Computer Basics/Hardware

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Welcome to Unit 1: Hardware. This unit is an introduction to the physical parts of a computer, and together with the other units in this course, will provide you with a basic understanding of how a computer works.

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On completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  • identify the main hardware components of a computer including examples of input, storage, output and processing devices.
  • describe the functions of hardware components
  • describe how the hardware components interact

Understanding what a computer is

Computers are used in many aspects of daily life. They enable us to browse the internet, play games, watch videos, listen to music, communicate using email, and to create and manage information using documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. But how does this all happen?

A computer is an electronic device that receives, processes and stores data. A desktop computer generally includes a keyboard, a mouse, a case containing a central processing unit (CPU) and memory, a monitor, and power cord. Data comes into a computer through an input device such as the keyboard, is processed into information by the CPU, and this information is presented or displayed by an output device such as the monitor and/or speakers.

Data is supplied by an input device (shown on left), processed by the CPU, resulting in information displayed by an output device (shown on right)