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Output Devices
by John Anthony


Output devices are used to provide usable output for us, as well as status about the operation of the PC.

The video display, printer and speaker are examples of output devices.

Video Display
The video display often called the monitor uses data that the CPU puts into a section of memory called video memory. This data is continuously updated and sent to the display at the right rate and in the right order, so that the screen displays images we can see and understand.

Printer
Most of you have probably used a printer. The PC sends data that you select such as a file or picture to the printer, usually through a USB port on the PC.

Speakers
Most PCs come standard with external speakers that plug into the sound card. These speakers play back any audio source that your PC can send to them such as music, voice and status information (beeps), such as those made during start up.

Input/Output (I/O)
There are some ports on the PC that are used to move data out of as well as back into the PC. They are called I/O ports.
  • Universal Serial Bus - The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a very high speed serial I/O port that first appeared in 1999. From that time forward it became more and more popular enjoying wide spread use across the PC world. It has effectively made obsolete the serial and parallel ports that came before it. All modern printers and other external devices are equipped with USB ports. The USB port on a PC can connect directly to any device with a USB port. It can also connect to a USB Controller which in turn can connect to many devices that have USB ports.


    The serial port and parallel ports described below are no longer in use. They are left here for information purposes only.

  • Serial Port - The serial port is an I/O port. It connects to external devices that need to communicate with the PC. Scanners and digital cameras are examples of devices that can connect to the serial port. It is called the serial port because only one bit of information passes across it during each transfer.

  • Parallel Port - The parallel port is also an I/O port that is almost always used for output. More often than not a printer connected to it. It's called a parallel port because it moves a byte (8 bits) of data in parallel during each data transfer.

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