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Chapter 2. PC Anatomy 101 > Hardware, Software, and Firmware

Hardware, Software, and Firmware

The components seen in Figures 2-12-4 represent the hardware portion of the computer. Of these, the processor, or central processing unit (CPU), is king: Other components interact with the processor to create and modify information. However, the processor relies on other components to receive instructions, store new and updated information, and send information to output or display devices. These essential parts can be broken down into three categories: hardware, software, and firmware. Components in all three categories are necessary to the operation of any computer.

Hardware

Hardware is the part of computing you can pick up, move around, open, and close. Although hardware might represent the glamorous side of computing—whose computer is faster, has a larger hard disk, more memory, and so on—a computer can do nothing without software and firmware to provide instructions. Hardware failures can take place because of loose connections, electrical or physical damage, or incompatible devices.


  

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