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Introduction to Peripherals and Connections


A peripheral is anything that's plugged into the computer box; it can't function on its own without the computer. 

I/O (Input/Output)

anything going into a computer, for example:
   the letter that you type, or 
   a scanned photograph

Anything sent out of the computer, for example:
  the copy of your letter that's sent to a printer, or
  sounds sent from a game program to your speakers

Computers typically have a number of plugs in the back of the computer for plugging in "peripheral" devices.

Parallel, Serial, USB

These are the major types of connections between a computer and a peripheral.


The slowest.
Transmits information one bit at a time.
Parallel Parallel:
8 times faster.
Transmits information 8 bits at a time (see how much wider it is).

USB (Universal Serial Bus):
Much, much faster.
Can be plugged in / unplugged without having to turn off the computer first.

To learn more about USB, compared to the others:


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