Thursday, June 3, 2010

Computer Basic (2)

What are the Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer?

Tips for watching the video.
All of the basic parts of a desktop computer are considered hardware. The computer case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and power cord are considered the basic parts. These items are the things you notice right away when you look at a desktop computer.

Beyond these parts are the hardware items that are located inside the computer case and the peripherals, which are optional pieces of hardware that make the computer system more useful, or enable you to accomplish additional tasks. Let's take a look at the basic hardware components, or the things required in order to let you and the computer interact.


Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer (cont.)

Computer Case Computer Case Computer Case
The computer case is the metal and plastic box that contains the main components of the computer. It houses the motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), the power supply, and more.

Computer cases come in different shapes and sizes. A desktop case lies flat on a desk, and the monitor usually sits on top of it. A tower case is tall and sits next to the monitor or on the floor. The front of the case usually has an on/off switch and two or more drives.

Most of the personal computers you can purchase today include tower cases, rather than desktop cases; however, some computers are being made with all of the internal components built into the monitor, which completely eliminates the tower.


Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer (cont.)

Computer with Two LCD Monitors Computer with Two LCD Monitors Monitor
The monitor works with a video card, located inside the computer case, to display images and text on the screen. The two main types are cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

The CRT monitor is big, like a tube television, and takes up a lot of desk space; however, it is the least expensive monitor option. The LCD monitor is thin and saves energy, but costs more. Over the years you can expect to see fewer CRT monitors as LCD monitors become the standard.

Your monitor has an on/off button and control buttons that allow you to change your monitor's display. Control buttons are either visible or located behind a small panel. Additionally, some monitors have built-in speakers.

Power Cord
The power cord is the link between the power outlet and the power supply unit in the computer casing. If the power cord is not plugged in, the computer will not power on. It is a good idea to keep the power cord plugged into an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), which serves as a surge protector with its own temporary power source.


Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer (cont.)

The keyboard is a piece of hardware that resembles a typewriter keyboard. It is one of the primary ways we communicate with the computer and enter data. There are many different types of computer such as wired, wireless, ergonomic, multimedia, and more. Although there may be differences in the location of some keys or features, keyboards are very similar and allow you to accomplish basically the same tasks. The images below show you three different types of keyboards.

Standard Keyboard Standard Keyboard
About the Keyboard
  • The main part of a computer keyboard has alpha-numeric (letter and number) keys similar to a typewriter. However, the keyboard also features keys that cause the computer to perform specific tasks.

  • The Escape key, labeled Esc, allows you to stop a function or action. For example, if your computer suddenly freezes up, you may be able to resume by pressing Esc.

  • The Function keys, along the top of the keyboard, are labeled F1, F2, up to F12. These shortcut keys allow you to quickly complete a specific task within certain programs. For example, F1 opens Help in Microsoft Office.

Erogonomic Keyboard Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
  • The Print Screen, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys are at the far right end of the keyboard. The Print Screen key takes a "picture" of your screen that you can edit or save using a graphics program.

  • The Enter key carries out commands. For example, while on the Internet, you can type in a website address, called a URL, and press Enter to go to the site.

  • The Control (Ctrl), Alternate (Alt), and Shift keys are designed to work with other keys. For example, if you press Ctrl + S at the same time, you can save a file.

  • The Backspace key erases the character to the left of
    the cursor.

iMac Keyboard iMac USB Keyboard
  • To the right of the regular keys is the cursor control pad. At the bottom are four arrow keys. Pressing any one of these keys moves the cursor in the direction of the arrow.

    Depending on the keyboard you are using, there are five to six keys above the arrows including:
    • The Delete key erases the character to the right the cursor.
    • The Insert key switches between the insert mode and overtype mode. The insert mode is the normal mode for word processing.
    • The Home key moves the cursor to the left or beginning of the current line.
    • End moves the cursor to the right end of the current line.
    • Page Up and Page down take you to the top or bottom of the screen.
  • The Number pad, at the far right end of the keyboard, resembles a calculator keypad. Similar to the curser keys, you can use the arrow keys on this keypad to move the cursor.

Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer (cont.)

Mouse Mouse Mouse
The mouse is a peripheral that is known as a pointing device. It lets you point to objects on the screen, click on them, and move them. Previously, it was considered an optional device, but now all desktop computers will come with a mouse.

There are two main types of mice -- optical and mechanical. The optical mouse uses an electronic eye to detect movement and is easier to clean. The mechanical mouse uses a rolling ball to detect movement and is more difficult to clean; however, it is less expensive, so many computers come with a mechanical mouse.

