Computer Hardware Peripherals — Introduction to Information and Communication Technology (2023)


A peripheral is a piece of computer hardware that is added to a computer inorder to expand its abilities. The term peripheral is used to describe thosedevices that are optional in nature, as opposed to hardware that is eitherdemanded or always required in principle. There are all different kinds ofperipherals you can add your computer. The main disctinction among peripheralsis the way they are connected to your computer. They can be connectedinternally or externally.


A bus is a subsystem that transfers data between computer components inside acomputer or between computers. Unlike a point-to-point connection, a bus canlogically connect several peripherals over the same set of wires. Each busdefines its set of connectors to physically plug devices, cards or cablestogether. There are two types of buses: internal and external. Internal busesare connections to various internal components. External buses are connectionsto various external components. There are different kinds of slots thatinternal and external devices can connect to.


Types of Slots

There are many different kinds of internal buses, but only a handful of popularones. Different computers come with different kinds and number of slots. It isimportant to know what kind and number of slots you have on your computerbefore you go out and by a card that matches up to a slot you don’t have.


PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) is common in modern PCs. This kind ofbus is being succeeded by PCI Express. Typical PCI cards used in PCs include:network cards, sound cards, modems, extra ports such as USB or serial, TV tunercards and disk controllers. Video cards have outgrown the capabilities of PCIbecause of their higher bandwidth requirements.

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PCI Slots

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PCI Express

PCI Express was introduced by Intel in 2004. It was designed to replace thegeneral-purpose PCI expansion bus and the AGP graphics card interface. PCIexpress is not a bus but instead a point-to-point conection of serial linkscalled lanes. PCI Express cards have faster bandwidth then PCI cards which makethem more ideal for high-end video cards.


PCMCIA (also referred to as PC Card) is the type of bus used for laptopcomputers. The name PCMCIA comes from the group who developed the standard:Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. PCMCIA was originallydesigned for computer memory expansion, but the existence of a usable generalstandard for notbeook peripherals led to many kinds of devices being madeavailable in this form. Typical devices include network cards, modems, and harddisks.


AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) is a high-speed point-to-point channel forattaching a graphics card to a computer’s motherboard, primarily to assist inthe acceleration of 3D computer graphics. AGP has been replaced over the pastcouple years by PCI Express. AGP cards and motherboards are still available tobuy, but they are becoming less common.

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AGP Slot

Types Of Cards

Video Card

A video card (also known as graphics card) is an expansion card whose functionis to generate and output images to a display. Some video cards offer addedfunctions, such as video capture, TV tuner adapter, ability to connect multiplemonitors, and others. Most video cards all share similar components. Theyinclude a graphics processing unit (GPU) which is a dedicated microprocessoroptimized for 3D graphics rendering. It also includes a video BIOS thatcontains the basic program that governs the video card’s operations andprovides the instructions that allow the computer and software to interfacewith the card. If the video card is integrated in the motherboard, it may usethe computer RAM memory. If it is not it will have its own video memory calledVideo RAM. This kind of memory can range from 128MB to 2GB. A video card alsohas a RAMDAC (Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter) which takesresponsibility for turning the digital signals produced by the computerprocessor into an analog signal which can be understood by the computerdisplay. Lastly, they all have outputs such as an HD-15 connector (standardmonitor cable), DVI connector, S-Video, composite video or component video.

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Graphics Card

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Sound Card

A sound card is an expansion card that facilitates the input and output ofaudio signals to/from a computer under control of computer programs. Typicaluses for sound cards include providing the audio component for multimediaapplications such as music composition, editing video or audio,presentation/education, and entertainment. Many computers have soundcapabilities built in,, while others require additional expansion cards toprovide for audio capability.

Network Card

A network card is an expansion card that allows computers to communicate over acomputer network. It allows users to connect to each other either by usingcables or wirelessly. Although other network technologies exist, Ethernet hasachieved near-ubiquity for a while now. Every Ethernet network card has aunique 48-bit serial number called a MAC address, which is stored in ROMcarried on the card. You can learn more about networking in the introduction tonetworking lesson.

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Network Card


Types of Connections


USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a serial bus standard to interface devices. USBwas designed to allow many peripherals to be connected using a singlestandardized interface socket and to improve the plug-and-play capabilities byallowing devices to be connected and disconnected without rebooting thecomputer. Other convient features include providing power to low-consumptiondevices without the need for an external power supply and allowing many devicesto be used without requiring manufacturer specific, individual device driversto be installed. USB is by far the dominating bus for connecting externaldevices to your computer.

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USB Connectors


Firewire (technically known as IEEE 1394 and also known as i.LINK for Sony) isa serial bus interface standard for high-speed communications and isochronousreal-time data transfer, frequently used in a personal computer. Firewire hasreplaced Parallel ports in many applications. It has been adopted as the HighDefinition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA) standard connection interfacefor A/V (audio/visual) component communication and control. Almost all moderndigital camcorders have included this connection.

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Firewire Cable

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The PS/2 connector is used for connecting some keyboards and mice to a PCcompatible computer system. The keyboard and mouse interfaces are electricallysimilar with the main difference being that open collector outputs are requiredon both ends of the keyboard interface to allow bidirectional communication. Ifa PS/2 mouse is connected to a PS/2 keyboard port, the mouse may not berecognized by the computer depending on configuration.

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PS/2 Ports


Removable Storage

The same kinds of CD and DVD drives that could come built-in on your computercan also be attached externally. You might only have a CD-ROM drive built-in toyour computer but you need a CD writer to burn CDs. You can buy an external CDwriter that connects to your USB port and acts the same way as if it wasbuilt-in to your computer. The same is true for DVD writers, Blu-ray drives,and floppy drives. Flash drives have become very popular forms of removablestorage especially as the price of flash drives decreases and the possible sizefor them increases. Flash drives are usually USB ones either in the form USBsticks or very small, portable devices. USB flash drives are small, fast,removable, rewritable, and long-lasting. Storage capacities range from 64MB to32GB or more. A flash drive does not have any mechanically driven parts so asopposed to a hard drive which makes it more durable and smaller usually.

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USB Flash Drive

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Non-removable Storage

Non-removable storage can be a hard drive that is connected externally.External hard drives have become very popular for backups, shared drives amongmany computers, and simply expaning the amount of hard drive space you havefrom your internal hard drive. External hard drives come in many shapes andsizes like flash drives do. An external hard drive is usually connected by USBbut you can also have a networked hardrive which will connect to your networkwhich allows all computers on that network to access that hard drive.


Input devices are absolutely crucial to computers. The most common inputdevices are mice and keyboards which barely every computer has. A new popularpointing device that may eventually replace the mouse is touch screen which youcan get on some tablet notebooks. Other popular input devices includemicrophones, webcams, and fingerprint readers which can also be built in tomodern laptops and desktops. A scanner is another popular input device thatmight be built-in to your printer.

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There are lots of different kinds of output devices that you can get for yourcomputer. The absolute most common external output device is a monitor. Othervery popular output devices are printers and speakers. There are lots ofdifferent kinds of printers and different sizes of speakers for your computer.Monitors are connected usually through the HD-15 connector on your video card.Printers are usually connected through a USB port. Speakers have their ownaudio out port built-in to the sound card.

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  • Worksheet: Define Key Terms


  • Identify computer hardware peripherals
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What is computer peripherals short answer? ›

What Does Peripheral Mean? A peripheral is any computing device or equipment that is part of the computer but doesn't perform any core computing process. It is an externally or internally connected device that adds up or complements the host computer's capabilities or functionality in some form.

What are the computer hardware and peripherals? ›

A peripheral is a piece of computer hardware that is added to a computer in order to expand its abilities. The term peripheral is used to describe those devices that are optional in nature, as opposed to hardware that is either demanded or always required in principle.

Why is it important to learn about computer hardware and peripherals? ›

Not only do you guard yourself against system failure, you also future-proof yourself against needing a new PSU when you upgrade to more powerful PC components. Understanding your computer and its hardware components can prove very useful when the time comes to upgrade or replace any parts, or when building a computer.

What are peripherals in information technology? ›

Peripherals are auxiliary devices used for computer input (keyboards, pointing devices, etc.), output (monitors, printers, etc.), or data storage (hard drives, flash drives, etc.). Peripherals are ancillary components used to put information into a computer and as a way to get information out of a computer.

What are three 3 examples of computer peripherals? ›

Some common computer peripherals include keyboards, mice, tablet pens, joysticks, scanners, monitors, speakers, printers, external hard drives, and media card readers.

What is the purpose of computer peripherals? ›

The purpose of peripherals is to extend and enhance what a computer is capable of doing without modifying the core components of the system. A printer is a good example of a peripheral. It is connected to a computer, extends its functionality, but is not actually part of the core machine.

What are 4 examples of peripherals? ›

Examples of peripheral devices include terminals, printers, external floppy disk drives and other data storage devices, video monitors, keyboards, interface boards, external memory expansion cards, and other input/output devices that may or may not contain digital circuitry.

What are the 5 types of hardware? ›

There are five main hardware components in a computer system: Input, Processing, Storage, Output and Communication devices.

What is the importance of computer hardware? ›

Hardware requires software to run correctly. Without the correct hardware, your software may not run efficiently or at all. It is important to consider both when making decisions about your IT systems, as this can affect the way you work, your productivity and your business' bottom line.

What is a computer peripheral kid definition? ›

Peripheral equipment (also called: input and output devices) connects a computer to other things. It gives a computer system more features. Input is anything that goes in and output is anything that goes out. Any device for the computer that the computer can work without is peripheral equipment.

What is meant by computer peripheral with an example? ›

a device that is attached to and controlled by a computer, such as a scanner, printer, or external hard drive.

What are computer peripherals quizlet? ›

Peripheral. A device, usually external to a computer, that is plugged into a computer's communication port or is connected wirelessly. Common peripherals are keyboards, mice, monitors, speakers, and printers.

What is another word for computer peripherals? ›

What is another word for peripherals?
add-onsperipheral devices
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