Computer systems are made up of a number of different hardware components means computer parts such as a central processor (CPU), memory (RAM), storage space (HDD) and so on. This is called internal hardware and usually plugs into a main board called a motherboard. Devices that sit outside the case are called peripherals and can include printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cameras and so on. There is also removable storage such as memory cards, USB sticks and external hard drives that are designed to be portable.
Lets start by taking a look at internal hardware. there is lots of wire of computer parts like USB, Ethernet, Fire Wire, Thunderbolt, eSATA, DVI, HDMI, VGA, Component Video, Composite Video, 1/8” (3.5mm) Phono Jack, 1/4” (6.35mm) Phono Jack, 3 Pin XLR, RCA Audio, S/PDIF Optical Audio.
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is a universal connection used to connect all different types of peripherals to your computer as easy as possible using the same connection type. USB 3.0, shown below left, was released on 12 November 2008, with a data rate of around 4 Gbps and is much faster than USB 2.0. USB 2.0, shown below right, was released in April 2000, with a maximum data rate of 480 Mbps.
USB 3.0 ports are color coded in blue, while USB 2.0 ports are color coded in black. The smaller USB pictured below left is called micro USB and the one next to it is called mini USB.
Also known as RJ45, Ethernet is used to connect a computer or laptop to a network and to the internet.
Also known as IEEE 1394 or iLink, this port was widely used in digital camcorders and most of them that recorded onto tape included a firewire interface . There were two versions; Firewire 400 (on the left) and Firewire 800 (on the right).
FireWire 400 transfers data at about 400Mbps, Firewire 800 transfers data at about 800Mbps
Thunderbolt ports are used for peripherals that require extremely fast data transfers and have been known to support speeds of up to 10Gbps.
This port is also used on Apple Mac computers as a mini display port for connecting to monitors and projectors.
eSATA cables connect to some types of high speed external portable hard drives. The eSATA cable cannot transmit power, unless you use eSATAp (powered eSATA).
Digital Video Interface is a video display interface used to connect a video source (Example :- your computer) to a display device, such as an HD ready TV, computer monitor or projector.
DVI can get a bit confusing, as there are a number of different connectors. Here is a summary
High Definition Media Interface, is a combined audio/video interface for carrying video and audio data from a High Definition device such as a games console or computer to a high end computer monitor, video projector, or High Definition digital television. Pictured below is Standard HDMI & Micro HDMI.
Video Graphics Array is a 15-pin connector found on many computers and laptops and is used to connect to projectors, computer monitors and LCD television sets.
Carries a video signal (no audio) that has been split into three component channels. It is often used to connect high end dvd players to televisions.
Carries an analogue standard definition video signal (with no audio) used in old games consoles or analogue video cameras.
1/8” (3.5mm) Phono Jack
The phono jack also known as an audio jack, headphone jack or jack plug, is commonly used to connect speakers or headphones to a computer, laptop, tablet or MP3 player and carries analogue audio signals.
1/4” (6.35mm) Phono Jack
These are generally used on a wide range of professional audio equipment. 6.35 mm (1⁄4 in) plugs are common on audio recorders, musical instruments such as guitars and amps.
3 Pin XLR
The XLR connector is usually found on professional audio, video, and stage lighting equipment. Many audio mixing desks have XLR connectors to connect stage mics.
Some home audio system, televisions and DVD players use RCA cables to connect to audio receivers, amplifiers and speakers.
S/PDIF Optical Audio
Also known as TosLink, these are for high end amplifiers and home cinema systems and make use of fibre optic cables to carry the audio data from a DVD player or computer system.
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