Another decision you have when choosing a mouse is wired versus wireless. Wireless everything is popular right now, so it will be up to you to decide which type will work best for you.

To properly use the mouse:
  • Using your right hand, place your thumb on the desk or table top on the left side of the mouse
  • Your index (pointer) finger should rest on the left button of the mouse.
  • Place your middle finger on the right button of the mouse.
  • Your ring finger and little finger should rest on the right side of the mouse.
  • The base of your wrist should rest on the mouse pad or desktop, for stability.

Left-handed computer users sometimes use their right hand to maneuver the mouse. However, if you're left-handed and want to use your left hand, the mouse buttons can be switched.

To Switch the Mouse Buttons for a Left-Handed User:
  • Click Start.
  • Choose SettingsControl Panel.
  • Double-click the Mouse icon in the Control Panel window.
  • Click Left-handed.
  • Click OK.
To properly use the mouse:
  • Click. Select an object on the screen by pressing the left mouse button down with your index finger and then release the button.

  • Drag an object on the screen by pressing and holding down the left mouse button with your index finger while moving the mouse. When the object is where you want it, release the button.

  • To double-click, rapidly press and release the left mouse button with your index finger.

  • To right-click, press and release the right mouse button with your middle finger.

A trackball is similar to a mouse, but the ball that helps maneuver the cursor is on top instead of underneath.



  • Think about the desktop computers you've seen at work, school, the library, a store, or a friend's house.
  • Do all the desktops look the same?
  • What pieces of hardware do they have in common?


What are All the Buttons, Sockets, and Slots Used For?

Tips for watching the video.
Take a look at the front and back of your computer case and count the number of buttons, sockets, and slots you see. Now, look at your monitor and count any that appear there. You probably counted approximately 20.

Each computer is different, therefore the buttons, slots, and sockets will vary from computer to computer; however, there are certain features you can expect to find on most desktop computers. Being familiar with the names of each and how they are commonly used will help you when the time comes for you to connect that new printer, mouse, digital camera, or other device.


Front of Computer Case

Labeled Front of Computer Case Labeled Front of Computer Case
  1. Power Button
    The power button is used to power the computer on and off. Additionally, you can use the power button on some computers to place the computer in different energy-saving modes such as hibernate, sleep, and standby. It is a good idea to read your manual to learn how these features work on your computer.

  2. CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read-Only Memory) Drive
    A CD-ROM drive, also known as an optical drive, allows you to play a CD-ROM , just like a CD player allows you to listen to music. With a CD-ROM drive you can listen to music (if your computer is sound-enabled), view files, and install software that is located on a CD.

    A CD writer is a device that can be used in conjunction with a CD-ROM drive and allows you to copy or burn information onto specific types of CDs called CD-RW (Compact Disk ReWritable) and CD-R (Compact Disk-Recordable) discs.

  3. DVD-ROM (Digital Versatile Disc Read-Only Memory) Drive
    A DVD-ROM drive, also known as an optical drive, reads DVD discs, all types of CDs, and can display movies from digital video discs. DVDs can hold more data than a CD, so they are a good storage option. A DVD burner is a device that can be used in conjunction with a DVD-ROM and allows you to copy information onto DVD discs. It is considered a type of storage.

  4. In many of the computers you can purchase today, the CD and DVD-ROM and/or burners are combined.

  5. USB Port
    The Universal Serial Port typically appears on the back of the computer case, but can sometimes be found on the front of the case, or hidden under a panel on the front of the case.

  6. Audio In/Audio Out Every computer has a bank of audio ports where you can connect various devices, including speakers, microphones, headsets, and more

Back of Computer Case

On the back of the computer case are connection ports that are made to fit specific devices. The arrangement of these vary from computer to computer, and many companies have their own special connectors for the specific devices. Some of the ports are color coded to match a color on the device, which will help you determine which port is used with a particular device.

Sample Computer Case Sample Computer Case

Labeled Back View of Computer Case Labeled Back View of Computer Case
  1. PS/2 Port
    These ports are called PS/2 ports and are used for the mouse and keyboard. Many people refer to them as the mouse port or the keyboard port.

