What is hardware engineering?

What is hardware engineering?
June 27, 2021

Hardware engineering is the process of designing, developing, testing and producing computer system and various physical component is related to computer systems. With the advent of technology and advance in R&D, the scope of hardware engineering has been expanded to including hardware devices enabling embedded software engineering in non-computer devices.

In embedded system, hardware engineering comprises of the process of design and development of all electronic related hardware such as sensors, processors and controllers.

The scope of hardware engineering is limited not just to the designing and development of computer or embedded system, but also to integrate the various devices for the functioning of the entire business system.

With the advent of technology and advances in R&D, hardware engineering is now prevalent in newer fields such as mobile computing and distributed system, computer vision and robotics etc.

Computer hardware is the collection of physical parts of computer system. This includes the computer case, monitor, keyboard and mouse. It also includes all the parts inside the computer case. Such as the hard disk drive, motherboard, video card, and many others. Computer hardware is what you can physically touch.


A computer system consists of two major elements: hardware and software. Computer hardware is the collection of all the parts you can physically touch. Computer software, on the other hand, is not something you can touch. Software is set of instructions for a computer to perform specific operation. You need both hardware and software for computer system to work.

Some hardware components are easy to recognize, such as the computer case, keyboard and monitor. However, there are many different types of hardware components. In this lesson, you will learn how to recognize the different components and what they do.

Types of computers

Before looking at the various components. It is useful to distinguish between two different types of computers: desktop computers and laptop computers. A desktop computer consist of computer case and a separate monitor, keyboard and computer is typically placed on a desk and is not very portable.

A laptop computer has the same components but integrated into a single portable unit.

While these two types of computers look quite different, they have the same general hardware components.

Hardware components

Let’s start with the computer case. This is the metal enclosure that contains many of the other hardware components. It comes in various shapes and sizes but a typical tower model is between 15-25 inches high. Want to know what’s inside? Okay, go get a screwdriver and let’s open it up. Seriously if you are really into computers, the best way to learn is to actually get hands-on. To save us some time, however, have a look at this desktop computer case. A computer enthusiast replaced the metal side panel with a transparent one, so we can have a look inside

Although that photo look pretty cool, it is a bit hard to recognize the individual components, especially with all the connect wires running through it. This figure shows a more schematic version of a desktop computer, which makes it easier to point out the essential hardware components.

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