If you use a desktop computer, you might already know that there isn’t any single part called the “computer. ” A computer is really a system of many parts working together. The physical parts, Which you can see and touch, are collectively called hardware. (Software, on the other hand, refers to the instructions, or programs, that tell the hardware What to do. ) The illustration below shows the most common hardware in a desktop computer system. Your system may look little different, but it probably has most of these parts. A laptop computer has similar parts but combines them into a single taboo-sized package.Order now
Picture of a desktop computer systematic computer system Let’s take a look at each of these parts, System unit The system unit is the core off computer system. Usually it’s a rectangular box placed on or underneath your desk. Inside this box are many electronic components that process information. The most important of these components is the central processing unit (CAP]), or microprocessor, which acts as the “brain” of your computer. Another component is random access memory (RAM), which temporarily stores information that the CAP] uses while the computer is on.
The information stored in RAM is erased when the computer is turned off. Almost every other part of your computer connects to the system unit using cables. The cables plug into specific ports (openings), typically on the back Of the system unit. Hardware that is not part of the system unit is sometimes called a peripheral device or device. Picture of a system immunities unit Top of page Storage Your computer has one or more disk drives-”devices that store information on a metal or plastic disk. The disk preserves the information even when your computer is turned off.
Hard disk drive Your computer’s hard disk drive stores information on a hard disk, a rigid platter or stack of platters with a magnetic surface. Because hard disks can hold massive amounts of information, they usually serve as your computer’s primary means of storage, holding almost all of your programs and files. The hard disk drive is normally located inside the system unit. Picture of a hard disk diehard disk drive CD and DVD drives Nearly all computers today come equipped With a CD or DVD drive, usually located on the front of the system unit.
CD drives use lasers to read (retrieve) tat from a CD, and many CD drives can also write (record) data onto CDC. If you have a recordable disk drive, you can store copies four files on blank CDC. You can also use a CD drive to play music CDC on your computer. Picture of a CDC DVD drives can do everything that CD drives can, plus read DVD’s. If PU have a DVD drive, you Gang watch movies on your computer. Many DVD drives can record data onto blank DVD’s. Tip If you have a recordable CD or DVD drive, periodically back up (copy) your important files to CDC or DVD’s. That way, if your hard disk ever fails, you won’t lose your data.
Happy disk drive Floppy disk drives store information on floppy disks, also called floppies or diskettes. Compared to CDC and DVD’s, floppy disks can store only a small amount of data. They also retrieve information more slowly and are more prone to damage. For these reasons, floppy disk drives are less popular than they used to be, although some computers still include them. Picture Of a floppy disproof disk Why are floppy disks “floppy? Even though the outside is made of hard plastic, that’s just the sleeve. The disk inside is made of a thin, flexible vinyl material. Top of page
Mouse A mouse is a small device used to point to and select items on your computer screen. Although mice come in many shapes, the typical mouse does look bit like an actual mouse, It’s small, oblong, and connected to the system unit by a long wire that resembles a tail. Some newer mice are wireless. Picture of a computer mousses A mouse usually has two buttons: a primary button (usually the left button) and a secondary button. Many mice also have a wheel between the two buttons, which allows you to scroll smoothly through screens of information. Picture of mouse pointers
When you move the mouse with your hand, a pointer on your screen mouse in the same direction. (The pointer’s appearance might change depending on where it’s positioned on your screen. ) When you want to select an item, you point to the item and then click (press and release) the primary button. Pointing and clicking With your mouse is the main way to interact With your computer. Gore more information, see using purr mouse. Top of page Keyboard A keyboard is used mainly for typing text into your computer. Like the keyboard on a typewriter, it has keys for letters and numbers, but it also has special keys:
The function keys, found on the top row, perform different functions depending on where they are used. The numeric keypad, located on the right side of most keyboards, allows you to enter numbers quickly. The navigation keys, such as the arrow keys, allow you to move your position within a document or weapon. Picture of a cheeseboard’s You can also use your keyboard to perform many of the same tasks you can perform With a mouse. For more information, see using your keyboard. Top Of page Monitor A monitor displays information in visual form, using text and graphics.
The oration of the monitor that displays the information is called the screen. Like a television screen, a computer screen can show still or moving pictures. There are two basic types of monitors: CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors and LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors, Both types produce sharp images, but LCD monitors have the advantage to being much thinner and lighter. CRT monitors, however, are generally more affordable. Picture of an LCD monitor and a CRT monitoring monitor (left); CRT monitor (right) Top of page printer A printer transfers data from a computer onto paper.
You don’t need a printer to SE your computer, but having one allows you to print e-mail, cards, invitations, announcements, and other materials, Many people also like being able to print their own photos at home. The two main types of printers are inkiest printers and laser printers. Inkiest printers are the most popular printers for the home. They can print in black and white or in full color and can produce high-quality photographs when used with special paper. Laser printers are faster and generally better able to handle heavy Picture of an inkiest printer and a laser predetermined printer (left); laser printer
Speakers Speakers are used to play sound, They may be built into the system unit or connected with cables. Speakers allow you to listen to music and hear sound effects from your computer. Picture of computer supercomputer speakers Modem To connect your computer to the Internet, you need a modem.