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Connecting to Peripherals

PC Peripherals refer to devices that are connected to a personal or business computer to perform either critical or optional functionality. The most common types of peripherals are described below.

KEYBOARDS: This familiar device is based on a typewriter. It converts presses on rows of buttons to text input on the computer. Most connect to the computer via PS/2 or USB ports, but they can also be connected via Bluetooth or proprietary Macintosh buses. High-end models are available from companies such as Razer, Logitech, and Microsoft and may feature optional functionality such as wireless connectivity, mechanical key switches, macro buttons, multimedia keys and illumination. Other keyboards are arranged in an ergonomic fashion, where the keyboard is split down the middle at approximately a 35-degree angle to provide a more natural location for one's hands.

MICE: These are pointing devices that are intended to rest just under the user's palm and fingers. They have one or more buttons to interact with items on the screen. Macintosh computers usually have one mouse button and scroll functionality. PC mice usually have two mouse buttons, a scroll wheel and a button underneath the wheel. High-end gaming mice are sold by Razer, and various wireless models are available from Logitech and Microsoft.

GAMEPADS AND CONTROLLERS: These are devices meant to be held in both hands and used for controlling games. They are compatible with 2D and 3D games, as well as many emulators, which are used to run games backed up from classic consoles and computers. These devices typically have an array of buttons, one or more directional pads, and one or more analog sticks that are used for more precise movement. "Shoulder buttons" are often placed at a 90-degree angle to the others on the back of the unit. Many gamepads imitate the design of the original Playstation "Dual Shock" controller, with six face buttons, one directional pad, two analog sticks, and four shoulder buttons. These devices can be wired or wireless. Joysticks are also available, and are primarily geared toward flight simulation games.

TABLETS: These pointing devices work much like a pad and paper. Instead of a pencil, an electronic device records movements and sends them to the computer. Most modern tablets use a wireless pen whose presence and proximity to the tablet is detected using electromagnetism. These devices are well suited to computer drafting, CAD, 3D modeling, and 2D graphics. Some users prefer to use them rather than mice for interacting with objects on their screen.

HEADSETS AND SPEAKERS: These devices provide audio to the computer or output it to the user. Headsets sit on the user's head and usually include a microphone. They are best suited to Skype and other VOIP conferencing applications, as well as in-game chat. Speakers are typically placed on the desk and often come with a subwoofer, a device which amplifies lower frequencies for better bass representation. These audio devices can be connected via analog ports, SP/DIF, HDMI or even USB.

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