Computer hardware is a collective term used to describe any of the physical components of an analog or digital computer. The term hardware distinguishes the tangible aspects of a computing device from software, which consists of written instructions that tell physical components what to do.
Computer hardware can be categorized as having either internal or external components. Internal components include items such as the motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), hard drive, optical drive, heat sink, power supply, transistors, chips, graphics processing unit (GPU), and network interface card (NIC).
External components, also called peripheral components, are those items that are often connected to the computer in order to control either its input or output. Common input components include a mouse, keyboard, microphone, camera,
Internal hardware components
This computer hardware chart illustrates what typical internal computer hardware components look like.
Click the image to enlarge.
External hardware components
External hardware components are called peripherals. Peripherals include input devices, such as a mouse or keyboard, output devices such as a monitor or printer and external storage devices, such as a hard drive or USB flash drive.
Other common external hardware components include microphones, monitors, speakers, headphones, digital cameras, touch pads, stylus pens, joysticks, scanners
Hardware virtualization is the abstraction of physical computing resources from the software that uses the resources. This is made possible by a virtual machine manager (VM) called a hypervisor. Essentially, the hypervisor creates virtual versions of internal hardware so that resources can be shared and used more efficiently. In cloud computing, hardware virtualization is often associated with infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a delivery model for providing hardware resources over the internet. In the IaaS model, a cloud provider hosts hardware components that are traditionally present in an on-premises data center, including servers, storage
Hardware as a Service (
While it's common for individuals or businesses to purchase computer hardware and then periodically replace or upgrade it, there's also the possibility to lease physical and virtual hardware from a service provider. The provider then becomes responsible for keeping hardware up-to-date, both in terms of its various components and the software running on it.
In the hardware-as-a-service model, physical components that