Input And Output Devices: What They Are, Types, And More

In this article we are going to see what an input and output or I/O system of a computer is, as well as the types of existing devices (or peripherals) and much more, so that you do not have any doubts about this very interesting subject of which you did not know many things.

Input And Output system

Input And Output Devices
Input And Output Devices

/O (input and output) is a system designed to send and receive data from computer hardware components, devices, or networks. Input-output (I/O) systems transmit information between the main storage area of ​​a computer and the outside world, that is, they are part of the address space and are treated by the CPU as memory locations.

Each I/O device that communicates with the computer is connected through Input And Output ports, such as a USB port, a Firewire, an eSATA, a jack, etc. This type of communication between the CPU and the device increases the capabilities of a computer, making it possible for an operating system to obtain information from the outside or the user with input devices, as well as display information or interact through user interfaces. , for example with a screen.

The purpose of DMA technology is to share data between main memory and I/O devices without CPU intervention, to avoid overloading and system performance being compromised.

Peripherals of a computer


The basic definition of a computer peripheral is a hardware input or output device that extends the capabilities of your PC. A peripheral is any external device connected to your PC to perform an input or output. For example, a PSU or power supply is not considered a peripheral, since its function is only to supply power, without data transfer.

Currently, some peripheral devices are designed to connect to the computer through wireless connectivity and not through physical ports, which are implied to be wired. Located outside the chassis or computer case, the peripheral devices connected to an external PC use various types of connections or interfaces (USB, 3.5mm Jack, HDMI,…).

Peripheral devices provide an extra feature in addition to data input and output capabilities. For example, a mouse not only sends information but also allows users to interact with the graphical interface of the operating system or programs comfortably and simply. Or a printer, not only receives data from the computer but also allows you to print everything you need on paper.

In short, peripherals are those auxiliary components that are not needed for the computer to work. For example, the CPU, the motherboard, the RAM, or the GPU are necessary for the PC to boot. On the other hand, peripherals such as the mouse or the printer would not be necessary for this, therefore, the latter are considered peripherals.

What is an input device?

Keyboard and Mouse
Keyboard and Mouse

An input device is an auxiliary computing element that allows a computer user to enter data into the system and send instructions to the system to perform the corresponding tasks. An input device is a tool or piece of hardware that allows users to interact with the PC. For example, a keyboard converts the keystrokes of your fingers into electrical impulses that will go to a keyboard controller, a chip that will interpret those keystrokes and send codes so that the system knows what symbol or character it is.

During the input process, the incoming data will be processed by the central unit or CPU. For example, when the A key is pressed to display it in a text editor, the CPU will receive the signal from the keyboard and will send the GPU to process some data so that it can send the image to the PC screen. All of this happens in a matter of milliseconds, almost without our noticing. Of course, all this will be orchestrated by the kernel of the operating system and the controllers or drivers of each peripheral component, which will be in charge of relating at a low level with the input hardware.

Types of input peripherals


As you know, the mouse is just a component that can be connected to your PC via PS/2 interface, USB, or wirelessly, via Bluetooth or RF. It can work differently, with a ball like the old ones, or also optically, with laser or IR as you know. But, be that as it may, its function is to transform your hand movements into cursor movements and your button presses into actions.


The keyboard is similar to the previous one, it is an input device that can enter characters of all kinds (numbers, letters, and symbols), as well as perform other operations with hot keys, etc. It is a comfortable way to enter information that we need on the PC or to control software or video game.

Game controller

Of course, if you are a gamer, surely you have also used a video game controller at some time. Whether it is a conventional controller, a joystick, or a steering wheel with pedals, etc. These types of devices are also considered input since they are used to manage the video game and its menus. However, some could also be considered input and output devices at the same time, since they have feedback that makes the controller vibrate when something happens in the game to convey a more immersive feeling.

