Computer Hardware and Software

Block diagram

Some Definitions

Hardware: The physical components of a computer system. Hardware is tangible, it can be touched.

Peripherals: Devices that are attached to a computer system. Keyboard, mouse and monitor are common computer peripherals.

Software: The instructions (computer programs) and associated data that are needed for a computer to do useful work.


A computer is just a machine. It may be a very versatile, useful machine, but that's all there is to it. To be precise it is an electronic machine desgned to process large amounts of digital data very quickly and accurately.


Data can be stored on a variety of different media: floppy disks, CD-RW, USB 'flash disks' and the computer's own hard disk are common ways to store data. Each has their own advantages and limitations in terms of reliability, speed, capacity and availability.


Output from a computer is usually seen via a monitor screen or printed hardcopy. Your choice of monitor and printer will also depend on a number of factors including price and resolution needed.


  1. Make a list of different storage media and compare the price you pay for a megabyte of storage on each one. Does anything surprise you?
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