Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What is computer hardware?

Author's Note

I've been fascinated with computers since I was a kid, but it wasn't until I was a teenager that I really knew how each component contributed to my computer booting up and playing games. I just liked playing games and messing with Windows! And even when I first started poking around inside them, I found computers intimidating. There are lots of pieces to plug in, and lots of cables to connect, and exposed circuitry looks mighty fragile. But in the 2000s, computer parts manufacturers have done an amazing job making cases far more user-friendly and instructions and pieces easy to follow and put together. With a little research on the parts you need, just about anyone can build a computer these days!

Related Articles


  • "Intel Education: The Journey Inside: Microprocessors." (Aug. 13, 2012)
  • Newegg. "" (Aug. 12, 2012)
  • Peckham, Matt. "The Collapse of Moore's Law: Physicist Says It's Already Happening." May 1, 2012. (Aug. 12, 2012)
  • "Invention of the Microprocessor." (Aug. 13, 2012)
  • Walton, Jarred. "Mobile Ivy Bridge HD 4000 Investigation: Real-Time iGPU Clocks on ULV vs. Quad-Core." June 1, 2012. (Aug. 13, 2012)