Computer - Essay Example

All general-purpose computers require the following hardware components: Emory: enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data and programs. Mass storage device: allows a computer to permanently retain large amounts of data. Common mass storage devices include disk drives and tape drives. 0 input device: usually a keyboard and mouse, the input device is the conduit through which data and instructions enter a computer. 0 output device: a display screen, printer, or other device that lets you see what the computer has accomplished. Central processing unit (CAP]): the heart of the computer, this is the component that actually executes instructions. In addition to these components, many others make it possible for the basic components to work together efficiently. For example, every computer requires a bus that transmits data from one part of the computer to another. 0 Computer Classification, By Size and Power 0 Computers can be generally classified by size and power as follows, though there is considerable overlap: 0 personal computer: a small, single-user computer based on a microprocessor.

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In addition to the microprocessor, a personal computer has a keyboard for entering data, a monitor for displaying information, and a storage device for saving data. Irrigation: a powerful, single-user computer. A workstation is like a personal computer, but it has a more powerful microprocessor and a higher-quality monitor. 0 minicomputer: a multi-user computer capable of supporting from 10 to hundreds of users simultaneously. 0 mainframe: a powerful multi-user computer capable of supporting many hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously. Supercomputer: an extremely fast computer that can perform hundreds of millions of instructions per second. Operating Systems The most important piece of software on any computer is the operating system. The operating system gives the framework upon which all other services and applications run. The majority of home users use a Windows based machine. Most of today’s applications and games are designed to run solely on Microsoft systems. Microsoft Windows is extremely popular in schools and colleges, many businesses also use Windows.

Introduction to Microsoft Windows The oldest of all Microsoft’s operating systems is MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). MS-DOS is a text-based operating system. Users have to type commands rather than use the more friendly graphical user interfaces (Guy’s) available today. Despite its very basic appearance, MS-DOS is a very powerful operating system. There are many advanced applications and games available for MS-DOS. A version of MS-DOS underpins Windows. Many advanced administration tasks in Windows can only be performed using MS-DOS.

The history of Microsoft Windows dates back to 1985, when Microsoft released Microsoft Windows Version 1. 01 . Microsoft’s aim was to provide a friendly user-interface known as a GUI (graphical user interface) which allowed for easier navigation of the system features. Windows 1. 01 never really caught on. (The amazing thing about Windows 1. 1 is that it fitted on a single floppy disk! ). In 1987 Microsoft revamped the operating system and released Windows 2. 03. The GUI was very slightly improved but still looked too similar to Windows 1. 01 . The operating system again failed to capture a wide audience.

Microsoft made an enormous impression with Windows 3. 0 and 3. 1 . Graphics and functionality were drastically improved. The Windows 3. X family provided multimedia capabilities as well as vastly improved graphics and application support. Building on the success of Windows 3. X, Microsoft released Microsoft Windows For Workups 3. 1 . This gave Windows the ability to function on a network. It is not uncommon to find companies still using Windows 3. 11 . In 1993 Microsoft divided the operating system into two categories; Business and home user.

Windows NT (New Technology) was a lot more reliable than Windows 3. X. Windows NT provided advanced network features. On the business front, Windows NT continued to develop with the release of version 3. 51 . Different versions were provided which offered different functionality. Server provided the higher network functions and Workstation was mainly for the client machines. In 1995 Windows went through a major revamp and Microsoft Windows 95 was released. This provided greatly improved multimedia and a much more polished user interface. The now familiar desktop and Start Menu appeared.

Internet and networking support was built in Although Windows 95 was a home user operating system, it proved to be very popular in schools and businesses. After the success of Windows 95, Microsoft improved the GUI interface of Windows NT and released Windows NT 4. 0. ANT could be tailored to the size of the business, ANT Server for small to medium sized businesses and Enterprise Server for larger networks. Microsoft continued to improve the Windows format. Although Microsoft Windows 98 was very similar to Windows 95, it offered a much tidier display and enhanced multimedia support.

