Lesson 3: Support Hardware

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Lesson 2 covered the basic hardware that makes up a computer. There are, however, additional components needed to support safe computer operation. In this lesson, we look at several devices that protect and enhance the value of a computer.

After this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify additional support hardware for a computer.
  • Understand the functions of some of the add-on hardware.
Estimated lesson time: 5 minutes

In addition to the devices that support a computer's data-processing functions, there are others that enhance its operation and performance. The following table lists some of these devices.

  Device Description
Power supply Converts a local power source (typically 110 volts AC in the U.S.) to 3.3, 5, or 12 volts DC.
Switch box Allows the user to manually or automatically switch cable connections so that one computer can use several printers or devices with one parallel port.
Surge suppressor Used to prevent large power spikes (for instance, lightning) from damaging a computer.
UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply—Acts as both a surge suppresser (to prevent high-power spikes) and a power leveler to provide the computer with a constant source of power. Can even provide power during a power failure or interruption (although the duration depends on the UPS and the computer's power consumption) so that the user can safely save data before shutting down.
Case The box that houses most of the system must provide an environment that minimizes electrical interference to other electronic devices in the area. It should provide a proper heat level for safe operation and bays and connections for drives, circuit boards, and I/O devices.

Don't let the term "supporting role" lead you to underestimate the importance of these components. How important are roads to commerce, or water to a city? Without a reliable power source, modern PCs would not exist. The internal power supply keeps a clean current running to the system.

Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • Support equipment protects a computer or makes it easier to operate.
  • Support equipment, such as the power supply, is critical to the operation of the computer.

Microsoft Corporation - A+ Certification Training Kit
Microsoft Corporation - A+ Certification Training Kit
Year: 2000
Pages: 127

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