Computer Hardware

Things I need to know about computers

Computers have:

  • parts to receive input

  • parts to give output

  • parts to do work

  • parts to remember things while the power is on (short term memory)

  • parts to remember things when the power is off (long term memory)

What I have learnt so far?

What is a computer?

Computers are electronic machines which can accept data in a certain form, process the data and give the results of the processing in a specified format as information. Three basic steps are involved in the process. First, data is fed into the computer's memory. Then, when the program is run, the computer performs a set of instructions and processes the data. Finally, we can see the results on the screen or in printed form.

Information in the form of data and programs is known as software, and the electronic and mechanical parts that make up a computer system are called hardware. A standard computer system consists of three main sections: the central processing unit (CPU), the main memory, and the peripherals.

Perhaps the most influential component is the CPU. Its function is to execute program instructions and coordinate the activities of all the other units. In a way, it is the brain of the computer. The main memory holds the instructions and data which are currently being processed by the CPU. The peripherals are the physical units attached to the computer. They include storage devices and input/output devices.

Storage devices (floppy, hard, or compact disks) provide a permanent storage of both data and programs. Disk drives are used to handle one or more floppy/compact disks. Input devices enable data to go into the computer's memory. The most common input devices are the mouse and the keyboard. Output devices enable us to extract the finished product from the system. For example, the computer shows the output on the monitor or prints the results onto paper by means of a printer. On the rear panel of the computer there are several ports into which we can plug a wide reange of peripherals - printers, fax machines, scanners, and headsets.