Breaking with its own naming conventions, Microsoft released Windows 2000 (initially called NT 5. 0) for the business market. It appeared in 4 models: Professional -which replaced Workstation, Server, Advanced Server and Decanter Server catered for differing business requirements. Although Windows 2000 had a greatly improved user interface, the best of the enhancements appeared on the server side. Active Directory was introduced which allowed much greater control of security and organization. Improvements to the overall operating system allowed for easier configuration and installation.

One big advantage of Windows 2000 was that operating system settings could be modified easily without the need to restart the machine. Windows 2000 proved to be a very stable operating system that offered enhanced security and ease of administration. The last incarnation of the Windows xx family was Windows Millennium Edition (ME). There were many different versions of Windows floating around at this stage that Microsoft decided the next release of Windows would consolidate both the business and home versions. Although Windows ME was visually similar to Windows 2000.

Windows ME was based on the Windows xx line. Windows xx/ME systems are not as secure and stable as Windows NT and 2000 systems. Because of the stability of Windows NT/2000, Microsoft decided to end the development of the Windows xx line, and merge both the consumer and business products. Microsoft Windows XP comes as the Home Edition and Professional, each is based on Windows 2000. Windows 2000 Server has been upgraded to Windows 2003. This appears in four variants: Web Server, Standard Server, Enterprise Server and Decanter Server, each fulfilling a different business role.

Windows XP has a very polished look, but the overall functionality is very similar to Windows 2000. Other Operating Systems The Windows family is the most widely used Operating System. There are other operating systems in the computing world, and some are a lot older than Microsoft Windows. Luckily most operating systems can interoperable with each other. Many of today’s larger networks contain a variety of operating systems. UNIX A big advantage of UNIX is that it can be run on nearly every computer hardware platform including Apple Macintosh machines.

The UNIX operating system is one of the oldest and most powerful operating systems. It was developed by Bell Laboratories. There are many variants of UNIX available. Novel Network Novel Network is an advanced network operating system. It has an advanced directory service structure similar to Microsoft’s Active Directory. Fortunately both directory services are interoperable as both directories use the coax directory service standard. Linux_/Freebased Two of the most popular variations of UNIX come in the form of Linux and Freebased.

A big advantage of both Linux and Freebased is that they are both openers, that is, any user can contribute to the development of the SO. Versions of both operating systems are completely free. Linux and Freebased can easily take the role of a server or client machine. However, they are considered to be more difficult to master as both utilize the command line rather than a user friendly GIG-Jell. There are several different distributions of Linux, but for each the underlying operating system remains the same. Apple Macintosh machines offer high performance sound and graphics editing and are therefore extremely popular in the design industry.

Apple have developed their own operating system, the newest version of which is the Mac SO X, which is based on UNIX. Mac SO X is a very user friendly operating system and is increasingly popular for home PC’s. Introduction To Hardware The interior of a computer looks very complicated at first glance. When the case is removed there is a mass of bits, cables and components that can intimidate the uninitiated. This lesson will seek to dispense some of the mist that may surround the hardware of a computer. Motherboards The most important part of any computer is the motherboard.

As the name implies a motherboard is the mother of all other components in a computer. The motherboard brings all the core components together such as the Central Processing Unit (CAP]), Memory and Hard Disks. In short, the motherboard connects and allows all of the components in the computer to work together. There are two different types of Motherboard: AT style and ATX style. AT Motherboards The AT-style motherboards represent the classic approach to component placement. AT-motherboards are available in two variations, the baby AT and the full AT.

Both variations simply refer to the overall dimensions of the board. AT Boards are generally found in older systems, typically those that use the now aged Pentium Processor. The Majority of AT motherboards had a single keyboard port soldered to the motherboard The 1/0 ports (e. G. USB, COM and AS/2 ports) are separate from the motherboard and are placed on a riser card or separate headers. To identify an AT motherboard first check the power connectors. AT Motherboards use two sets of 6-pin inline power connectors Caution it is possible to plug these connectors in the wrong order and fuse the motherboard

ATX Motherboards The ATX-style motherboards are a result of the industry push for standardization and are found in most systems today. Most modern computers contain an ATX motherboard. ATX boards can use Advanced Power Management. Distinguished by having more than Just one external connector ATX boards have Keyboard, Mouse, Serial, Parallel and USB connectors. ATX boards can also be distinguished by the unblock power connectors. Also available in micro ATX enabling the use of smaller cases. Motherboard Components There are two types of receivers for Scup’s Zero insertion force or GIF sockets.

