Computer is no longer something new and magical to many people nowadays, because many families now have at least one computer in their homes. It is without doubt that there are thousands and millions of computer users in the country, but is it ever possible for all of them to explain how a computer works? No. Alright, can they even classify the components of a computer appropriately? Not quite. They may know how to describe the physical appearance of a computer and they will probably include two or three other terms as well, such as monitor, keyboard or a mouse. Nonetheless, classification of a computer should not be done this way. In fact, a computer can be broken down into three distinct categories, namely output, input and CPU.
The term 'output' consists of all components that display words and graphics so that a person can see them. Many people can easily understand why the monitor is a form of output device since it is the screen that tells them what the computer is actually doing. Simply put, without a monitor, the computer itself is basically useless. Another form of output, which is rarely noticed by many computer users however, is the printer. Many people have probably used a printer before, but it is just that they never realize it is also a form of output.
As opposed to 'output', 'input' consists of components that take in information from the users themselves so that the computer will know the tasks it is supposed to perform and accomplish. The keyboard is classified as a form of input because this is where the users enter commands and text. There are many other forms of input as well. Nonetheless, many people just don't realize them, or are too lazy to classify them. For instance, the mouse belongs to input, since it provides a floating pointer on the screen so that the users can access commands faster and easier. The scanner is another form of input, because it acts like a photocopier, except it scans the image and makes it onto the computer screen instead of onto a piece of paper.
The CPU, Central Processing Unit is probably the most important category of the three. As the name implies, it is the soul of a computer, very much alike the human brain.
For unknown reasons though, people often call the CPU a computer. This is absolutely incorrect. The word computer is merely a general term which must always include all the three categories in order to operate. Perhaps the constituents of a CPU itself should be mentioned. Simply stated, this central unit must have memory blocks to store data temporarily; disk drives to store data permanently; and last but not least, the main processor chip which performs all the jobs and mathematical calculations, as well as determines the speed of a CPU.
These are the three categories that the readers must know should they need to classify a computer again in the future. Also, it can be seen that a computer is not as simple as many people think it is, for it consists of many internal components which are often neglected and ignored. It should also be emphasized that the components listed in this essay are not the only ones available, since developers and manufacturers will continue to bombard the market with newer and more sophisticated gadgets everyday.