Hardware vs. Software

Can We Help with Your Assignment?

Let us do your homework! Professional writers in all subject areas are available and will meet your assignment deadline. Free proofreading and copy-editing included.

  • Hardware is the physical equipment directly involved in the performance of data-processing or communications functions.
  • Software is the programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation.

Definition of a computer

  • A computer is a programmable machine that stores, retrieves, and processes information
  • A Personal Computer is a general-purpose computer equipped with its own microprocessor, designed to run commercial software

Types of Computers

Super Computer

  • Used primarily by government, industry, and research
  • Possesses huge amounts of computing power and multiple CPU’s (Central Processing Unit)
  • Main Frame
  • Used by large businesses such as banks, airlines, insurance companies to store and manipulate large amounts of information.
  • Capable of multiprocessing
  • Usually networked with minicomputers and/or workstations
  • Personal Computer (PC) a.k.a. the microcomputer, desktop
  • Designed for a single user and consists of its own CPU, input/output units, and power supply


  • Possesses many of the same features as a PC in a portable size
  • Many components in the laptop are designed to be smaller without sacrificing performance
  • Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
  • Used as personal organizers, word processors, email, internet access
  • Embedded computers
  • Used as control components in industrial equipment such as appliances and cars (controlling lights, buttons, and very small graphics screens (odometer))

The silicon chip

  • Every computer contains silicon chips
  • The silicon chip has increased the speed that computers can perform tasks
  • Computers can perform an operation in a trillionth of a second or perform millions of calculations
  • Silicon has also decreased significantly in size and cost over the years.
  • As a result, computers today are much smaller, faster, and cheaper than they were 20 years ago
History of the Computer

The Personal Computer

The tower case

  • The tower case houses the brains of your computer and all the necessary devices to process and store information.
  • It contains (among other things) a case, a motherboard, a CPU, a hard drive, a modem or network card, and sockets for any other devices you wish to connect to your computer system.


  • When purchasing a computer, it is important to know what you are buying.
  • The following is list of important specifications that should be considered when purchasing a computer.
  • Processor speed
  • The speed at which the CPU is able to perform calculations
  • Measured in megahertz (MHz) – 1 million cycles per second
  • or gigahertz (GHz) – 1 billion cycles per second


  • Temporary memory used to store files currently in use
  • Measured in Bytes – (MB, GB)

Hard drive

  • Amount of storage space for data – Measures in Bytes (Mega, Giga, Terra)
  • Cache
  • memory available for short term storage of information during processing.
  • cache allows users to work on larger files without crashing
  • System bus
  • The speed of the connection between components
  • Measured in megahertz (MHz)

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Types of Computers & Parts," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/types-of-computers-parts/.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments