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Basic PC Hardware

Your PC is made up over pieces of hardware. Although you’ve probably seen all of this hardware before, you need to know which computer hardware piece is which and what the proper hardware terms are:

  • Console: The main computer box is the console (shown in this figure), although it may also be called the system unit (geeky) or the CPU (incorrect). It’s a box that contains your computer’s soul, its electronic guts. On the outside, the console sports various buttons, lights, and holes into which you plug the rest of the computer system.

  • Monitor: The monitor is the device where the computer displays information.

  • Keyboard: It’s the thing you type on; it’s the primary way you communicate with the computer.

  • Mouse: No rodent or pest, the computer mouse is a helpful device that lets you work with graphical objects that the computer displays on the monitor.

  • Speakers: PCs bleep and squawk through a set of stereo speakers, which can be external jobbies you set up, speakers built into the console or the monitor, or perhaps even headphones.

  • Printer: It’s a device that gives you the computer’s printed output, also called hard copy.

You may find, in addition to these basic items, other things clustered around your computer, such as a scanner, a digital camera, a gamepad, an external disk drive, a high-speed modem, and many, many other toys — er, vital computer components.

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