Monday, June 6, 2011

Desktop Computers

Desktop computers - also called 'desktops' or simply 'computers' - are machines which are intended to be used at a single location (unlike laptops which are designed to be portable). Before the widespread adoption of consumer computers, a computer used to be incredibly large hence the invention of a computer which could fit on top of a desk was seen as a remarkable achievement. Desktops used to cost thousands of dollars to purchase, although due to technological improvements you can now purchase a desktop computer for as little as a few hundred dollars.
They tend to be made up of four main components which are as follows:
  • Case: the case is mainly metal and plastic and it houses all the hardware (electrical components which make a computer function) inside of it. The below components - and other peripherals - plug into the case.
  • Monitor: the monitor displays an interface which allows the user to easily interact with the computer. It's worth noting that the monitor simply displays what the hardware (inside the case) generates (i.e. the monitor doesn't process nor generate the images, it merely displays them)
  • Mouse: the mouse allows the user to control the little on-screen cursor and thus select things which are displayed by the monitor.
  • Keyboard: the keyboard enables the user to type in characters (letters, numbers and special characters such as @#{ etc) into the computer.
These four components are shown in the following diagram:
A computer with a case, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Image from, used with permission.
These are the four main components and peripherals that a desktop might have. Other peripherals include speakers (which output audio), a printer (which allows the user to print out documents and photos), a scanner (used to scan documents and photos into the computer), a webcam (used to record images of the user or their environment directly to the computer) and more.
Naturally there are many different uses for a desktop. General use tends to include word processing (typing letters and documents) and surfing the internet. However gaming (playing games designed for the PC) is also a popular use of computers. Due to the fact that games tend to require a lot of computing power, you can get gaming desktop computers which are desktops but simply with more powerful components. This usually means that such gaming computers are quicker and more efficient, but also more expensive.
As can be seen in the following list, this category has a number of topics relating to desktops such as articles about best gaming desktop computers, tips about where you can get cheap desktop computer deals, and articles helping you to diagnose and fix any PC problems you might be having.

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