Introduction to computers

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Introduction to computers

Post by WebZ on Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:54 pm

Are you new to computers? Do you wonder what they do and why you would want to use one? Welcome—you're in the right place. This article gives an overview of computers: what they are, the different types, and what you can do with them.
What are computers?

Computers are machines that perform tasks or calculations according to a set of instructions, or programs. The first fully electronic computers, introduced in the 1940s, were huge machines that required teams of people to operate. Compared to those early machines, today's computers are amazing. Not only are they thousands of times faster, they can fit on your desk, in your lap, or even in your pocket.

Computers work through an interaction of hardware and software. Hardware refers to the parts of a computer that you can see and touch, including the case and everything inside it. The most important piece of hardware is a tiny rectangular chip inside your computer called the central processing unit (CPU), or microprocessor. It's the "brain" of your computer—the part that translates instructions and performs calculations. Hardware items such as your monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and other components are often called hardware devices, or devices.

Software refers to the instructions, or programs, that tell the hardware what to do. A word processing program that you can use to write letters on your computer is a type of software. The operating system (OS) is software that manages your computer and the devices connected to it. Two well-known operating systems are Windows and Macintosh operating system. Your computer uses the Windows operating system.

Types of computers

Computers range in size and capability. At one end of the scale are supercomputers, very large computers with thousands of linked microprocessors that perform extremely complex calculations. At the other end are tiny computers embedded in cars, TVs, stereo systems, calculators, and appliances. These computers are built to perform a limited number of tasks.

The personal computer, or PC, is designed to be used by one person at a time. This section describes the various kinds of personal computers: desktops, laptops, handheld computers, and Tablet PCs.
Desktop computers

Desktop computers are designed for use at a desk or table. They are typically larger and more powerful than other types of personal computers. Desktop computers are made up of separate components. The main component, called the system unit, is usually a rectangular case that sits on or underneath a desk. Other components, such as the monitor, mouse, and keyboard, connect to the system unit.


Laptop computers

Laptop computers are lightweight mobile PCs with a thin screen. They are often called notebook computers because of their small size. Laptops can operate on batteries, so you can take them anywhere. Unlike desktops, laptops combine the CPU, screen, and keyboard in a single case. The screen folds down onto the keyboard when not in use.


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Re: Introduction to computers

Post by Dot Com on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:24 pm

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