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A peripheral or peripheral device is ancillary device used to put information into and get information out of the computer. [1]

Several categories of peripheral devices may be identified, based on their relationship with the computer:

Many modern electronic devices, such as Internet-enabled digital watches, keyboards, and tablet computers, have interfaces for use as computer peripheral devices.

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Motherboard Main printed circuit board (PCB) for a computing device

A motherboard is the main printed circuit board (PCB) in general-purpose computers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems, such as the central processor, the chipset's input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general use.

In computing, booting is the process of starting a computer. It can be initiated by hardware such as a button press, or by a software command. After it is switched on, a computer's central processing unit (CPU) has no software in its main memory, so some process must load software into memory before it can be executed. This may be done by hardware or firmware in the CPU, or by a separate processor in the computer system.


In computing, spooling is a specialized form of multi-programming for the purpose of copying data between different devices. In contemporary systems, it is usually used for mediating between a computer application and a slow peripheral, such as a printer. Spooling allows programs to "hand off" work to be done by the peripheral and then proceed to other tasks, or to not begin until input has been transcribed. A dedicated program, the spooler, maintains an orderly sequence of jobs for the peripheral and feeds it data at its own rate. Conversely, for slow input peripherals, such as a card reader, a spooler can maintain a sequence of computational jobs waiting for data, starting each job when all of the relevant input is available; see batch processing. The spool itself refers to the sequence of jobs, or the storage area where they are held. In many cases the spooler is able to drive devices at their full rated speed with minimal impact on other processing.

Reading is an action performed by computers, to acquire data from a source and place it into their volatile memory for processing. Computers may read information from a variety of sources, such as magnetic storage, the Internet, or audio and video input ports. Reading is one of the core functions of a Turing machine.

In computing and especially in computer hardware, a controller is a chip, an expansion card, or a stand-alone device that interfaces with a more peripheral device. This may be a link between two parts of a computer or a controller on an external device that manages the operation of that device.


The UNIVAC 1050 was a variable word-length decimal and binary computer.

NCR 315 an obsolete second-generation computer

The NCR 315 Data Processing System, released in January 1962 by NCR, is an obsolete second-generation computer. All printed circuit boards use resistor–transistor logic (RTL) to create the various logic elements. It uses 12-bit slab memory structure using magnetic core memory. The instructions can use a memory slab as either two 6-bit alphanumeric characters or as three 4-bit BCD digits. Basic memory is 5000 "slabs" of handmade core memory, which is expandable to a maximum of 40,000 slabs in four refrigerator-size cabinets. The main processor includes three cabinets and a console section that houses the power supply, keyboard, output writer, and a panel with lights that indicate the current status of the program counter, registers, arithmetic accumulator, and system errors. Input/Output is by direct parallel connections to each type of peripheral through a two-cable bundle with 1-inch-thick cables. Some devices like magnetic tape and the CRAM are daisy-chained to allow multiple drives to be connected.

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MERA 300 Series of Polish minicomputers introduced in 1974

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Computer hardware Physical components of a computer

Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, such as the case, central processing unit (CPU), monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer data storage, graphics card, sound card, speakers and motherboard.

Input device

In computing, an input device is a piece of equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, [[digital camera]The]s, joysticks, and microphones.

Punched card input/output computer device

A computer punched card reader or just computer card reader is a computer input device used to read computer programs in either source or executable form and data from punched cards. A computer card punch is a computer output device that punches holes in cards. Sometimes computer punch card readers were combined with computer card punches and, later, other devices to form multifunction machines. It is a input device and also an output device. Most early computers, such as the ENIAC, and the IBM NORC, provided for punched card input/output. Card readers and punches, either connected to computers or in off-line card to/from magnetic tape configurations, were ubiquitous through the mid-1970s.

The Datamatic Division of Honeywell announced the H-800 electronic computer in 1958. The first installation occurred in 1960. A total of 89 were delivered. The H-800 design was part of a family of 48-bit word, three-address instruction format computers that descended from the Datamatic 1000, which was a joint Honeywell and Raytheon project started in 1955. The 1800 and 1800-II were follow-on designs to the H-800.

This glossary of computer hardware terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts related to computer hardware, i.e. the physical and structural components of computers, architectural issues, and peripheral devices.

IBM System/360 Model 20

The IBM System/360 Model 20 is the smallest member of the IBM System/360 family announced in November 1964. The Model 20 supports only a subset of the System/360 instruction set, with binary numbers limited to 16 bits and no floating point. In later years it would have been classified as a 16-bit minicomputer rather than a mainframe, but the term "minicomputer" was not current, and in any case IBM wanted to emphasize the compatibility of the Model 20 rather than its differences from the rest of the System/360 line. It does, however, have the full System/360 decimal instruction set, that allows for addition, subtraction, product, and dividend of up to 31 decimal digits.


Viatron Computer Systems, or simply Viatron was an American computer company headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts, and later Burlington, Massachusetts. Viatron coined the term "microprocessor" although it was not used in the sense in which the word microprocessor is used today.

PDP-8/E 1970 model of the DEC PDP-8 line of minicomputers

The PDP-8/e was a model of the PDP-8 line of minicomputers, designed by the Digital Equipment Corporation to be a general purpose computer that inexpensively met the needs of the average user while also being capable of modular expansion to meet the more specific needs of advanced user. The first was built in 1970 and was among the first ever minicomputers and this one was small enough to fit in the back seat of a Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. It originally sold for $6,500 but after 18 months the price dropped to $4995 to make it the only computer under $5000 available at that time.

DATAmatic 1000

The DATAmatic 1000 is an obsolete computer system from Honeywell introduced in 1957. It uses vacuum tubes and crystal diodes for logic, and featured a unique magnetic tape format for storage.


  1. Laplante, Philip A. (2000). Dictionary of Computer Science, Engineering and Technology. CRC Press. p. 366. ISBN   0-8493-2691-5. Archived from the original on September 3, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2018.