Virtual reality controller

In the world of virtual reality, input devices take on a new dimension. VR is an immersive experience, and input devices are designed with this in mind. VR input devices are often head-mounted, strapped to the user’s body, or hand-held. Many VR input devices have sensors that track the user’s movements in the room. Sensors track head movements, hand gestures, and even foot movements for a fully immersive experience. Some VR input devices have touch pads that you can slide your fingers over to interact with the virtual environment. Others have buttons and joysticks that you can press to interact with the VR program.


If you need to scan printed documents, images, or other items, you can use a scanner, either a conventional 2D scanner or a 3D scanner. A scanner is a device that uses optics to digitize. A way to introduce text or images without having to be the one to design them from scratch in software.


Among the input devices, we also find the microphone, in this case, it is a sound input device. With it, you can record voices or sounds of any kind. That is, to transform sound waves through its transducer into electrical signals that will then be processed by a DPS to transform them into digital values ​​to be handled by the CPU (save the audio in a file, modify the audio, add effects,…).

What is an output device?

Output Devices
Output Devices

An output device is any hardware device used to transmit data from the computer to another device or user abroad. An output device is any peripheral device on a host computer that converts data into a form that users can perceive, be it visual (for example, a screen or printer), or in any other format.

When data entered from an input device is processed by the computer’s CPU, the output devices handle the results. That is, the CPU will send to said memory addresses that represent the appropriate devices in the I/O space information that these devices will execute. For example, send a sound to the speaker to be played, or send a document with a 3D design to the 3D printer to create the model.

Monitors represent the data they get from a host computer visually, typically as a graphical user interface (GUI). However, consoles or terminals are still used in text mode, without graphics. This is the case on some servers or computers with Unix-like operating systems, where the console still reigns supreme.

Types of output peripherals


A monitor is a device that receives data from a computer, specifically from the GPU, and transforms it into visible images. It is the most important part of a computer system since it is the device that allows the user to see what he is doing.


A speaker is a device used to produce sound from a computer. There are various types of speakers available on the market and most come with several settings and controls. The speakers can be used for different purposes, such as listening to music, listening to the sound of videos, or for gaming. They can also have other functions, such as notifying the user of an event through sound.


Headphones are devices worn to create a personalized listening environment. They are usually used to listen to music or audiobooks, but also to play games, make phone calls, or have video conferences. There are several types of headphones available on the market, as you may know, although this is something that we are not interested in in this article.


A printer is a computer peripheral used to create hard copies of visual content and text documents. To work, a printer must be connected to a computer directly or through a network. When the equipment sends the information to be printed, a printer processor interprets it and sends movement orders to its heads so that they can recreate said information on paper or the surface on which it is going to be printed.

In the case of a 3D printer, it is done in the same way, only instead of printing in two dimensions, it does so in three dimensions, thus creating 3D models of the design that has been created by the software.

Input and output peripherals

Printer Multifunction HP Deskjet
Printer Multifunction HP Deskjet

Of course, the peripherals that are both input and output could not be missing, since they exist. That is, those that allow both the input of data and the output of them. These are:

All-in-one printer

An all-in-one printer is a computer peripheral that combines the functionality of various devices in a single unit. All-in-one or multifunction printers can act as Fax, printer, scanner, or photocopier, depending on the model. They are output insofar as they allow documents to be printed. And they are input because they include a scanner to scan documents and some include USB ports or SD card readers to enter information.

SD card reader

An SD card reader is a peripheral that allows a computer to read and write data to a Secure Digital (SD) card. That is why it is an input and output peripheral at the same time. Of course, there are readers for other types of memory cards beyond SD, but they would work similarly.

Combo optical drive

A combo optical drive is a computer peripheral designed to be able to read optical media, such as CDs, DVDs, BDs, etc., and also to write them in case they serve as rewriters. Therefore, you can obtain data from it, such as playing a movie, a music disc, or a video game, as well as recording photos, software, or whatever you need on them.

Touch screen

Finally, among the devices that are both input and output, we also have touch screens. These types of screens also act as output devices, like screens are, and they work the same and their purpose is the same as conventional screens. The only thing is that they also have an input part, such as its touch panel in which information can be entered by pressing or making gestures to interact with the operating system or software.

Also, read about PC Setup For 8K Gaming

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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