With a GIF socket, before the CPU is inserted, a lever or slider on the side of the socket is moved, pushing all the sprung contacts apart so that the CPU can be inserted with very little force (generally the weight of the CPU itself is sufficient with no external downward force required). The lever is then moved back, allowing the contacts to close and grip the pins of the CAP], often with a fan attached for cooling. Single Edged Contact (SEC) cartridge slot or Slot 1 seen on PI and Palls. Developed by Intel to add Cache memory for the processor cheaply.

The processor is mounted on a Single Edge Connector Cartridge (SEC), much like a PC slot, but with a 242-lead edge-connector. Bridges There are two main bridges on a motherboard the Northerlies and the Sturbridge. Bridges control access to the processor from the peripherals. The Northerlies, also known as the Memory Controller Hub (MUCH), is traditionally one of the two chips in the core logic chippies on a PC motherboard. The Northerlies typically controls communications between the CAP], RAM, GAP or PC Express, and the Sturbridge..

A Northerlies will typically work with only one or two classes of Cups and generally only one type of RAM. There are a few chippies that support two types of RAM (generally these are available when there is a shift to a new standard). The Sturbridge, also known as the 1/0 Controller Hub (ICC), is a chip that implements the “slower” capabilities of the motherboard in a Northerlies Sturbridge chippies computer architecture. The Sturbridge can usually be distinguished from the Northerlies by not being directly connected to the CAP]. Rather, the Northerlies ties the Sturbridge to the CAP].

The functionality found on a contemporary Sturbridge includes:PC bus, SIS bus, SMB, DAM controller, Interrupt controller, DID, (SAT or PAT) controller ,LAP Bridge, Real Time Clock, Power management (AMP and ASPI) and Nonvolatile BIOS memory BIOS Chips The [CUBIC( Basic Input Output System)]] refers to the software code run by a computer when first powered on. The primary function of BIOS is to prepare the machine so other software programs stored on various media (such as hard drives, floppies, and CDC) can load, execute, and assume control of the computer.

This process is known as booting up. The BIOS is stored as a ROOM (Read-only Memory) program and is retained when the machine is turned off. Settings within the BIOS may be changed by the user and these changes are stored in the BIOS memory this is maintained by a trickle of charge from the BIOS battery. Memory SIMMS- Single Inline Memory Modules. An older type of memory only seen on very old motherboards came in 30 pin modules and 72 pin modules. STREAM chips are rated according to their maximum clock rate and their read cycle time. Common clock ratings include much, mezzo, and mezzo.

Common read cycle times include inns and inns. DIR STREAM or double-data-rate synchronous dynamic random access memory is a type of memory integrated circuit used in computers. It achieves greater bandwidth than ordinary STREAM by transferring data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal (double pumped). This effectively nearly doubles the transfer rate without increasing the frequency of the front side bus. Stick/module specification PC-1600: DIR-STREAM memory module specified to operate at 100 Much using DIR-200 chips, 1. 00 Gay-tutus bandwidth PC-2100: DIR-STREAM memory module specified to operate at 133 Much using DIR-266 chips, 2. 133 Gay-tutus bandwidth PC-2700: DIR-STREAM memory module specified to operate at 166 Much using DIR-333 chips, 2. 667 Gigabytes bandwidth PC-3200: DIR-STREAM memory module specified to operate at 200 Much using DIR-400 chips, 3. 200 Gay-tutus bandwidth Drive Connectors Integrated Device Electronic (DID) [Integrated Device Electronic (DID)]] connectors connect the motherboard, via a ribbon cable to various peripherals, the most common being hard drives and CD Rooms.

