The Basic Parts of a PC

Understanding the basic parts and components of your PC makes you more prepared to use it. The following figure shows a typical desktop computer system and its components.

View the basic components of your PC.
View the basic components of your PC.

Here’s a rundown of the components shown in the figure:

  • Console: The main computer box is the console, although it may also be called the system unit or the CPU (which is 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, its output. A common mistake made by new computer users is to assume that the monitor is the computer. No, the console is the computer. The monitor merely displays information.

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

  • 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. Pay more money and you can even get a subwoofer to sit under your desk.

  • Printer: It’s where you get the computer’s printed output, also called hard copy.

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