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Hardware, Software and Peripheral Components Of a Computer System

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Ian Moss

on 14 December 2012

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Transcript of Hardware, Software and Peripheral Components Of a Computer System

Hardware, Software and Peripheral Components Of a Computer System Hardware Motherboard The motherboard is a key part to any computer system and the computer system will not work without it. The motherboard hold all the major components of a computer such as the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and the memory of the computer, it also contains spaces for other peripherals to be connected to it this could be anything from video to network cards. Ports Ports of a computer will allow other items of hardware to connect to the computer however there are many different types of ports on a computer. The network port is probably important port on a computer as they allow connection to the internet via a Cat-5 cable. The USB ports on a computer allow items like memory sticks, external hard-drives and even items like phone chargers to connect to it and are a very useful item to have on the computer. CPU The CPU or Central Processing Unit is some of the more important parts of a computer and is often labelled with the term the brain of the computer. The CPU will process the calculations and instructions of the computer, the speed that the CPU will do this will depend on what the maximum speeds of the CPU are this is known as the clock rate. The higher the clock rate on a CPU the faster it will carry out instructions that the computer has requested the slower the clock rate the slower it will do this. Power Supply The power supply unit of the computer is practically the power source of the computer. The power supply unit sits inside a little box on the inside of the computer and when it is connected to the power supply lead with then have the power to start the computer and all the items inside the computer that needs the power source to run off. Backing storage e.g. hard disc drive; optical drives Backing storages are types of drive that sit on the inside of the computer; this will usually be a hard drive and an optical disk drive. The hard drive is the more important of the two as the computer won’t work without one, the hard drive will hold the operating system on it and it will also hold any items that the user of the computer has saved on it for personal use. An optical drive will be an item like a CD or Blu-Ray drive that is capable of playing such items as DVD’s and playing music however they also have the capabilities to burn data on to a CD. Controllers A controller in terms of computers will control the transfer of data from one device to another. The best example of this in terms of personal computers would be the computer to the monitor but there can be other examples of this like the keyboard and mouse to the computer. Main memory and memory types There are only two real type of main memory in computers but there are lots of different memory types. The main two memory types in computers is a hard disk drive and RAM (Random Access Memory); the hard disk drive will contain everything that the computer needs to run this will start with all the files for the operating system and all the data from programs that have been installed on the computer by the user. It will also contain any data that has been put on there by the user for example a piece of work on a word document video’s etc. Normally with hard disk drive the bigger the size the better because it will help the computer process the data quicker if there is more space. With the RAM it is a type of memory the can be accessed randomly any individual byte of it can be accessed without using any other bytes in the RAM. RAM is the same as a hard drive in the terms that the more RAM is in a computer the better as it will run quicker. Other memory types could include memory sticks that can be used to store anything that the user of the memory stick wants on there. Another type could be an external hard drive which can be very useful if large amounts of data need to be stored. The other type of memory could be a CD but this is now a less commonly used memory type. Battery The CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) battery is a small piece of hardware that is usually attached to the mother board inside the computer. The CMOS battery will keep all the BIOS settings inside of it. If the computer suddenly starts displaying the wrong time and date this could be a sign that the battery needs replacing. Peripheral Component Interconnect PCI’s will be found on the motherboard of a computer and are used as expansion buses. The main purpose of it to connect hardware devices to the CPU, Ethernet and Wi-Fi use this PCI very often to connect with the network that is available. Accelerated Graphics Port The AGP will be found on the motherboard of the computer and is used mainly to for video cards and 3D accelerators. The video cards and 3D accelerators will improve the graphics on the user’s computers and make the computer perform better when it comes to handling graphics. Specialised cards e.g. network, graphics, modem, sound There are many specialist cards that are used in computers to help improve the capabilities that it has. The network card will allow the computer to connect to a WLAN or LAN depending on what type of network card it is, if it is a wireless network card the computer will be able to connect to a network wirelessly, If it isn’t it will connect via a wired connection. The graphics card on a computer will decide the capabilities of the computer when it comes to handling high level graphics this could be anything to computer games or maybe even high definition films, if the graphics card is not up to the required standards this will not work. The modem card is a hugely useful card that helps the computer connect to the network that has been set up by the service provider this will then allow connection to the internet. The sound card will basically provide sound to the computer