Blue Mountains Plaza

Silicon Gorge

Computer Hardware

Input Devices | Processing | Output Devices
Storage and Memory | Communications & Networking | General

A computer is defined as a device which takes an Input, then Processes it to produce an Output. Thus we have Input - Process - Output.

To carry out the processing, the computer also needs Memory. This can be likened to your mind, and the scrap paper which you use for calculations, lists, diagrams etc.

Since memory is temporary, Storage is also required. Storage may be likened to the books which you use for reference, and the notebooks in which you record your work.

Input Devices

Input devices include the Keyboard, pointing devices such as a Mouse or Trackball, Scanner, Microphone. They also include combined input and output devices such as Modems and Network Interface Cards (NICs).

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Logitech Pointing Devices

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This heading covers the Central Processing Unit (CPU), and special-purpose processors such as the sound card and graphics card.

Also Technology Motherboards etc
AMD Alternative to Intel
Creative Labs Sound Blaster sound cards
Cyrix Alternative to Intel
Diamond Multimedia Graphics cards etc, including Stealth.
Dytec - Micron   
Hercules Fast graphics cards
Matrox Graphics cards, including Mystique & Millenium.
Number 9 Visual Tech. Fast graphics cards
Ocean Office Automation Octek systems. Regular in A.P.C. Top 10 Value for Money.
QDI Motherboards etc.
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Output devices include monitors ("the TV thing"), printers and plotters, loudspeakers.

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Storage and Memory

  • RAM - Random Access Memory. Volatile, meaning that it only remembers whilst it is supplied with electricity. Losing power for a fraction of a second will result in total loss of all data held in memory.
  • DRAM - Dynamic RAM. Most common form of RAM. Around 10x faster than a hard disk.
  • EDO RAM - Replacing DRAM due to its faster operation.
  • WRAM - Used in place of DRAM in fast graphics cards.
  • ROM - Read-Only Memory. Data is "burned in" at the factory. Non-volatile or Permanent.
  • CD-ROM - Read-only memory in the form of a compact disc.
  • WORM - Write Once Read Many. For example, a recordable CD-ROM disc.
  • Disk and Tape Drives
  • HDD - Hard Disk Drive. Long term, high capacity storage and memory. Around 10x slower than DRAM. Also called a fixed disk.
  • FDD - Floppy Disk Drive. Long term, low capacity storage and memory. Slow access. The disks are also called removable disks.
  • Tape Drives: Used for making backup copies. Very slow, but good for their purpose.
  • Other Disks - Fast, high capacity removable disks of various kinds have appeared in the last few years. These are sold under various proprietary names.

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    Quantum Hard disks
    Seagate Hard disks

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    Communications and Networking

    Communications and networking devices include Modems, Network Interface Cards (NICs), Routers, and the like. They are not included in the diagram at the top of the page. These devices provide both input and output, and a means of transferring data between two or more computers.

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    Banksia  Modems
    Black Box Communications equipment
    Maestro Modems
    Netcomm Modems

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    Some companies manufacture or distribute a variety of products, and do not fit into any specific category.

    Energy Star Sustainable Energy Development Authority
    Alfa Computers Pty Ltd  
    APC American Power Conversion. U.P.S.'s
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    If you find this page difficult to understand, please E-Mail me with constructive suggestions. I aim to produce a page suitable for novices and experienced users alike.

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    Please send comments, bug reports, suggestions, etc, to

    Conceived and created by David Martin
    Copyright 1997 David JW Martin except where other copyright applies. All rights reserved.
    Company, brand and product names are the property of their respective owners.
    Revised: June 26, 2003.