How a computer works

To operate, a computer uses both material ( hardware ) and logical ( software ) components.

What is computer hardware?

A computer is made up of a number of basic electronic components. These are electronic devices and boards.

The main hardware components of a PC are the following:

  • The processor (CPU)
    It is the unit that carries out data processing, mathematical and logical calculations.
  • Memory ( RAM , ROM, cache)
    Temporary memories are used during calculations to store data. These memories are automatically deleted when the PC is turned off.
  • The motherboard
    It is the main electronic board of the computer to which all the other hardware components are connected. For this reason it is called the “motherboard”.
  • Computer
    peripherals Peripherals are units that allow you to enter data into your computer (input) or view the results of calculations (output).

    • Input devices (keyboard, scanner )
    • Output devices ( monitor , printer )
    • Input / output devices ( touchscreen )
  • The Hard Disk

It is the main mass memory of a computer. The hard drive is used to record data permanently. This memory is not cleared after the computer is turned off.

In addition to these hardware components, the computer universe was then enriched with new devices, accessories and interfaces.

What is the hardware for?

The hardware components of a computer are the physical basis necessary to be able to run computer programs ( software ).

What is computer software?

When you use your computer to surf the internet or to do a calculation, you are using a computer program (or software).

There are different types of software and each one performs a specific function.

  • Operating system
  • applications
  • Video games
  • Tools

What are the types of computers

There are different types of computers. The main ones are the following:

  1. The Personal Computer
    • The desktop computer
    • The laptop (notebook)
  2. The tablet computer
  3. The home computer
  4. The supercomputer

The history of computers

The first computers were born in the 30s. Initially they were large computer systems (mainframes) and were made to perform repeated calculations in research institutes or large companies.

Starting from the 70s, thanks to the diffusion of chips and the miniaturization of electronic components, the smaller and cheaper micro-computers and current personal computers were born.

Initially they were mainly used as a work tool in office automation, at the base of the ICT sector and information science.

A consumer market was then added to the business market. Especially in the 80s and 90s.

The consumer market was mainly driven by video games and the spread of the internet.

Today the computer has also become a home appliance and is present in almost all homes. It is one of the main consumer electronics products.

The new computers have a significantly higher computing power than in the past, with much smaller costs and dimensions.

The convergence between computer and mobile phone

In the early 2000s the computer market further changed after the launch of the first smartphone cell phones.

What is a smartphone? It is a mobile phone that has its own data processing capability. Programs and applications (apps) can be installed and run.

Since 2010 there has been a progressive convergence between mobile telephony and information technology.

For example, tablets today perform many functions of personal computers. They are a replacement tool for surfing the internet or reading e-mail.

Computers remain overworked. However, in the consumer market they are losing utility.

Home users often prefer to use a tablet because it is much smaller and more manageable than a desktop or laptop computer.


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