What Is Computer Equipment?

By Karen S. Johnson

Every time you turn on your computer and perform an Internet search or print out a report, you are operating computer equipment. Your desktop or laptop computer is the cornerstone of your computer equipment; it includes internal components your computer requires to function and ports to attach peripherals that work in tandem with the computer. Computer equipment also includes peripherals that depend on a computer to operate properly.

Basic Computer Equipment Setup

Without the necessary internal equipment, your desktop system or laptop is an empty, non-functioning shell. The heart of every computer is its microprocessor, or CPU, which is accompanied by a printed circuit board, power supply unit and random access memory chips. Every computer has a hard drive or solid-state drive to store files. These components are all included in the computer you purchase.

Necessary External Components

A keyboard and a monitor are components you use to interact with the computer and to view the results of those interactions. A laptop integrates these, but many desktop systems require you to attach them to the computer case. You also need a mouse with a desktop computer for easy navigation. While laptops typically have an integrated mouse or touch pad that functions in the same way as an external mouse, you can attach an external mouse to most laptops or notebooks.

Components That Expand Functionality

Some computer equipment expands your computer’s basic functionality. Most people want a printer to print documents or photographs. With a portable hard drive, you can transport information from one computer to another computer or archive old files. Depending on the computer you have, you may want to add sound and video cards for multimedia and expansion cards that allow you to attach more peripherals.

Connectivity Equipment

Modern-day computers are Internet-ready with built-in network cards for both wired and wireless connectivity. These cards usually include an Ethernet port to plug in a high-speed cable that you then connect to an external modem. Your high-speed Internet provider typically provides you with the required modem, so you don't need to purchase this equipment separately. Some laptops or portable computers only have wireless connectivity. If you want to connect several computers or equipment with wireless capability, you'll need to add a wireless router to your computer equipment.