Central Parts


  • The main circuit board of the computer to which all components are attached. It contains metal tracks through which electricity flows, electronic devices, and transistors that control the flow of electricity.
  • (The motherboard is like a city, with highways and streets that connect the buildings together.)

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

  • Also called the microprocessor, this is the main computer chip that processes instructions, processes data, and manages the flow of information in the computer. The CPU is the brain of the computer.

Hard Drive

  • A disk drive that holds, reads from, and writes to the hard disk, which is the memory storage space in the computer. It is used to store software and data files.
  • The hard drive is where your files and programs are stored for everyday use.

Storage devices

  • Spaces in the computer case where disk drives are housed. A computer can have several disk drives that are located in the drive bay. Usually, one disk drive is for 3.5” floppy disks. Others are for CD-ROMs or DVD’s. (Storage devices allow you to save your work).

RAM (Random Access Memory)

  • Also called user memory. This is temporary memory that stores information for the length of time a computer is left on or a program is left running. The data you see on your monitor while using your computer is stored here. Once the computer is turned off, any information in this device is lost unless you saved it to another location.

ROM (Read Only Memory)

  • Also called factory memory. This is computer memory on which information has been stored at the time of manufacture (example: instructions needed on start-up).

Peripheral Parts


  • Devices that provide a visual display on a screen.


  • Consist of typewriter like keys that enable users to enter information into a computer


  • Devices that allow a computer to transmit data over telephone lines


  • Devices that print text or illustrations on paper, providing hard copy for users.

Network Types

Stand Alone Environment

  • An environment in which computer systems are not linked to each other through a network. Example, your computer at home.

Networked Environment

  • A system that connects computers to allow the sharing of software, data, and peripheral devices.
  • 2 Types of Networks

Local Area Network (LAN)

  • A computer network that connects computers in a small area. (Example: In this classroom)
  • Users at individual workstations can share data and peripheral devices.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

  • A computer network that connects computers over a large geographical area. (Example: Some school boards have all the computers from each school in an entire city networked together through a WAN)

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