One of the basic components of a personal computer is the monitor. All the programs that a computer runs are displayed on the monitor. There are two main types of monitors: cathode ray tube, or CRT, monitors look like traditional television sets and are the least expensive. Liquid crystal display, or LCD, monitors are extremely thin, and thus weigh less and take up much less space, and offer even better resolution, but are generally much more expensive.
|Computer Video Cameras
Many new computers are now fast enough to handle digital video cameras, which are video cameras built specifically for computers. There are several different companies that make these cameras, and prices vary from about $20 to several hundred, depending on the quality of the image and included features and software.
|Digital Cameras and Your Computer
Digital cameras are a popular alternative to traditional film cameras, but there are several things you should consider before buying a digital camera. First, while digital cameras eliminate the need to buy traditional film and have it developed, digital cameras are usually more expensive than traditional cameras, require a little more technical know-how to operate, and usually necessitate having a computer to view and print the images.
|Flight Controls and Joysticks
If you're a hard-core computer gamer, picking the right controller can mean the difference between ruling the skies and crashing and burning in your favorite flight simulator. Some gamers prefer simple joysticks that have a built-in throttle, a couple of buttons, and precise handling. These low-end devices can cost less than $30 .
A computer scanner is a device that allows you to take a digital photo of a photograph or text and view it on your computer. Scanners are often used to capture images for use on a Web site, for example. The quality of a digital scanner is primarily measured in the number of colors it can recognize and the resolution it can display.
|Speakers and Sound Cards
The most important standard for evaluating a computer sound card and speakers is to try before you buy. Ultimately, what sounds best you, and what you can afford, should determine what components you purchase. That said, there are a few technical specifications that you should look for when buying a sound system for your computer.
|The Mouse and The Keyboard
The mouse and the keyboard are the two basic input devices for computers. The mouse is generally used to navigate through graphical menus, operating systems, and the World Wide Web, while the keyboard is used to enter text commands or work within certain software applications, such as a word processor or spreadsheet.
|Using a Fax/Modem
Fax modems perform the same basic function as fax machines, but through your computer and modem rather than through a stand-alone fax machine. However, a fax modem sends electronic messages only, not paper documents, so whatever you're sending has to be stored electronically before faxing.
|What Can a Video Card Do?
All computers have video cards. Without one, your computer wouldn't be able to display on the screen any of the information you put in or that the computer puts out. More sophisticated video cards allow your computer to display complex, three-dimensional graphics, but some also allow you to receive and display television signals on a computer monitor.