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System Components

In this tutorial, you should have a good understanding of the major components of the personal computer, from the motherboard to the monitor.

What Is a Computer?

Computers are a major element of our society, and they exist in so many places that we tend to forget that they are there. In simple terms, all computers are made up of four basic functions:

  • Data Input
  • Data Output
  • Processing
  • Storage

Although the packaging of these functions takes very different shapes, from Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) to routers, laptops, and tower computers, they all share these functions at the most basic layer. The A+ Certification focuses on the common arrangement of devices performing these four functions, which is typically called the personal computer and not the more obscure arrangement of devices, such as the automobile engine idle controller. The rest of this tutorial guides you through the major components in the "personal computer."