GCSE Computing/Computing hardware

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What you need to know[edit| edit source]

Each of these topics has its own page

How the parts fit together[edit| edit source]

The diagram below gives some examples of these different types of device and shows how data can be transferred between them in a computer system.
As an exercise work out where each of the five items listed above fit into this diagram.

Types of device in a computer system

Input Devices include any kind of device which can be used for getting data in to the computer system from the outside world and there are many more different kinds of input device than it is possible to list here. However some examples include; keyboard, mouse, microphone, heat sensors, switches, touch screens, digital cameras and so on.

When talking about Processing Devices we are usually referring to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the "brain" of the computer which performs calculations and processes data.

Storage Devices include any device which will store data until it is needed for processing. This can include temporary storage devices, like the computer's memory, or long-term storage devices like hard-drives, DVD drives or tape drives, etc.

Communication Devices deal with the transfer of data from one computer system to another for instance a modem can be used to communicate data to another computer via the Internet.

Output Devices include any kind of device which can provide data in a useful format to a user. For instance a computer monitor, speakers and printers, etc.

Peripheral Devices[edit| edit source]

Many hardware devices, which also fit in to one of the categories above, are also known as peripheral devices. These are devices which are not part of the main computer system, but are added on to increase the capabilities of the system. For instance keyboards, mice, scanners, printers, external hard-drives and so on.