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serves to connect all of the parts of a computer together. The CPU, memory, hard drives, optical drives, video card, sound card and other ports and expansion cards all connect to the motherboard directly or via cables. The motherboard can be thought of as the "back bone" of the computer.


any auxiliary device such as a mouse, keyboard, hard drive, etc. that connects to and works with the computer in some way. Usually, a peripheral refers to a device external to the computer, like a scanner, even though peripherals may be located inside the computer case.

video card

an expansion card that allows the computer to send graphical information to a video display device such as a monitor or projector.

sound card

an expansion card that allows the computer to send audio information to any compatible audio device such as a set of speakers.


an input device designed to enter text, characters and other commands into the computer.


an input device designed to manipulate objects on the computer screen.

flash drive

a small, ultra-portable storage device which, unlike a hard drive or optical drive, has no moving parts. Most connect to the PC via a built-in USB port. Storage capacity ranges from as small as 16MB to as much as 64GB and


it is a standard type of connection for many different kinds of devices. Generally, it refers to the types of cables, ports and connectors used to connect these many types of external devices to computers

hard drive

is the main, and usually largest, data storage device in a computer. The operating system, software titles and most other files are stored in the hard disk drive.

Random Access Memory

the "working memory" in a computer. Additional RAM allows a computer to work with more information at the same time which can have a dramatic effect on total system performance.


is responsible for interpreting and executing most of the commands from the computer's hardware and software. It is often called the "brains" of the computer.

power supply

job is to convert the power provided from the outlet into usable power for the many parts inside the computer case.


displays the video and graphics information generated by the computer through the video card. Monitors are very similar to televisions but display information at a much higher quality.


it is a large vacuum tube used to display an image on a screen.


it is a flat, thin display device.

optical drives

retrieve and/or store data on optical discs like CDs, DVDs, and BDs (Blu-ray discs) which hold much more information than classic portable media options like the floppy disk

floppy disk drive

reads data from and writes data to a small disk. The most common type is the 3.5" drive followed by the completely obsolete 5.25" drive, among other sizes.

computer case

serves mainly as a way to physically mount and contain all of the actual computer components.


device has a maximum data transfer rate of 400Mbps and it used to transfer video from a camcorder to a PC. (IEEE1394)

network adapter

also known as an Ethernet card, allows you to connect to the Internet or to set up home networks.

wireless network adapter

designed to let computers communicate without a cable over a network.


dials into an Internet Service Provider using your phone line to connect to the Internet.

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