Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Systems & Hardware » Computer Peripherals

The focus of this category is on computer peripherals, which are, essentially, anything that connects to the computer.

This may include output devices such as monitors, printers, headphones, or speakers, or input devices like scanners, game devices, webcams, keyboards, trackpads, and mice.

Keyboards, trackpads, and mice are also considered hardware components because they are essential to the operation of most computers, and they are built in to laptops, notebooks, and netbooks. Of course, monitors are built into laptops, notebooks, netbooks, and several models of desktop computers, such as the Apple iMac and several PCs, as was the case in many early computer models.

Computer peripherals also include external hard drives, USB drives, flash drives, DVD players, and other devices that connect to the computer but are not built into it.

For the most part, if it is built into the computer then it's a hardware component, while devices that attach to the computer are peripheral components. These components connect to the computer using a variety of connectors and cables, which might include a printer connected via USB or a monitor or projector connected to the computer through HDMI. Let's look at some of them.

Printers, of course, are peripheral devices used to produce a representation of graphics or text, usually on paper. The types of modern printers include toner-based (laser) printers, liquid inkjet printers, solid ink printers, dye-sublimation printers, and thermal printers. Inkjet printers are the type most commonly used by consumers.

Although impact printers are still available, they are not as often used today. These printers rely on a forcible impact to transfer ink to the paper, and include various typewriter-derived printers, teletypewriter-based printers, daisy wheel printers, and dot-matrix printers. In the 1970s and 1980s, dot-matric printers were the most common type of consumer printer available, and some people would be surprised to know that they are still produced today, although they enjoy a minuscule segment of the market.

Other types of printers target special-purpose printing technologies.

A computer mouse is a handheld device that is used to manipulate objects on a computer screen. Some use a laser, while others use a ball, and they may be wired or wireless. Although a mouse is a peripheral device that resides outside of the computer housing, it is often considered a hardware component because it is essential for most computer operations, with the exception of those that use touchscreens.

A trackpad, or touchpad, is an input device that takes the place of a mouse and is built into laptop and notebook computers. A trackpad can also be an option in desktop computers. For example, because I use both a MacBook Pro and an iMac, I have opted to use an external trackpad with my iMac rather than a mouse, because that is what is built into the MacBook Pro.

A computer keyboard is a primary input device. Modeled on the electric typewriter, a keyboard includes buttons that create letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as performing various computer functions. Most keyboards use the familiar QWERTY layout, but other options are available. Keyboards are built into laptops and notebook computers, and were commonly built into many early models of desktops.

While a computer can operate without a monitor, a user wouldn't be able to see what he was doing without a monitor, so a monitor is necessary for all but automated processes. A monitor displays the video and graphics information generated by the computer connected to it through the computer's video card. Monitors are similar to televisions but they generally display information at a higher resolution.

Early monitors were CRT monitors, which are deep in size and look much like old-fashioned TV sets. Most modern monitors are LCD, which are thinner, use less energy, and provide better graphics quality. The OLED monitor is an improvement on the LCD, requiring more power but providing better color. As they are much more expensive, they are not often used in the consumer market.

Monitors are built into laptop computers and into some desktop models, while most desktop models require a monitor, which is often sold separately. Additionally, many users opt to connect a second or even a third monitor to their computer. Most monitors are output devices because they serve only for outputting information to the screen, but some monitors are touch screens as well, which would make them input/output devices. Many monitors have integrated accessories, such as a microphone, camera, speakers, and a USB hub.

There are several other peripheral devices, such as game devices and other speciality devices, any of which are appropriate for this category. Retail sites should be submitted to the appropriate Shopping & eCommerce category, however.



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