Computer Hardware

From USB connectors to motherboards, the HowStuffWorks Computer Hardware Channel will help you find explanations, reviews, videos and prices for the parts you need.

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What's the Difference Between Restarting and Shutting Down My Computer?

Both shutdown and restart cause your computer screen to go black, but what happens after that? And which one should you use?

How to Fix the Black Screen of Death

You're typing along on your laptop when, all of a sudden, your computer fades to black. What's causing your black screen and how do you fix it?

New Quantum Computing Research Plots Safe Journey Through the Past

Researchers have some new ideas on how quantum computers can benefit from time-traveling particles without breaking causality.

White House Aims for Supercomputer Capable of Achieving Exascale

That's one that can perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 floating-point operations per second. Just in case you were wondering.

Is your computer built to break?

The old saying goes something like this: That shiny new computer you just bought is obsolete the second you take it out of the box. Well, there might be some truth to it. Our modern electronics might actually be built to break.

Are tablets changing the way we shop?

The cultural impact of tablet computers can be seen all around us -- we're a mobile society with constant Web access. But how have tablets impacted our consumer behaviors specifically?

Are tablets changing the way computers work?

Tablets have fundamentally changed the way people interact with technology. But how deep does that influence go, and how does it impact other technology?

How the Kindle Paperwhite Works

Amazon has released several Kindle models, but the Paperwhite is designed to completely change the e-reader experience. How well does it succeed, and are any challengers stepping up to the plate?

How the iPad Mini Works

Apple's late 2012 addition to the tablet market didn't surprise many people -- details about the iPad Mini had leaked long before its official announcement. Does the iPad's baby brother live up to the pre-release hype?

Touch Screens

Touch-screen interfaces are everywhere -- most smartphones and tablets use them today. See interesting facts and graphics on how touch screens work.

How can hot water cool a supercomputer?

In July 2012, engineers at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre debuted their new SuperMUC supercomputer, which uses a unique cooling system. How does hot water cooling work, and how is it green?

How Maylong Tablets Work

Perhaps you've heard of the Maylong M-150. After all, it had the unique distinction of being a tablet sold at Walgreens -- a U.S. drugstore known more for picking up nail polish and prescriptions than personal technology. What else is there to know?

What is the world’s fastest supercomputer used for?

Supercomputers are capable of some serious computing, so it's not surprising that they're used for serious purposes. In 2012, a new champion claimed the top spot of fastest computer. What was it?

Is Moore's Law outdated?

As manufacturers struggle to find new ways to cram transistors on computer chips, it would seem that Gordon Moore's famous prediction will one day fizzle out. Should we retire Moore's Law?

Should I move my hard disk to the cloud?

Cloud computing is no longer the wave of the future -- it's the wave of now! So is it time to go ahead and move the contents of your computer's hard drive online, or are some things better off staying home?

How do I update the drivers on my computer?

People aren't always familiar with the role drivers play in their computing experiences because this software is often updated automatically. But if you do need to update them yourself, we've got some tips for you.

Does powering down your computer wear it down?

Most myths have a bit of truth in them – which may be why most people believe that powering down and restarting a computer leads to wear and tear. So, what's the truth behind the myth?

5 Everyday Things You Can Do to Keep Your Computer Healthy

There's no worse feeling than lost data as a deadline approaches, or a folder of digital photos that are lost forever and can't be replaced. With just a little daily maintenance, you can help your odds of avoiding such tragedies.

10 Most Popular Computers in History

In the early years of home computing, buying a machine was a huge investment. Many models sank, but these 10 broke sales records and gave many of us our first glimpse at the digital world. Did your favorite computer make the cut?

How are computers made?

Computers run our modern lives, but how many of us actually know how these everyday machines are made? We'll take a peek at the parts and processes that create the digital tools we can't live without.

What was the first portable computer?

Today, sleek, lightweight mobile computing devices grace the palms and laps of many modern computer users. But back in the '70s, "portable computer" had a very different meaning.

How big a hard drive do I need?

Hard drives are getter bigger and bigger, capacity-wise. But do you really need terabytes' worth of space? We'll ponder optimal hard drive size in this article.

10 Major Players in Supercomputers

When it comes to the business of building supercomputers, taller equals smaller and cooler means faster, and these 10 players have gotten really good at it. Get to know them before they're replaced by someone new.

Top 10 Supercomputers

Does the name Sequoia ring a bell with you? How about Mira, or Tianhe-2? If you're not up on the latest supercomputer news, those words may mean nothing, but they're major players when it comes to petaflops.

How Solid-state Drives Work

We know your digital life is important to you --all those apps, files, photos and music. But here's the 50-million-dollar question: Is a solid-state drive or a hard disk drive the right technology for the job?