Learning Resources

Basic Operations of a Computer

The Four Operations of a Computer System
Home computers are microcomputers. Input is supplied to the microcomputer with the use of a keyboard, a mouse, or another input device. These input devices may be called peripheral devices.

Processing is done inside the computer in an area called the central processing unit (CPU). Processing is the conversion of input to output.

Storage refers to holding information somewhere.
RAM, Random Access Memory, is short-term memory. It is volatile memory because the memory is automatically "erased" when the power is turned off or interrupted. The RAM memory is located inside the computer case on the motherboard. A motherboard is not the keyboard. The keyboard is what you type with. A motherboard holds RAM memory, electronic circuits and other computer parts including the central processing unit. ROM, Read-Only-Memory, is not volatile meaning the memory is still there when power is interrupted or turned off. When the computer is turned back on again, ROM memory is still in storage on the internal hard disk.

Output is the result of a computer process. Output may be viewed on a monitor screen, heard through speakers, printed on printers, and so forth. Output devices may be considered hardware and are also considered to be peripheral devices.