Personal computer has a microprocessor for processing the data, a keyboard for entering the data, a monitor for displaying the data, and a storage device for storing the data.
To provide these functions, a computer uses its components or devices. Usually, components of a computer are designed to perform only one of these four functions. But, some specialized components or devices are designed to perform two, three or all four functions. For example, a hard disk can perform three functions: input (when files are read), storage (when files are saved), and output (when files are written).
PC performs many functions such as:
Accepting Data – Accepts data input from the user. PC accepts input through various input devices like the keyboard, mouse, or microphone.
Storing Data – Enables to store large amount of data. This helps to recover the data stored earlier. It can store the data permanently on the storage devices such as the hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, or tape drives.
Processing Data – Performs operations on the input data. A set of instructions starts these operations. These instructions are either stored in the memory or built into the microprocessor. Data processing is the process of manipulating the data using a set of instructions and producing the desired output. For example, when we write a program and give some input, PC processes the input according to the program and returns the output. In this case, the program is the set of instructions that the PC uses to process the data, which is the input.
Displaying Data – Shows the processed data to the user. This data can be in the form of binary numbers, characters, or pictures. PC displays the output through various output devices, such as monitors, printers, or speakers. Any device that gives the output from a computer is called the Output device. For example, when we play a CD or DVD, what we see on the monitor or hear from the speakers is the output. The documents that we print after typing and processing are the forms of output from the PC.
The entire process of accepting the data, processing it, and displaying the processed data is called the Input-Process-Output cycle.