Getting Connected

Devices that connect to the computer and are external to the computer itself are referred to as peripheral devices.

There are a variety of standard connections that are commonly used on computers for plugging in peripheral devices and for networking.


Audio/input/output  Almost all computers have jacks for connecting a microphone or line level signal input.

Is a jack for audio output at line level or for headphones. The connectors are generally 1/8” stereo or RCA jacks.

Ethernet - A high speed port to connect a computer to a network.

Parallel Port - Used on Windows PCs for connecting printers, scanners or disk drives.


SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) pronounced “Scuzzy” - an industry standard interface for connecting devices such as hard drives, scanners and CD-ROM drives.  Is becoming obsolete among newer standard external devices such as an external hard drive for the home computers and printers and is replaced with USB or Firewire.  With the advent of eSATA drives, provision for SCSI on computer motherboards is being discontinued. However, a few companies still market SCSI interfaces for computer motherboards supporting PCIe and PCI-X.

Serial Port- Used for connecting a printer, modem or MIDI interface. The serial port is becoming obsolete and is replaced by USB.


USB (Universal Serial Bus)  A newer generation (now 2.0) high speed connector for peripheral devices. Both PCs and Mac use the USB standard to replace the older SCSI and PCI standards.


Firewire is one of the fastest peripheral standards ever.

Great for use with multimedia peripherals such as digital video cameras, digital audo and other high-speed devices like the latest hard disk drives and printers.

FireWire is integrated into Power Macs, iMacs, eMacs, PowerBooks, iBooks, and the iPod.

FireWire ports operate at up to 400 megabits per second and the latest machines include FireWire ports that operate at up to 800+ megabits per second or more.

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