Computer is no longer something new and magical to many people
nowadays, because many families now have at least one computer in their
homes. It is without doubt that there are thousands and millions of
computer users in the country, but is it ever possible for all of them to
explain how a computer works? No. Alright, can they even classify the
components of a computer appropriately? Not quite. They may know how to
describe the physical appearance of a computer and they will probably
include two or three other terms as well, such as monitor, keyboard or a
mouse. Nonetheless, classification of a computer should not be done this
way. In fact, a computer can be broken down into three distinct categories,
namely output, input and CPU.
The term 'output' consists of all components that display words and
graphics so that a person can see them. Many people can easily understand
why the monitor is a form of output device since it is the screen that
tells them what the computer is actually doing. Simply put, without a
monitor, the computer itself is basically useless. Another form of output,
which is rarely noticed by many computer users however, is the printer.
Many people have probably used a printer before, but it is just that they
never realize it is also a form of output.
As opposed to 'output', 'input' consists of components that take in
information from the users themselves so that the computer will know the
tasks it is supposed to perform and accomplish. The keyboard is classified
as a form of input because this is where the users enter commands and text.
There are many other forms of input as well. Nonetheless, many people just
don't realize them, or are too lazy to classify them. For instance, the
mouse belongs to input, since it provides a floating pointer on the screen
so that the users can access commands faster and easier. The scanner is
another form of input, because it acts like a photocopier, except it scans
the image and makes it onto the computer screen instead of onto a piece of
The CPU, Central Processing Unit is probably the most important
category of the three. As the name implies, it is the soul of a computer,
very much alike the human brain. For unknown reasons though, people
often call the CPU a computer. This is absolutely incorrect. The word
computer is merely a general term which must always include all the three
categories in order to operate. Perhaps the constituents of a CPU itself
should be mentioned. Simply stated, this central unit must have memory
blocks to store data temporarily; disk drives to store data permanently;
and last but not least, the main processor chip which performs all the jobs
and mathematical calculations, as well as determines the speed of a CPU.
These are the three categories that the readers must know should they
need to classify a computer again in the future. Also, it can be seen that
a computer is not as simple as many people think it is, for it consists of
many internal components which are often neglected and ignored. It should
also be emphasized that the components listed in this essay are not the
only ones available, since developers and manufacturers will continue to
bombard the market with newer and more sophisticated gadgets everyday.