Examples of peripheral devices include the keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, scanner, USB drive, webcam and headphones. Peripheral devices connect to the central processing unit of a computer and provide the it with input, output and storage capabilities.
A keyboard, scanner and webcam provide input to the computer. The keyboard allows for data entry, while the scanner and webcam allow for entry of video or graphical images. The monitor, printer and headphones produce output from the computer. The monitor allows the user to view data, while the printer produces hard copies of data. Headphones output sound, and a USB drive provides both input and storage capabilities.
Peripherals can be attached to the central processing unit either wirelessly or through a wired connection. Some peripherals, such as CD drives, are located inside the computer case or CPU, while other peripherals are external. Many peripherals act as accessories for the computer, since the computer is still able to perform its normal functions without the peripheral. Other peripherals, such as the monitor, are essential for the user to be able to use the computer.
Peripherals can add to the overall expense of a computer system, so the decision to purchase them is often made by users who must determine whether or not they are a necessary expense.