Computers Input/Output Ports

CPU and the main memory are having speed faster compared to the electromechanical input or output devices like printers, mouse etc. In such a case it is essential that the data lines of the computer should not kept engaged for a long time during communication with input/output (I/O) devices. Otherwise as an effect, the overall speed of the computer system comes down drastically. So I/O devices are connected to a computer through I/O ports.

For example, to get a document printed by the printer, phase wise printer will get required information from the CPU to carry out the printing process. After transferring a block of information to the printer, the CPU will keep itself busy for other important work. And thus CPU performance will get least affected. After fining the printing against the transferred block of information, the printer will ask for further block (if any) to get printed.

A port is a physical docking point using which an external device can be connected to the computer. It can also be programmatic docking point through which information flows from a program to the computer or over the Internet.

Characteristics of Ports

A port has the following characteristics −

  • External devices are connected to a computer using cables and ports.

  • Ports are slots on the motherboard into which a cable of external device is plugged in.

  • Examples of external devices attached via ports are the mouse, keyboard, monitor, microphone, speakers, etc.

Let us now discuss a few important types of ports

Serial Port

  • Used for external modems and older computer mouse

  • Two versions − 9 pin, 25 pin model

  • Data travels at 115 kilobits per second

Parallel Port

  • Used for scanners and printers

  • Also called printer port

  • 25 pin model

  • IEEE 1284-compliant Centronics port

PS/2 Port

  • Used for old computer keyboard and mouse

  • Also called mouse port

  • Most of the old computers provide two PS/2 port, each for the mouse and keyboard

  • IEEE 1284-compliant Centronics port

Universal Serial Bus (or USB) Port

  • It can connect all kinds of external USB devices such as external hard disk, printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, etc.

  • It was introduced in 1997.

  • Most of the computers provide two USB ports as minimum.
  • Data travels at 12 megabits per seconds.

  • USB compliant devices can get power from a USB port.

VGA Port

  • Connects monitor to a computer's video card.

  • It has 15 holes.

  • Similar to the serial port connector. However, serial port connector has pins, VGA port has holes.

Power Connector

  • Three-pronged plug.

  • Connects to the computer's power cable that plugs into a power bar or wall socket.

Firewire Port

  • Transfers large amount of data at very fast speed.

  • Connects camcorders and video equipment to the computer.

  • Data travels at 400 to 800 megabits per seconds.

  • Invented by Apple.

  • It has three variants − 4-Pin FireWire 400 connector, 6-Pin FireWire 400 connector, and 9-Pin FireWire 800 connector.

Modem Port

  • Connects a PC's modem to the telephone network.

Ethernet Port

  • Connects to a network and high speed Internet.

  • Connects the network cable to a computer.

  • This port resides on an Ethernet Card.

  • Data travels at 10 megabits to 1000 megabits per seconds depending upon the network bandwidth.

Game Port

  • Connect a joystick to a PC

  • Now replaced by USB

Digital Video Interface, DVI port

  • Connects Flat panel LCD monitor to the computer's high-end video graphic cards.

  • Very popular among video card manufacturers.


  • Sockets connect the microphone and speakers to the sound card of the computer.

Updated on: 27-Jun-2020


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