On most boards there are 2 channels/connectors, each can have 2 devices attached giving a total of four DID devices. If one device is attached to a cable, it should be configured as the master. If two devices are attached to the same cable then one must be the master device and one he slave. Master and slave are configured by the use of Jumpers. Jumpers are small, insulated sleeves with a contact inside used to complete a circuit Hard Disks Hard disks are used to store data in a non-volatile form within the machine. I. E. The data remains intact even if the power to the device is cut off.

Data is stored as magnetic ones and zeros on a steel platen and is read by pickup arms that scan the drive as the platens spin Most major hard drive and motherboard vendors now support self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology (S. M. A. R. T. ), by which impending failures can be redirected, allowing the user to be alerted to prevent data loss. The mostly sealed enclosure protects the drive internals from dust, condensation, and other sources of contamination. The hard disks read-write heads fly on an air bearing which is a cushion of air only manometers above the disk surface.

The disk surface and the driver’s internal environment must therefore be kept immaculate to prevent damage from fingerprints, hair, dust, smoke particles, etc. , given the submicroscopic gap between the heads and disk. Floppy Disks The floppy disc controller is generally situated near the DID controllers and in fact kooks like a small DID slot The ribbon has a twist and the first floppy drive (A: drive) should be placed after the twist if the cable has more than three connectors. If the cable is really old it may have a connector for a 5 1/4 Floppy drive.

CICS CICS stands for “Small Computer System Interface”, and is a standard interface and command set for transferring data between devices on both internal and external computer buses. CICS is most commonly used for hard disks and tape storage devices, but also connects a wide range of other devices, including scanners, printers, CD-ROOM drives, CD recorders, and DVD drives. In fact, the entire CICS tankard promotes device independence, which means that theoretically CICS can be used with any type of computer hardware.

On a parallel CICS bus, a device (e. G. Host adapter, disk drive) is identified by a “CICS ID”, which is a number in the range 0-7 on a narrow bus and in the range 015 on a wide bus. SAT Serial ATA (SAT) is a computer bus technology primarily designed for transfer of data to and from a hard disk. It is the successor to the legacy AT Attachment standard (ATA). This older technology was retroactively renamed Parallel ATA (PAT) to distinguish it from Serial ATA. Both SAT and PAT drives are DID (Integrated Drive

Electronics) drives, although DID is often misused to indicate PAT drives. The two SAT interfaces, SAT/1 50, runs at 1. 5 GHz resulting in an actual data transfer rate of 1. 2 Gigabits per second (KGB/s), or 150 megabytes per second (MBA/s). SAT II KGB/s resulting in an actual data transfer rate of 2. 4 KGB/s, or 300 MBA Motherboard Slots To add more functionality to a computer, cards such as network or video cards can be added. Sometimes these functions are built into the motherboard.

There are several types of expansion slots: The PC (Peripheral Component Interconnect) The PC bus is common in modern PC’s, here it has displaced SIS as the standard expansion bus, but it also appears in many other computer types. PC 2 33. 33 Much clock with synchronous transfers peak transfer rate of 133 MBA per second for 32-bit bus PC 2. 2 allows for 66 Much signaling (requires 3. 3 volt signaling) (peak transfer rate of 503 MBA/s) PC 2. 3 permitted use of 3. 3 volt and universal keying, but did not support 5 volt keyed add in cards. PC 3. Is the final official standard of the bus, completely removing 5 volt support. SIS/EASE; Industry Standard Architecture and Extended Industry Standard Architecture An older type of bus connector. Considered obsolete PC Express, Piece, or PC-E is an implementation of the PC computer bus that uses existing PC programming concepts, but bases it on a completely different and much faster serial physical-layer communications protocol. Piece transfers data at 250 MBA/s (238 Nib/s), per channel to a maximum of 16 channels, a total combined transfer rate of KGB/s (3. 7 Gibe/s).

