fan and heat sink, hard drive configuration and controllers for example RAM, ROM, cache and specialized card for example network and graphic cards. These are the computer systems, components and devices these constitute the computer hardware. This paper seeks to examine the functions of computer hardware through its components both internal and external.

Hardware is defined as the physical, tangible parts or components of a computer (Harman, 1990). The processor is also known as processing unit and the heart of the computer system which controls everything. The Central Processing Unit (CPU), the heart of the computer system which controls everything. The CPU is what functions most of your electronic products. What the CPU does is carry out most of the data processing by accepting input data and processing the data and then sending information to the components that needs this information to carry out the action. In other words the CPU is what performs the commands and the CPU manages each command. Separately even through the CPU is capable of processing multi commands in matter of seconds. This will all depend on how powerful your processor is because the more powerful it is, the faster your CPU can process commands (Conn, 2015 ). This is one of the functions of the computer hardware.

The way the processor as part of the hardware works, if you double click on an icon to run a program, the program that is stored inside the hard disk drive will get transferred to the RAM memory using a circuit called memory controller, the CPU loads the program data from the RAM memory. Once the CPU has loaded the program data will then get processed inside of the CPU. What happens next totally depends on what instructions inside the program which tell the CPU to display certain information on the screen such as opening up word processor or a game (Williams,2003). This is how the hardware functions through the CPU.

Motherboard is another major component of a computer hardware. This is the most important component in the system unit and the main function of the motherboard is to act as the main circuit board. The motherboard is what connects and communicates with all the devices and components that are attached to it. The necessary parts of the computer system and all connections between the computer system and the peripheral go through the motherboard. The chipset that is on the motherboard directs the flowing of data between a variety of bases that are connected with each components and the main purpose is to make sure the information reaches where it is supposed to. The motherboard contains the CPU, PCI slots graphics cards, bios, memory , serial and parallel ports and also external connectors such as the key board and the mouse. The CPU which is responsible for taking commands and carrying out the action are not compactible with every motherboard but only certain motherboards. The PCI slot also known as peripheral components to be placed directly onto the motherboard. The graphics card is a device which takes data and then converts it into information that can be read by you such as images so that this can be displayed on the computer monitor ( Harman, 1990).

There are two chips on the motherboard which are known as South Bridge and North Bridge. The South Bridge and North Bridge are what manages what goes on within the computer and also helps the communications between the CPU interface, the memory and many video processed whereas the south bridge communicates with all the remaining devices. The north bridge is directly connected with the CPU, RAM and Graphics controller so it acts as a bridge chip to communicate with these components ( Trimble,2001). All these explain the functions of the computer hardware.

Bios stand for basic input or output system which allows the software and hardware to interact with one another. The Bios is usually found on a ROM chip which comes with the computer and it is called the ROM BIOS. For starters let me explain what the Bios do. The first thing that the Bios do when you start your computer system is that it identifies all the system devices and makes sure that they are all in working order (Williams, 2003). As the Bios are on the ROM it is not affected by power failure and it also makes it possible for the computer to boot itself. So what the Bios actually do is it boots up the PC such as starting up the computer system whenever it is turned on by the user. The BIOS them the actual hardware configuration are checked against the configuration data, it makes sure of the reliability of the computer system and proves to be the most important diagnostic tool available to you. The BIOS also allows the operating system to use particular features of hardware within the configuration by managing the input and output of the computer (Trimble, 2001).

Another component of a hardware is fan and heat sink or cooling. Heat sink is a device that is attached to the processor chip which serves a purpose to draw heat from the processor to make sure that the temperature of the processor is down. The heat sinks are made of an aluminium alloy and have fins to maximize the heat that is sucked in by the heat sink. A cooling fan is a small fan that is fitted on to the heat sink to prevent it from overheating. So in other words most computer systems have a heat sink and a cooling fan together where they both work together to prevent components from overheating. So when the heat sink sucks in the heat, the air flow produced by the fan will lower the temperature of the heat sink in order to prevent it from overheating Conn (2015).

As certain components overheat it is necessary to have a heat sink and fan into to cool down the temperature of the components. It is important to preset components. Overheating due to the fact that it can affect other components round it and that will those components around it will get damaged. Hard drive configuration and controllers for example IDE SATA, Master/slave are parts of the hardware of a computer. These are most commonly used type of hard disk drive controllers. They can be located within the processor box and they are IDE controllers, primary and secondary (Friedman, 2004).

Master drive is what manages all the traffic on the IDE cable. A master drive’s controller saves its own data and passes on data to the slave drive. Slave drive can only see the data that has been passed on to it by the Master Drive. There will be no slave drive if there is only one drive connected to the cable. Internal memory for example RSAM, ROM, Cache. Internal memory serves two main purpose ; one is store programs that are being run and other is to store the data that the program work on. Within the PC there are two types of memory RAM and Rom. RAM also known as the Random Access Memory which is volatile or everything or application that you have opened on your computer are what are stored in the RAM. RAM allows information to be stored and accessed quickly from random location. All the programs and data will be transferred to the RAM from the hard disk drive before it displayed on the seen for to read (Keane, 2010). These are all parts of the hardware of a computer and its functions.


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Critical examination of the functions of computer hardware
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Temba Munsaka (Author), 2019, Critical examination of the functions of computer hardware, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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