Hardware is the physical pieces of the computer. There are four basic pieces of hardware that you should be able to recognize when using a computer.

MONITOR: Looks like a TV. It is your window into the computer.

KEYBOARD: Looks like a typewriter with a couple of extra keys.

MOUSE: Your pointing device.

CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU):  The brain of the computer. It has places to plug in your monitor, keyboard, mouse and other equipment.

Then there are piece of hardware that you usually cannot see, such as:

PROCESSOR: You can’t see the Processor because it is inside of your machine, but it determines how fast your computer will work. Processor speeds are measured in Megahertz (MHZ), with speeds running somewhere between 266 and 600 (and up). However, other factors, such as the amount of memory you have, also affect the speed. 

MODEM: The modem is a device that can either be inside or external to the CPU. It allows your computer to communicate with other computers.  The modem is generally just a translator - translating analog signals that come through your phone line into digital signals that your computer can use.  If you are buying a home computer buy a 56k modem.

MEMORY: This is also located inside the computer and Indicates how much storage you have on your machine. Obviously, the more storage, the more information you can store on your computer.

PERIPHERALS: Peripherals are extras.  They are extra pieces of hardware that you do not have to have to run your computer, but they make running it either easier or more fun. Like printers, speakers, scanners, joysticks, etc.

SOFTWARE: instructions for the computer. A computer is only dead pieces of wire and metal until something tells it what to do.

SKILLS: If you can click and scroll with the mouse and "hunt and peck" on the keyboard, you have all the necessary skills to search the Web.


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