This chapter will discuss the tangible aspects of computers – known as hardware. Both visible and encased pieces of hardware will be discussed in this overview of modern PCs.

Hardware is the first level of abstraction, an aspect of computers by which the complex processes involved in manipulating electricity are hidden beneath layers of simple interfaces. For example, when typing on a keyboard, users do not worry about representing the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) code for the letter electrically or manually arranging the circuit for it – the keyboard abstracts (hides) that process.

Learning Outcomes

  • Convert between binary and decimal
  • Understand the role of the CPU and video processor
  • Explain the difference between ROM and RAM
  • Identify the shapes and uses of various computer I/O ports
  • Understand the use and components of the system bus