so when external devices like earphones or speakers are connected sound will be outputted through the device. Systems software Operating systems The operating system is probably the most important program that runs on a computer. The operating systems main purpose is to recognise input from the keyboard and mouse it will even display the content to the monitor. The operating system also keeps track of all the files in the memory in the computer and recognise peripheral device when they are put into the computer. Utility Programs Utility programs are programs that do certain task that tie in with how the computer works. There are many examples of utility programs one could be a complete disk format this would mean completely deleting everything of a device like a hard drive or a memory stick. Another program could be a file converter that converts an item like an MP3 to an MP4 or the other way round. Utility programs are very different to other application software like Microsoft word which is just used to type up word documents. Library programs Library programs are files that are stored on computers to help develop software. An example of a library file would be a file like a DLL file, DLL stands for a Dynamic link library file these are a small collection of programs that can be used when an executable program is running. Translator Programs Translator programs are programs that convert a high level programming language into another. A good example of this would be a program like C# which is quite a high level programming this could be converted into another high level programming language like C++ so they could both work in tandem with each other. Applications software Off-the-shelf application software Of the shelf application software is software that can be brought from shops and installed on to computer. This type of software could be anything that could be used on a computer whether it is office, Photoshop or a program like AVG anti-virus. The main advantage of off the shelf software is that it is legal and it will work where as it is illegal to download pirated software and it may not always work. Be-spoke software Be-spoke software is software that is built for a certain user or company. The main purpose of this is that a company may want a piece of software that has a certain purpose like it may keep records of all the staff the software could be custom built in the way the company want it so it can fill that purpose. Explain the Performance factors associated with use of software Performance factors can really have a big impact on software and how it works. For example if a big program or piece of software has been launched on a computer it will affect the amount of memory being used by the computer and how hard the computer is working. With the performance of a computer if the performance is not of a high enough quality this could seriously affect how the software works on the computer. Peripheral Components Printers A printer is a device that will print items that are sent to the printer by the user of the computer. A printer will connect to a computer either wirelessly or by a USB port in to the computer. The user will then be able to send any data that they want to print to the printer and it will be printed off. Plotters According to blurtit (2000) "Plotters are output devices that is designed primarily to produce charts, drawings, maps, three dimensional illustrations, and other forms of hard copy". Plotters can print differently to printers as they draw lines where as printers can only print a series of dots close together. Cameras A camera is a digital device that will take still photos. There are many types of cameras some will be better quality then others the better the megapixels on a camera the better quality of image it will create. Most cameras will have a memory card inside them that will be able to be put into the computer and the images can then be taken off the memory card and put on the computer. Scanners According to techtarget (2012) "scanners are a device that captures images from photographic prints, posters, magazine pages, and similar sources for computer editing and display". With a scanner any thing can be put into it that is paper based and copied to the computer so a picture can be produced and used again for other purposes. Keyboard and Mouse Keyboard and mice are input devices that connect to a computer so that the computer can be controlled by the user. The mouse will allow the user to navigate around the computer this way they can access any programs that are on the computer. The keyboard will be used so the user can type commands into the computer. Most computers will not start without a keyboard and the keyboard will also be used for items like typing in word processors, Typing in URL's and coding. Monitors, display adapters Monitors are items that will output the display from the computer. The monitor will connect to the tower of a computer via a VGA cable and the output from the computer will be displayed on the monitor. Display adapters are items that will connect monitors to computers so displays can be outputted, this can be anything from a HDMI cable, VGA cable and video cards. Multimedia devices According to wisegeek.com (2003) " There are several types of media, including video, audio, and text. A multimedia device allows a person to deal with a variety of these media while eliminating the need to have a separate device for each". There are many different types of multimedia devices that can include videos, text, audio and many other types of media these can be anything from MP3 players, MP4 players and mobile phones even have this capability. Storage media Storage media is an item that will store data. Storage media can differ from being a hard drive, Memory stick, CD and the less used floppy disk. Storage media can be used to store most types of data from music, videos and items like word processing documents. However the amount of data that can be stored on a storage device depends on how big the storage device is. Networking According to Mitchell (1990) “in the world of computers, networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software.” There