also includes the components inside as well as outside the case of the
(1) Processor (microprocessor).
The processor has two functions
in the computer.
The first function it performs is the actual
mathematical calculations required for a computer to perform the tasks
input to it.
The second function it performs is controlling any
processing that takes place as directed by a program resident in the
The space the computer uses to perform the tasks
input, usually measured in kilobytes or megabytes. In a microcomputer,
memory consists of chips attached to the microprocessor. Memory has the
capability of being increased or decreased by simply removing or adding
Most microcomputers have two types of memory: read only memory (ROM) and
random access memory (RAM).
ROM stores permanent data (i.e., setup
instructions for the computer and current time and date). You do not
lose the data stored in ROM when turning the computer off. You do not
have the capability of changing data in the ROM or adding data to ROM.
RAM allows the processor to change the data that it holds. Therefore,
this is the memory the computer uses to perform its work. However, for
RAM to retain data input, the computer cannot be turned off.
computer loses power or you turn it off, you lose all data in RAM.
(3) Central processing unit (CPU).
This is a general computer
term that describes the processor and any memory used in support of the
(4) Coprocessor. As indicated by its name, the coprocessor helps
the processor perform tasks input to the computer.
The most common
coprocessor you encounter is a math coprocessor.
When the program
requires difficult math calculations, the processor may send it to the
math coprocessor, which allows the processor to continue monitoring and
performing other functions. This is one way of speeding up a computer
that continuously performs complicated math functions (most graphic
programs require many math computations). The coprocessor mounts in a
socket adjacent to the processor.
(5) Peripherals. Peripherals are accessory devices that attach to
the computer for data input and output. Do not confuse peripherals with
optional equipment. Without peripherals, there is no way to input data
to a computer or receive output data from a computer. The following are
some common computer peripherals: