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What is a Peripheral Device?

A peripheral or computer peripheral is a device that connects to a computer but does not form part of the core computer architecture, e.g. the central processing unit, power supply or motherboard. The purpose is to enhance the functionality for the user. Technically speaking, computers require peripheral devices in order to be used; devices such as a mouse, keyboard or monitor all fall within this category. However, unlike computers, a peripheral device cannot operate alone, and must be attached to a computer in order to function.

Types of Peripheral Devices

There are two main types of peripheral device: input and output devices. Input devices interact with or send data from the user to the computer (mice, keyboards, etc.). Output devices provide output to the user from the computer (monitors, printers, etc.). A third category, input/output or IO devices, exists for peripherals that perform both functions. These categories are discussed in more depth below.

Input vs. Output

Before further considering the types of peripheral devices, it’s useful to draw a clear distinction between input and output peripherals to illustrate how they operate together. An input device sends information to a computer system, however it cannot receive information; by contrast an output device reproduces or displays the results of that information, but it cannot be used to send information.

Input Devices

An input device is defined as any hardware that interacts with or sends data to a computer. Almost every computer includes a keyboard and a mouse or touchpad; these are essential hardware items and are considered core input devices. That said, there are many types of input devices depending on what the computer is used for. For example, games controllers are widely used in favour of a computer mouse, as are graphics pens or styluses. Beyond this, webcams and scanners all perform the essential function of transferring data or commands to your computer.

Below is a list of common input devices that can be utilized with a computer or a computing device:

  • Mouse
  • Touchpad
  • Pen/stylus
  • Keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Game controller
  • Webcam
  • Remote
  • Scanner

Output Devices

An output device is any peripheral that receives data from a computer and reproduces it in visual, auditory, or even physical form. For example, a monitor is able to display information contained on your computer, while a printer is able to create a hard copy of this. Monitors and printers are the most frequently used output peripheral devices. Other output devices include:

  • Monitor
  • Projector
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Video card
  • Printer

Input/Output Devices

There is a third category called input/output or IO devices. These are peripheral devices that are able to both send and receive data from a computer. A good example of this is a portable storage device which is able to transfer data both to and from a system. Optical drives can also be used to read data (input), and write data (output). For more examples of IO devices, see the list below:

  • External hard drives
  • External optical drives
  • Media card readers
  • Digital camcorders
  • Digital mixers
  • MIDI equipment
  • Modems
  • Touch screens
  • Memory cards
  • USB flash drives

Peripheral Devices at Overclockers UK

At Overclockers UK we offer a full range of peripheral devices. Choose from a wide selection of keyboards, mice, and game controllers to help you compete; or communicate with people anywhere in the world thanks to our top-of-the-line range of headphones, microphones, and headsets. We also make it possible to improve your WiFi with the latest in router technology, create a network in your home easily using powerline networking, while our NAS systems connect to all PCs on the network and provide a multi-purpose shared storage solution for data of all kinds. So, build the system of your dreams and discover the complete Overclockers UK range today!

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