Computer Parts

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Computer Parts

By | October 2011
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There isn't any single part called the "computer." A computer is 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 most common hardware in a desktop computer system is a system unit, monitor, printer, modem, mouse, speaker, and a keyboard. A laptop computer has similar parts but combines them into a single notebook-sized package. The system unit is the core of a 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 (CPU), or microprocessor, which acts as the "brain" of your computer. Another component is random access memory (RAM), which temporarily stores information that the CPU 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. A monitor displays information in visual form, using text and graphics. The portion 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 of being much thinner and lighter. A printer is a computer peripheral which produces a hard copy (permanent human-readable text and/or graphics) of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper or transparencies. You don't need a...