The Three Main Components of Computer System
Computer system encompasses three major components namely, hardware, software and humanware. Each of these components heavily depends on the other two in order to enable meaningful usability. If installed separately, they may be useful elsewhere, probably, but redundant in achieving meaningful processing tasks.
For example, computer hardware cannot operate without software and neither can software operate without hardware. The two components also need the input of a living human being in order to make computing sense.
The three components, therefore form the basis upon which a computer actually operates.
Below are examples and illustrations of the aforementioned computer components:
1: Computer Hardware
Computer hardware component refer to computer parts that are tangible. Examples include;
- Display monitor
- Memory modules
- Disk drive
Usually, the components listed above are housed within the laptop and desktop computer system unit, except for the keyboard and mouse hardware in the latter.
Probably, the most important piece of hardware in the computer is the microprocessor chip called the central processing unit (CPU): Newer mobile computers come embedded with a union of CPU and graphics processing chip (GPU) called Accelerated Processing Unit, abbreviated as APU.
As for you and I, the most important hardware component may actually be the storage device within the computer where data is stored.
This piece of hardware is commonly referred to as the brain of the computer. Its responsibility is to translate instructions assigned to it and will perform all sorts of data manipulation/processing.
Another equally important hardware component in the system unit is the disk drive. This hardware component is where data and information is stored locally within the computer. There are two popluar types of disk drives:
- Hard disk drive (HDD)
- Solid state disk drive (SDD)
Hard disk drive: A hard disk drive is mechanical by design and stores data on magnetic metallic platters which are read by read/write heads. This makes this type of disk drive rather erratic and prone to failure if used badly. The newer solid state disk drive, stores data on flash memory chips are two popular disk drive types.
Solid state disk drive: The newer solid state disk drive, stores data on flash memory chips and is less prone to erratic behavior of the hard disk drive. An SSD is much faster and reliable compared to HDD and other types of flash based storage devices.
What computer platform do you find easy to use?
- The Four Functions Of Computer Systems
The four main functions of computer systems include the four core reasons why they were built. They are mainly designed for input output functions which include data entry, data processing and information output, and data storage.
Also inside the system unit is another very important hardware component called motherboard.
As the word suggests, the motherboard is like the 'mother' within the computer, providing communication and direct connectivity to all devices.
Connectivity to computer motherboard can be internal or external.
Internal devices that connect to the motherboard include:
- Microprocessor (CPU)
- Disk drive
- Random access memory (memory modules)
- Power supply unit (PSU)
External peripherals devices that connect to the motherboard include:
- The Four Main Categories Of Computer Hardware Components
Computer hardware components are divided into four major categories and they include input devices, processing devices...
Which one of the following is your preferred personal computer setup?
Read the article below to get a better picture of the different sets and categories of computers.
- Classification Of Computers According To Size
The difference in computer size has for long influenced trends and capabilities in computing. For example, the gigantic supercomputer with many microprocessors is known to perform extremely complex calculations,...
2: Computer Software
Computer software refers to the instructions, programs, data and protocols which run on hardware parts.
Software is subdivided into two major categories, namely system software and application software.
- System Software
System software, also Operating System (OS) is software that manages other software and devices in a computer.
The operating system is like the mother of computer software. It is the software that is installed first in the computer, followed by application software. Three well known operating system software variants for traditional computers include Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Popular mobile operating system software types include Android OS, iPhone OS, Windows Phone OS and Firefox OS.
- Application Software
A word processing application that one uses to compose letters in the computer e.g. Microsoft Word, is a type of program or application software.
Other popular examples of application software include; Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw and AutoCad.
Some application software collections also come in packages that are commonly known as software suite. A software suite serves more than just one application need.
A typical suite includes software that cater for word processing, presentation, graphic design and spreadsheet: It could be less, more or different, but serving different needs.
Examples of software suites include Microsoft Office, OpenOffice and iWork.
Computer software is written in computer languages such as Visual Basic, C, Java, etc by software designers.
What operating system platform would you prefer to use MOST in future?
3: The Humanware Component
Humanware refers to the user of the computer hardware and software. It is about the individual that uses the computer for productive or entertainment purposes.
The design of humanware often begins with understanding the needs and limitations of the end user and working bottom-up to design a product that is ultimately useful.
Typically, a great deal of testing is done on the software package to ensure that its productivity enhances the end user’s experience.
The user interacts with hardware to produce needful output. It is the user to type a letter, help record music, communicate over the airwaves and ultimately give all directives to computer hardware and software.
Analogy of the Components of a Computer Information System
In a nutshell, a working computer system is comparable to what happens in the kitchen where you basically have:
- Food and cookware - Hardware
- The recipe - Software
- The chef - hhumanware
Even after purchasing the freshest grocery and even with ownership of the finest pots and pans, you will not have a good meal without a good chef: a man or woman who knows the ins and outs of a good meal, and has the ultimate recipe to prepare food to the finest taste.
Both computer hardware and computer software are complemented by the works of humanware to produce a fully functional computer system.