It Learning Outcome

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Business Information Systems
Learning Outcomes Week 1

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE BASICS

1. Describe the six major categories of hardware, and provide an example of each.

Hardware consists of the physical devices associated with a computer system. The six major categories of hardware include:

• the central processing unit (CPU)—the actual hardware that interprets and executes the program (software) instructions and coordinates how all the other hardware devices work together (e.g. Intel processor)

• primary storage—the computer’s main memory, which consists of the random access memory (RAM), cache memory and the read-only memory (ROM) that is directly accessible to the central processing unit (CPU) (e.g. RAM)

• secondary storage—equipment designed to store large volumes of data for long-term storage (e.g. diskette, hard drive, memory card, CD)

• input devices—equipment used to capture information and commands (e.g. keyboard, scanner)

• output devices—equipment used to see, hear or otherwise accept the results of information processing requests (e.g. monitor, printer)

• communication devices—equipment used to send information and receive it from one location to another (e.g. modem).

2. Explain the difference between primary and secondary storage.

Primary storage is the computer’s main memory, which consists of the random access memory (RAM), cache memory and the read-only memory (ROM) that is directly accessible to the central processing unit (CPU). Secondary storage is equipment designed to store large volumes of data for long-term storage (e.g. diskette, hard drive, memory card, CD).

Identify the different computer categories and explain their potential business uses.

• Personal digital assistant (PDA), laptop, tablet, desktop, workstation, minicomputer (midrange computer), mainframe computer, supercomputer

3. List the common input, output and communication devices.

The common input, output and communication devices are:

• input devices: equipment used to capture information and commands (e.g. keyboard, scanner)

• output devices: equipment used to see, hear or otherwise accept the results of information processing requests (e.g. monitor, printer)

• communication devices: equipment used to send information and receive it from one location to another (e.g. modem).

4. Describe the eight categories of computers by size.

The eight categories of computers by size (smallest to largest) are:

• personal digital assistant (PDA)—a small hand-held computer that performs simple tasks such as taking notes, scheduling appointments and maintaining an address book and a calendar

• laptop computer—a fully functional computer designed to be carried around and run on battery power

• tablet computer—a pen-based computer that provides the screen capabilities of a PDA with the functional capabilities of a notebook or desktop computer

• desktop computer—the most popular choice for personal computing needs

• workstation computer—has more mathematical and graphics power than a desktop

• minicomputer (sometimes called a mid-range computer)—designed to meet the computing needs of several people simultaneously in a small to medium-size business environment

• mainframe computer (sometimes just called a mainframe)—a computer designed to meet the computing needs of hundreds of people in a large business environment

• supercomputer—the fastest, most powerful and most expensive type of computer.

5. Define the relationship between operating system software and utility software.

Operating system software controls the application software and manages how the hardware devices work together, whereas utility software provides additional functionality to the operating system. Utility software includes antivirus software, screen savers, disk optimisation software and...
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