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Computer components


  • Give an example of a:
    • General purpose computer you use
    • Embedded computer system you use

Learning Intentions

  • Understand how a computer features many components that work together

  • Understand the concept of input, process and output

Success Criteria

  • I can identify and describe different components of a computer system
  • I am able to correctly identify and describe certain input, process and output devices
  • I can explain the IPO cycle


  • All computers feature one or more processors.

  • The main processor, also called a Central Processing Unit (CPU), is often considered the brain of the computer because it does all the processing of the instructions.

  • CPUs process billions/trillions of instructions per second.

  • CPUs that are common today are AMD Ryzen processors, Intel Core processors and Apple's A and M series chips.

the memory

  • A computer uses memory to store things whilst it works. 

  • There are two kinds of memory:

    • Random Access (RAM) - deleted when the computer is turned off

    • Read Only (ROM) - difficult to change, used to store data on how the computer starts up

  • Memory is not the same as storage.


  • There are different forms of storage devices and they will be covered in more detail in later lessons.

  • Today there are two major types of computer storage devices in use:

    • Solid state drives (SDD)

    • Hard disk drives (HDD)


  • The GPU or Graphics Processing Unit is a fundamental part of computers today.

  • Since all systems today have graphical user interfaces (that is, ;you can click on things), they require a processor capable of processing graphics.

  • Today, most CPUs feature a built-in GPU and some computers also feature a dedicated (discrete) GPU.

  • GPUs are made by AMD (Radeon), Nvidia (GeForce) and Intel (Arc).

The motherboard

  • The motherboard connects all of the parts of the computer together.

  • You'll find loads of small integrated circuits that carry out specific jobs such as a USB controller, a sound card or even a voltage regulator.

  • On a modern desktop motherboard today, you'll find several PCI Express connectors, a CPU socket, two to four DIMM slots, a 24-pin ATX power connector, an 8-pin CPU power connector, several external ports, internal drive connectors and at least one M.2 key slot.


  • Some computers bundle several features onto the central processor.

  • Features such as the CPU, a USB controller, a GPU and RAM can be packaged into one processor and are known as a System-On-A-Chip (SoC).

  • This is part of why Apple's M processors are so fast - everything is in one place.

IPO cycle

  • Computers require something to happen to allow them to process. They aren’t smart like humans and await an input before they do anything.

  • What they give us back is called the output.

  • What they do to give us the output is process the input – hence Input Process Output or IPO.

IPO cycle

  • The cycle is often represented in a block diagram.

  • Notice the arrow at the bottom going from output back to input. This is because often the output of one process is actually the input to another.


  • There are many methods of input to a computer system. We call devices that provide an input, input devices.

  • Anything that provides the computer with data is an input device.


  • When data is processed, it is passed through a processor like the CPU, GPU or NPU.

  • This processor knows how to handle the data as it reads instructions from the memory.

Output devices

  • An output device gives the user back some data. The data will have been processed. Data could be:

    1. What is displayed on the monitor

    2. A sound from the computer

    3. A vibration on a controller

    4. A page printed using a printer

Which of the following are input devices?

Complete all Activities up to the Components of a computer system page.
Continue with your posters when you are finished


Presentation Overview
Computer components
© 2020 - 2024 J Balfour
17:42 | 23-05-2024
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