Personal computers have become important tools in our daily lives. They provide access to large amounts of data and applications that provide useful services. Computers can be used for educational purposes like schoolwork or for business work like accounting and tax applications. Though computers come in many shapes and sizes, all computers have the same essential components for display, processing and input.
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The monitor is the main visual output of the computer and acts similar to a television. The monitor is plugged into the video card or motherboard, depending on the system. Most monitors have their own separate power cords. Several types of monitors exist, including older, larger CRT monitors and newer flat-screen LCD monitors. The basic monitor connector type is a VGA cable, though DVI and HDMI connectors may be used on higher-end models.
The case is what holds the majority of the system's parts. It is typically a rectangular box and provides internal mounting for all internal parts. Cases can vary stylistically and come in various sizes and shapes to suit users' needs.
The power supply provides power to all parts of the computer system. It is typically mounted on the rear top inside of the case. Power supplies differ in wattage and connector types. High-performance computers need additional power and generally have power supplies with a high wattage.
The motherboard holds the most vital components of the system including the memory and CPU. The motherboard determines the type of CPU and memory the system can use. Motherboards also provide the necessary components for USB connections.
The central-processing unit (CPU) is the centre of calculation in a computer. The CPU processes information and performs calculations as needed. It is the main thought centre of the computer, and its speed is measured in gigahertz.
Memory & Storage
The random access memory (RAM) acts as temporary storage for in-use data. While data is being compiled, processed, and eventually it is stored in RAM. RAM size is measured in megabytes and gigabytes (1 gigabyte = 1,000 megabytes).
The storage in a computer is also known as a hard drive. It provides permanent storage for files and applications and also contains the computer's operating system. Its size is also measured in megabytes and gigabytes.
A keyboard is an alphanumerical input device with keys matching the alphabet, numbers, and symbols commonly used in English and other languages. It is connected directly to the motherboard.
The mouse is the common second input peripheral on a personal computer. A mouse is a handheld input device with two or more buttons. It is used for clicking on files and applications on screen during use.
CD and DVD drives allow a user to read information from a disc or write information to a blank disc. Floppy disk drives perform these same functions, except with a 3.5-inch floppy storage disk.
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