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What does a typical computer system consist of?

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Quick Answer

A typical computer system consists of both hardware and software. The hardware is composed of the electronic and mechanical devices, while software refers to the data and instructions that allow the computer to perform specific functions.

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Full Answer

A complete computer system includes a computer system unit, software and peripheral devices such as a central storage system, keyboard, mouse, monitor, printers, scanners and routers. A computer system unit refers to the enclosure for all the internal components of a computer. It is also called a computer tower or computer case, and it protects delicate hardware parts from the external environment.

The combination of hardware and software enables a computer to receive inputs, process them and produce specific outputs. Hardware components are the physical objects that comprise a computer, and include the hard drive disk, graphic cards, motherboards and chips. Software includes programs that allow users to do word and data processing.

Modern computers receive data from several components. A modem enables the computer to access information from the Internet, while the keyboard and mouse submit instructions. Data can also be obtained from peripherals, such as CD and DVD drives and USB memory sticks. The computer's central processing unit processes input data and converts it into appropriate code.

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