PC Hardware

Input and Output

Some devices handle both input and output functions. These devices are called input/output (I/O) devices, a term you will encounter quite often.

Device Description
Floppy-disk drive Mechanism to read and write to low-capacity, removable, magnetic disks. Used to store and easily transport information.
Hard-disk drive High-capacity internal (and sometimes external) magnetic disks for storing data and program files. Also called fixed disks.
Modem Converts computer data to information that can be transmitted over telephone wires and cable lines. Allows communication between computers over long and short distances.
Network card An expansion card that allows several computers to connect to each other and share information and programs. Also called network interface card (NIC).
CD recorder Also called CD/R. You can create a CD with this device, but you can only write to a section of the disc once. Variations on this type of device include CD-RW (CD Read/Write) drives. These products allow you to read, write, and overwrite a special CD-ROM-type disc.
Tape drive Large-capacity, magnetic, data-storage devices. Ideal for backup and retrieval of large amounts of data. Works like a tape recorder and saves information in a linear format.

Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • All computer hardware can be classified by primary function (input, processing, or output).

  • Some hardware devices combine multiple functions (input and output).

  • Some hardware devices, such as network and modem cards, expand the communication abilities of a computer.

  • Data-storage capabilities have been increased with the use of CD-ROM and CD/R.