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Peripheral device

(also peripheral, computer peripheral, input/output device)

Peripheral device definition

A peripheral device is hardware attached to a computer system that provides the system with extra functions but does not contribute to its primary function. Peripheral devices are controlled by the computer system they’re attached to, but they’re not considered its core components. Peripheral devices can be classified as input, output, or input/output devices based on their purpose.

Real peripheral device examples

  • Computer mice are probably the most recognizable peripheral devices in popular culture. The mouse is an input device that sends instructions to the computer system based on the user’s hand movements.
  • Keyboards are input peripheral devices that send specific signals to the computer system based on which keys the user presses. The system translates these presses into specific actions, such as recording an ASCII character or performing a function in a video game.
  • Monitors are output peripheral devices that display visual information from the computer system to the user.
  • Solid state drives are input/output peripheral devices that can send data to and receive it from a computer system. They help expand the computer system’s memory and transfer files between systems.