Basic Computer Hardware and Software

Topics: Computer, Computer software, Central processing unit Pages: 5 (1728 words) Published: August 3, 2008
The Basic Computer Hardware

Central Processing Unit:
The central unit is the basic part of the computer and includes all the main computer parts. It is the heart of the computer system. It is responsible for executing, or running the software. The software programs are translated into a series of codes made up of 1s to 0s that the CPU can understand. Every code means a certain operation should take place. A CPU has various discrete units to help it in these tasks for example there is an arithmetic and logic unit(ALU) that takes care of all the math and logical data comparisons that need to performed. A control register makes sure everything happens in the right sequence. The motherboard is the main circuit board inside the PC. All other components are either slotted into or soldered to this board.

Microprocessors are different to one another according to the manufacturer and technical specifications. The most important technical specifications of microprocessor are the type and processing speed. The type of microprocessor is defined by the internal structure and basic features .The microprocessors communicate with the rest of the system by means of buses. Buses are sets of parallel electronic conductors set of wires or tracks on the circuit board. •Information about exact locations of where data is stored travels along address bus • Signals to synchronize access to the various devices, such as whether to read or write data travel along the control bus. •Actual data travels along the data bus. The type of micro processor installed greatly affects the performance. It is rare that a system will have more than one processor installed; a file server is perhaps a good example of a system that may have two processors. Originally, the first IBM personal computers had 8080 microprocessors that was quickly superseded by 8086 and so on. Today we have moved from microprocessors to Pentium, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium IV processors. All microprocessors are not made equal. The speed at which microprocessor executes its instructions is governed by the speed of a internal clock. The number clock pulses per second is measured in hertz(Hz), with one pulse per second referred to as one Hertz. The higher the value of MHz or MIPS, the higher the speed and power of computer. For example: Intel Pentium II / 166 MHz - microprocessor of type Pentium II and speed 166 MHz Intel Pentium II / 300 MHz - the same microprocessor with higher speed (300 MHz)

The next major element of a computer system is memory which refers to specific bits of hardware. Memory is divided into 2 parts: ROM(Read Only Memory) and RAM(Random Access Memory). RAM is the main memory. can be read and altered at random by the computer. It is empty when the computer is switched on and is used to store the information required by the CPU while the computer is being operated. It is working memory but once the computer is switched off, its contents disappear. The more RAM a computer has, the more programs can be open at once and the quicker the computer runs....
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