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:
Estimated lesson time: 5 minutes
- Identify additional support hardware for a computer.
- Understand the functions of some of the add-on hardware.
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.
|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.
The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson: