Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

1) In general, a device is a machine designed for a purpose. In a general context, a computer can be considered a device.

2) In the context of computer technology, a device is a unit of hardware , outside or inside the case or housing for the essential computer (processor, memory, and data paths) that is capable of providing input to the essential computer or of receiving output or of both. When the term is used generally (as in computer devices ), it can include keyboards, mouses, display monitors, hard disk drives, CD-ROM players, printers, audio speakers and microphones, and other hardware units. Some devices such as a hard disk drive or a CD-ROM drive, while physically inside the computer housing, are considered devices because they are separately installable and replaceable. With notebook and smaller computers, devices tend to be more physically integrated with the "non-device" part of the computer.

The units of a computer to which the term device is not applied include the motherboard , the main processor and additional processors such as numeric coprocessors, and random access memory ( RAM ).

The term peripheral (a truncation of peripheral device ) is sometimes used as a synonym for device or any input/output unit.

This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • six degrees of separation

    - Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. (WhatIs.com)

  • search operator

    - A search operator (sometimes referred to as a search parameter) is a character or string of characters used in a search engine query to narrow the focus of the search. Search operators are usually ... (WhatIs.com)

  • cryptography

    - Cryptography is a method of storing and transmitting data in a particular form so that only those for whom it is intended can read and process it. The term is most often associated with scrambling ... (SearchSoftwareQuality.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.