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WHAT'S INSIDE: 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.
  • Hardware Basics
  • Buses
  • CPU
  • Hard Drives & Disks
  • Memory
  • Networking
  • Power Supplies
  • Desktops
  • Mac Computers
  • Tablet PCs
  • Hardware Basics

    Wondering what's inside your computer or some of the basics of how various types of computers and parts work? Get informed here.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • Will the $100 laptop help save the developing world?
    • How Sound Cards Work
    • What are system resources, and why do I run out of them?
    • Is it better to turn my computer off or leave it on all the time?
    • How Laptops Work
    • How Motherboards Work
    • What happens to your discarded old computer?
    • How Graphics Cards Work
    • What does Alt+F4 do?
    • How can a totally logical machine like a computer generate a random number?
  • Buses

    A bus, or computer universal switch, is essential for data transfer within a computer or between more than one. We'll take a look at topics like PCI, SCSI, USB Ports and serial ports.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • How Light Peak Works
    • How Parallel Ports Work
    • How IDE Controllers Work
    • How PCI Works
    • How PCI Express Works
    • How AGP Works
    • How SCSI Works
    • How USB Ports Work
    • How Serial Ports Work
    • How FireWire Works
  • CPU

    CPU is a well-known acronym in the computing world, but what is in them? Learn more about CPUs, including the newest processors and the technology behind CPU speed.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • Why are there limits on CPU speed?
    • Can computer chips be air-conditioned?
    • How Utility Computing Works
    • How Moore's Law Works
    • How Microprocessors Work
    • What is the difference between a Pentium and a Celeron processor?
    • How EUVL Chipmaking Works
    • Tech Talk: CPU Quiz
    • How Shared Computing Works
    • Is it true that the Mac G4 processor is twice as fast as a Pentium III?
  • Hard Drives & Disks

    Nearly every desktop computer and server in use today contains one or more hard-disk drives. See how hard drives work and get troubleshooting and maintenance tips.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • How to Add a Hard Drive to Your Computer in 8 Steps
    • How to Deaden Sound on a Computer
    • What is the churning sound I hear from my hard drive whenever it is retrieving data?
    • How Hard Disks Work
    • What does it mean when a hard disk has a head crash?
    • How can I recover a deleted file from my computer recycling bin?
    • How Floppy Disk Drives Work
    • How does a Zip drive store so much more data than a floppy drive?
    • How does disk defrag work?
    • Why does my PC try to access my floppy disk drive when there is no diskette in it?
  • Memory

    Memory refers to the amount of storage you have in your computer. We'll explore topics like RAM, caching and virtual memory.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • How RAM Works
    • How Flash Memory Works
    • Does adding more RAM to your computer make it faster?
    • How ROM Works
    • What is the difference between static RAM and dynamic RAM?
    • How Holographic Memory Will Work
    • How BIOS Works
    • How Virtual Memory Works
    • How Removable Storage Works
    • How Computer Memory Works
  • Networking

    Computer networking is the engineering that creates communication between computers and other devices. Learn about the different types of networking and the systems that make networking possible.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • How Home Networking Works
    • How Intranets Works
    • How Ethernet Works
    • How Network Address Translation Works
    • How Web Servers Work
    • What is a packet?
    • How LAN Switches Work
    • How Routers Work
    • How hard is it to set up a network between two computers in my home?
    • How does a FireWire IEEE-1394 connection work?
  • Power Supplies

    The performance of your computer relates to its supply of power. Learn how PC power supplies and computer batteries work.

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    Explore These Topics:

    • Choose an Energy-Efficient Power Supply
    • How to Know when Your Computer Battery is Dead
    • How to Keep Your Dell Laptop From Overheating
    • How does a computers uninterruptible power supply work?
    • How PC Power Supplies Work
    • 7 Downloads That Turn Your PC From Energy Sucker to Energy Sipper
    • Can your laptop battery be overcharged?
    • What causes laptop batteries to overheat?
    • Why does my computer need a battery?
    • 6 Easy Ways to Keep Your Computer Cool Without Using Electricity
  • Desktops

    There are many different types of desktop computers. Learn about PCs, supercomputers, printable computers and more.

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    Explore These Topics:

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