Building Computer Vocabulary and Familiarity

CPU, Tower, Computer

  •  CPU - Otherwise known as the "processor," the CPU is the brains of the computer. The more powerful the processor, the better your computer is able to handle complex tasks.
  • Tower - The tower refers to the case or box that houses all the computer parts such as CPU, motherboard, video card, etc.
  • Computer - A computer is an electronic device used for storing and processing data according to instructions given to it. Computers come in many forms, from the tower that sits on or under your desk, to your smartphone in your pocket, which is also a powerful computer.



Inputs are devices that are used to input information into the computer. They allow the user to communicate and perform actions. The most common inputs are keyboards and mice, but other inputs such as webcams are also available.

Keyboard - A keyboard is an input device that contains a panel of keys that allows you to type and enter data into a computer

Mouse - A computer mouse is a hand-held input device used to control a cursor on your computer screen.



Monitor - A monitor is an output device that displays the information from your computer. Often referred to as the "computer screen."



Hard Drive - A hard drive is a high capacity storage device inside a computer that contains a read/write mechanism and one or more platters or disks inside a sealed unit.

CD Drive  - A CD Drive is a media device that uses a laser to read information on a CD. CDs can contain programs, music or even files.

USB - Often referred to as a "thumb drive" or "jump drive," a USB drive is a removable storage device that plugs into a computer's USB port.


Memory - Computer hard disk drives are slow, so computers use RAM or Random Access Memory to temporarily store programs so that they can be accessed faster, thereby allowing you to run programs without having to wait a long time. The more memory or RAM that a computer has, the more programs it can store and run at the same time without slowing the computer down.

Disk Space -
Disk space is the amount of space on your hard drive that you have available to store files and programs. Disk space is typically measured in megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes.

Units (MB, GB, TB)

 MB or Megabyte stands for roughly one million bytes.

 GB or Gigabyte stands for roughly one billion bytes.

 TB or Terabyte stands for apporiximately one trillion bytes. Hard drives today have a disk space of multiple Terabytes.

Class Assignment

Pick one of the vocabulary words that was new to you that you'd like to remember. Type the word and what it means in your own words in a message to your instructor.