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1.6: Additional Hardware

Exam Board:

Eduqas / WJEC


2020 + 

1.6a - Internal Hardware


The motherboard is the main circuit board of a computer, unique for each device. It holds and connects the different components together, allowing data to be transferred between them. 


Components such as the CPU and ROM are directly attached to the motherboard.


The motherboard has expansion slots for additional cards (i.e. sound cards) and ports (i.e. USB).

Motherboard Installation

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

Sound Card

A GPU is a microprocessor that performs complex calculations to generate graphical images to be displayed on a monitor.

There are two types of GPU, integrated GPUs within the motherboard circuitry or dedicated GPUs on an additional card (known as a  'graphics card').

An integrated GPU is cheaper and generates less power because it uses the RAM of the computer. Integrated GPUs are used in tablets and laptops as they generate less heat and are optimal for general computing uses (e.g. web browsing or watching movies).

A dedicated GPU is more expensive and generates more heat, often requiring a fan because it contains its own memory. Dedicated cards are used by animation professionals and professional gamers who require the best graphics.

Graphics Card.png

Sound cards convert analogue sound waves into digital data (binary) when inputting audio through a microphone.​

0010 1011 0101 0101 0110 0111 0101 0001 0101

Sound Card.png

0010 1011 0101 0101 0110 0111 0101 0001 0101

Sound Card.png

Sound cards also convert digital data (binary) into analogue sound waves to output audio through speakers or headphones.

1.6b - Embedded Systems

CPU Diagram (1).png

Example: A washing machine has a control chip that manages the different program cycles.

An embedded system is a computer system built into a larger machine to provide a means of control.

Embedded systems perform a specific pre-programmed task which is stored in ROM.

An embedded system uses a combination of hardware and software.

Example: A traffic light has a control chip that determines when to change to a green or red light.

CPU Diagram (1).png
Washer & Dryer
Bike Traffic Light

1.6c - Input & Output Devices

Input devices are used by humans to interact with a computer system, through methods such as text, voice or touch.

Output devices show the result of computer processing, such as sound, printed text or a visual display on a monitor.

Storage devices, such as a USB stick or an external hard drive, are neither input nor output devices - see 1.4.

Input Devices

These are just some of the more common input devices.


A mouse and a keyboard have been described in further detail.


Are there any devices below you haven't heard of before?




  • Easy to navigate a graphical user interface.

  • A wireless mouse takes up less space.

  • Faster to select options (e.g. in a video game).


  • Difficult to use for people with restricted hand movement.

  • Difficult to use on some surfaces.

Other input devices:

  • Scanner

  • Controller

  • Microphone

  • Webcam

  • Chip Reader

  • OCR Scanner

  • OMR Scanner

  • Barcode Scanner

  • Graphics Tablet

  • Sensors (e.g. light or temperature)

  • Touch Screen

  • Remote Control

  • Biometric Scanner (e.g. fingerprint or iris)

  • Concept Keyboard

  • Sip / Puff Switch

Hands on Keyboard



  • Quick to input text.

  • Easy to use with a familiar layout on most keyboards.

  • Keys can be customised and shortcuts can be used.


  • Takes up a large amount of space on a desk.

  • Difficult for people to use with restricted hand movement or poor eyesight.

Output Devices



These are just some of the more common output devices.

A monitor and a printer have been described in further detail.


Are there any devices below you haven't heard of before?

Other output devices:

  • Plotter

  • Speakers

  • Projector

  • Alarm

  • Light

  • Headphones

  • Touch Screen

  • Braille Terminal

What is it?

  • A monitor is required to see the result of human input and computer processing.

  • Monitors can be bought in different sizes and resolutions for a range of purposes such as video editing or playing games.

  • Monitors settings can be changed to alter the brightness or contrast.


Man Using Computer Printer

What is it?

  • A printer uses ink or toner to print a document (such as text or images) onto paper.

  • Inkjet printers use ink cartridges, are generally slower and print in a lower quality.

  • Laser printers use toner cartridges and are generally quicker and print to a higher quality.

Monochrome on Transparent.png

Questo's Questions

1.6 - Additional Hardware:


1.6a - Internal Hardware

1. What is the purpose of the motherboard? [2]

2a. What is the purpose of the GPU? [2]

2b. Describe two differences between integrated and dedicated expansion cards. [4]

3. Explain how a sound card works. [4]

1.6b - Embedded Systems

1. What is an embedded system? [3]

2a. Give two examples of an embedded system. [2]

2b. Research and describe another example of an embedded system. [2]

1.6c - Input & Out[ut Devices

1. Choose four input devices and describe at least two benefits and two drawbacks of using each one. [8]

2. Describe three output devices. [3]

3. Justify which input and output devices would be most suitable in the following scenarios:

  • a. A teacher needs to take the class register[4]

  • b. A family want to communicate with their cousins in Australia. [4]

  • c. The school movie club wants to play Star Wars in the assembly hall. [4]

  • d. An e-sports player is taking part in an online multiplayer tournament. [4]

  • e. A laboratory needs security so that only registered scientists can enter. [4]

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