Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Components of a Computer
Computers perform four basic operations — input, process, output, and storage. These
operations comprise the information processing cycle . Collectively, these operations process
data into information and store it for future use.
A computer derives its power from its capability to perform the information processing cycle
with amazing speed, reliability (low failure rate), and accuracy; its capacity to store huge amounts of
data and information; and its capability to communicate with other computers.
For a computer to perform operations, it must be given a detailed set of instructions that tells
it exactly what to do. These instructions are called a program, or software. Before processing for
a specific activity begins, the program corresponding to that activity is stored in the computer.
Once the program is stored, the computer can begin to execute the program’s first instruction.
The computer executes one program instruction after another until the activity is complete.
All computer processing requires data. Data is a collection of unprocessed items, which can
include text, numbers, images, audio, and video. Computers manipulate data to create information.
Information conveys meaning and is useful to people. During the output operation, the informa-
tion that has been created is put into some form, such as a printed report, or it can be stored on the
computer for future use. As shown in Figure 2, a computer processes several data items to produce
a cash register receipt.
People who use the computer directly or use the information it provides are called computer
users , end users , or sometimes, just users . Users and computer manufacturers can reduce the envi-
ronmental impact of computers through green computing. Green computing involves reducing the
electricity consumed and environmental waste generated when using a computer.
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then click Information.
Arrow Deli
10 Park Street
Maple River, DE 20393
(734) 555-2939
• Computes each item’s total price by multiplying
the quantity ordered by the item price
(i.e., 2 * 1.49 = 2.98).
• Organizes data.
• Sums all item total prices to determine order total
due from customer (13.12).
• Calculates change due to customer by subtracting
the order total from amount received
(20.00 - 13.12 = 6.88).
Medium Sodas
Small Turkey Sub
Caesar Salad
Bag of Chips
Total Due
Amount Received
Thank You!
Figure 2 A computer processes data into information. In this simplified example, the item ordered, item
price, quantity ordered, and amount received all represent data. The computer processes the data to produce
the cash register receipt (information).
The Components of a Computer
The six primary components of a computer are input devices, the processor (control unit and
arithmetic/logic unit), memory, output devices, storage devices, and communications devices.
The processor, memory, and storage devices are housed in a box-like case called the system unit
(shown in Figure 1). A peripheral is a device that connects to the system unit and is controlled by
the processor in the computer. Peripherals can include input devices and output devices, as well as
some storage devices and communications devices.
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