are two different types of area in networking a LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network), a local area network will be set up for a small area like a school so people in the school can connect and use the network. The wide area network can be used across towns and cities to be used by more people as they have a higher capability. Portable drives; plug and play components According to techtarget.com (2012)” Plug and Play (PnP) is a capability developed by Microsoft for its Windows 95 and later operating systems that give users the ability to plug a device into a computer and have the computer recognize that the device is there.” A good example of this is when an item like a memory stick or a wireless mouse is plugged into the computer the computer itself will recognise that an item has been plugged into it a register with the computer for the user to use. Performance factor Performance factors of a computer entirely depend on the capabilities of the computer. If a computer has all the top capabilities like high level RAM, hard drive, graphics, CPU then the computer will perform very well under most circumstances. However if the computer has viruses on it then it may not work to its full capabilities. If a computer has very low end levels of RAM, CPU, hard drive, etc. Then it will struggle in most situations that it has to deal with. Computer architecture Central Processing Unit (CPU) (control unit, arithmetic logic unit, registers, input/output); The CPU is one of the most important and vital part of a computer and in terms of architecture is spilt in to five separate parts. According to Wiki.answers.com (no date published) “The control unit is one of the most important parts of a microprocessor for the reason that it is in charge of the entire process that is the machine cycle. The CPU deals with each instruction it is given in a series of steps. “ Each instruction as stated will be carried out in a series of steps first the instruction will be found in the memory, the instruction will then be decoded, the data will be transferred and then the instruction will be executed as requested. The speed at this instruction will be carried out will depend on the speed of the CPU, The higher the spec of the CPU the quicker it will be. The ALU(Arithmetic Logic Unit) will carry out all the numerical and logical operations in the computer and is usually the piece of processing that is performed by the processor, after the data has been processed it is sent to the computer’s memory. There are a few registers within the CPU the instructor register, memory data register and memory address register. The instruction register holds all the instructions that are being executed by the CPU, The memory data register holds the piece of data that has been collected from the memory that is being executed. Finally the memory address register holds the address of the next instruction that needs to be carried out. In terms of the input and output of the CPU the input to the CPU is all the data that is sent to the CPU and the output is when all the information has been process and is available to use. Memory (Random Access Memory (RAM) There are two main types of RAM (Random Access Memory) that are used in computers. The first is SRAM (static Random Access Memory) this type of RAM is faster and uses less power and is used as with the CPU as cache memory. The second type of RAM is DRAM stores bits of data at a time using transistors and capacitor which come together to make a memory cell. This form of RAM costs less to produce and uses less power and is commonly used in most computers nowadays. RAM is volatile when it has power it will remember data when the power is taken away from the RAM it will lose any data that it holds. Read Only Memory (ROM) Read Only Memory or ROM is data on a computer that is always kept. Once that data that is used on ROM is put on to ROM the data cannot be deleted because it is read only memory. Unlike RAM ROM is non volatile and continues to hold data even when it does not have power, this data is usually crucial to the computer as it contains programs that will help boot the computer. Auxiliary storage Auxiliary storage is storage that is available to the computers processor. This type of storage is not a main type of storage there are many different types of auxiliary storage examples of this are items like magnetic tapes and drums which use digital recording to save data on to them. Input/output devices Input and output devices are devices that connect to a computer and allow the transfer of data. For example a memory stick is a device that is plugged in to the computer and can be used to take data of the hard drive of a computer and put on the memory stick. A keyboard is another device that is plugged into when a key is pressed on the keyboard the data processed by the computer and displayed on the screen. Busses Buses are a combination of wires that data is sent from one computer to another. Buses connect to the CPU and main memory on the computer and there are two main parts to the bus, the address bus and the data bus. The address bus tells the data where to go and the data bus actually transfers the data where it needs to go. Registers Registers are used as temporary memory units that are located in the computers processor. The reason that registers are used is so the data can be stored and accessed quicker within the computer, the data that is stored by the registers are used by the CPU. There are many different types of registers that are used within the computer that do many different jobs and work with the CPU to deliver the right data to the correct place. Cache
The computer cache is a piece of computer storage that can be used by the RAM or by other storage devices. The cache is made of SRAM and is used in a very good way because most programs when they are launched keep using the same data over and over again so what the cache does is tries to keep as much of the data that the program uses as possible which will help with the running of the program on the computer. Images

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