Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies
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Peripherals are externally hooked up to your computer. Your actual PC, itself, is nothing but the console (or tower). Everything else is considered a peripheral. To do much of anything with a PC, you’ll need at least a few peripherals.

Hooking up primary peripherals

The following peripherals are found on most PCs:

  • Keyboard and mouse: Set up the keyboard right in front of where you’ll sit when you use the computer, between you and where the monitor goes. The mouse lives to the right or left of the keyboard, depending on whether you’re right- or left-handed.

    The PC keyboard plugs into the keyboard port on the back of the console. The mouse plugs into the mouse port. Note that the two ports look identical but are different.

  • Monitor: Set the monitor atop your desk, generally back away from where you sit, to accommodate room for the keyboard.

    The monitor plugs into the VGA, or graphics adapter, jack on the back of the console. The plug goes in only one way.

  • Network: Plug the network, or Cat 5, cable into the network jack on the back of the console. This is how you connect your PC to a network, or how you connect to a broadband modem.

  • Printer: Set up the printer where it’s within arm’s reach of the console. To get the printer and console talking to each other, you need a cable, either a USB cable or the traditional printer cable. When you’re blessed with a wireless printer, keep it close enough to the console to ensure that it’s in range of the signal.

  • USB: USB devices plug into the USB port — any USB port. The USB cable may be attached directly to the gizmo, or you may have to use (or buy) a separate USB cable.

Using secondary peripherals

Secondary peripherals are for more specialized applications or hardware. These secondary peripherals include audio, FireWire, joystick, modem, S-Video, serial, and wireless connections.

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