IGCSE Information and Communication Technology/Types and components of computer systems

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This section looks at the hardware and software components of computer systems. You will need to be able to discuss recent developments in these areas in addition to what may be discussed in the syllabus, on this page or in your textbooks and marks will be available for this in the exam.

Hardware and Software[edit]


Hardware is the term used to describe the physical components of a computer system. If it can be touched and handled then it is hardware. Examples of hardware components include:

  • Mainboard
  • Graphics card
  • CPU
  • Video capture card
  • Storage devices
  • Input/output devices

Storage devices can be further broken down in to Primary and Secondary storage. Some examples of each of these are given in the table below.

Primary/Internal Storage Secondary/External Storage
  • Internal memory, Random Access Memory (RAM)
  • Hard-disc drive
  • USB sticks
  • Flash memory cards
  • CD/DVD disc drives
  • Floppy disc drives

Input and Output devices are also very important to any computer system. Input devices allow data to be taken from an external source and transfered on to the computer in a digital form. Output devices take data stored on the computer and transfer this to the user in a useful form. Some examples of these types of devices are given in the table below.

Input devices Output devices
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Graphics tablet
  • Webcam
  • Scanner
  • Trackball
  • Sensors
  • Printer
  • Monitor
  • Speaker
  • Control devices and motors