  2. Ethernet Port
    This port looks a lot like the modem or telephone port but it is actually wider. You can use this port for networking and also connecting to the Internet. Ethernet

  3. Audio In/Audio Out
    Every computer has a bank of audio ports where you can connect various devices, including speakers, microphones, headsets, and more.Audio

  4. VGA Port
    Your monitor can is connected to this port.

  5. USB Port
    The Universal Serial Bus port is one of the newest ports, but is also one of the most useful. These USB ports let you attach a variety of devices such as mice, printers, keyboards, web cameras, USB/flash drives, and digital cameras to your computer quickly. Almost every peripheral made comes in a USB version, and installing the devices using USB ports is much easier than connecting devices using parallel and serial ports. This is primarily because USB ports do not require you to reboot your computer before you can use the new device.

Now you try it! Practice connecting the cables with an interactive game.


Back of Computer Case (cont.)

Computer Case Labeled Back View of Computer Case
  1. Parallel Port
    The parallel port is one of the two original ports on the first personal computer. It is commonly known as the printer port since this port is used to connect your printer to your computer; however, with the rise in use of the USB ports, you can expect to see a decrease in the use of this port. Currently, a large number of parallel port printers are still manufactured and used on older computers that don’t have USB support.

  2. Serial Port
    The serial port is the other original port on the first personal computer. Serial ports can be used to plug in devices such as dial-up modems and other devices. On recent computers, the serial port has been replaced by the USB port. This is due to the fact that most peripherals use the USB drive.

  3. Expansion Slots
    These empty slots are where expansion cards are added to computers. For example, if your computer did not come with a video card, you could purchase one and insert it here.

  4. FireWire Port
    FireWire is actually the Apple brand name for the IEEE 1394 port, but the term caught on and it this port is commonly referred to as the FireWire port. It is the standard port used with digital video cameras and high-resolution scanners. FireWire replaced the Parallel SCSI, but it is not on every computer; however, you can buy an adapter card to add FireWire ports to your computer. The labeled image does not include a FireWire port.


Peripherals You Can Use in Various Ports

Printer Printer
  • Printers: A printer is a peripheral that is used to print, or produce, a version of what appears on the screen in a hardcopy format. There are many types of printers available including ink-jet, laser-jet, and photo printers. Also, combination printers that include scanners and copiers are increasing in popularity.

  • Scanners: A scanner allows you to copy an image or document and save it in electronic form onto your computer. While you can purchase a hand-held and flatbed scanners, you are more likely to purchase a scanner as an all-in-one option that combines a scanner, printer, and copier into one product.

    Scanners vary in resolution, or sharpness, so when shopping for one, be sure to compare the resolution of the products. A scanner is connected to the computer via a parallel port, a USB port, or a SCSI connection. No matter which connection is used, the images are stored on your PC's hard drive in a digital format.


Speakers/Headphones: Speakers and headphones are output devices, which means that they are devices that communicate information from the computer to the user. They allow you to hear sound and music. Both speakers and headphones connect to a computer; however, some computers are designed with speakers built into the monitor.
Microphones: A microphone is a type of input device, or a device that receives information from a user. You connect the microphone to the computer and use the computer to record sound or to communicate with another computer user via the Internet. Many computers come with built-in microphones.

Web Camera
Web Camera
  • Web Cameras: Web cameras, or web cams, are devices that connect to a computer and display a video image of whatever it is recording. This video image can be transmitted over the Internet, allowing a user in another location the ability to see the video in real-time. Web cameras are used often in business for video conferences, and are also a great tool for families to use to stay connected from different parts of the world.

  • Joystick or Game Controller: A joystick is a lever used while playing a computer game.

  • Digital Cameras: A digital camera lets you capture a picture in digital (computer-readable) form. You can transfer that image directly from the camera to the computer. When you use a digital camera, you can also preview your pictures before printing them. If you don't like what you see, you can edit or delete them.

Personal Digital Assistant
Personal Digital Assistant

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): A PDA is a handheld computer that can have a variety of features including a calendar, Internet access, video recording, word processing, email access, phone, media player, and more. Most PDAs can be synchronized with a PC to allow up-to-date contact information stored on software such as Microsoft Outlook, RSS feeds, or other web updates.
MP3 Players: An MP3 player is a portable device that stores, organizes, and plays audio files. The player can read files that are recorded from a CD using a computer, or downloaded from various sites via the Internet.


Find out what types of drives are on your computer (e.g, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM)
Count the number is USB Ports on your computer.

1 comment:

  1. Informative read in which you describe all computers components and part which are useful to a run a computer in a proper way. Thanks for sharing such useful information with us.

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