Almost all of the high end graphics cards being released today use PC Express. INVALID uses the high-speed data transfer of Piece for its newly developed Scalable Link Interface (SLIP) technology, which allows two graphics cards of the same hippest and model number to be run at the same time, allowing increased performance. The Accelerated Graphics Port (also called Advanced Graphics Port) is a highnesses point-to-point channel for attaching a graphics card to a computer’s motherboard, primarily to assist in the acceleration of ID computer graphics. Some motherboards have been built with multiple independent GAP slots.

GAP is slowly being phased out in favor of PC Express. GAP lox, using a 32-bit channel operating at 66 Much resulting in a maximum data rate of 266 megabytes per second (MBA/s), doubled from the 133 Mob’s transfer rate of PC bus 33 Much / 32-bit; 3. V signaling. GAP xx, using a 32-bit channel operating at 66 Much double pumped to an effective 133 Much resulting in a maximum data rate of 533 MBA/s; signaling voltages the same as GAP lox; GAP xx, using a 32-bit channel operating at 66 Much quad pumped to an effective 266 Much resulting in a maximum data rate of 1066 Mob’s (1 KGB/s); 1. V signaling; GAP xx, using a 32-bit channel operating at 66 Much, stroking eight times per clock, delivering an effective 533 Much resulting in a maximum data rate of 2133 Mob’s (2 B/ s); 0. 8 V signaling. Peripheral Connections There are a number of ports on the motherboard for the connection of additional vices:. Serial ports connected the computer to devices such as terminals or modems. Mice, keyboards, and other peripheral devices also connected in this way. Parallel ports are most often used to communicate with peripheral devices.

The most common kind of parallel port is a printer port, such as a Eccentrics connector based port which transfers eight bits at a time. Disk drives are also connected via special parallel ports, such as those used by the CICS and ATA technologies. However, when people refer to a parallel port, they are usually referring to a printer port, either on a printer or a PC. A USB system has an asymmetric design, consisting of a host controller and multiple daisy-chained devices. Additional USB hubs may be included in the chain, allowing branching into a tree structure, subject to a limit of 5 levels of branching per controller.

No more than 127 devices, including the bus devices, may be connected to a single host controller. Modern computers often have several host controllers, allowing a very large number of USB devices to be connected. USB cables do not need to be terminated. USB supports three data rates. A Low Speed rate of 1. 5 Ambit/s (183 Jib/s) that is mostly used for Human Interface Devices (HID) such as keyboards, mice, and Joysticks. A Full Speed rate of 12 Ambit/s (1. 5 Nib/s). Full Speed was the fastest rate before the USB 2. 0 specification and many devices fall back to Full Speed.

Full Speed devices divide the USB bandwidth between them in a first-come first-served basis and it is not uncommon to run out of bandwidth with several isochronous devices. All USB Hubs support Full Speed. A HI-speed rate of 480 Ambit/S (57 AIMS). Managing Files And Folders A file is a collection of numbers which have been written to your computer’s hard drive. These numbers can be converted into a picture, a sound, text, or a set of instructions for a program to perform certain actions. A clue to a file’s type is given by its Icon or by its file extension.

Folders are containers for anything on a computer including files and other folders. A path lists the folders that have to be opened to get to the required file. Folders were called directories on older Microsoft systems. Use the buttons below to navigate through the lesson These are some typical file icons. They help the user to identify the file type. There are innumerable file types, some of the common ones are represented here: 1 . .Bump -a bitmap image 2. Doc – a Word document 3. .Wavy – a sound file 4. .PPTP – animated slides 5. .Txt- plain text 6. .XSL – a spreadsheet 7. Db – a database file 8. A shortcut (note the arrow) 9. .Exe – an application (a program) Windows allows you to view information about files in different ways. The icon view – the default used by Windows XP. To change the icon view, click on View on the menu bar. Select the required view from the available list. By default if a file type is a known one, such as a Microsoft Word Document, Windows won’t display its file extension. To view all file extensions click on Tools on the menu AR. Various options can be configured. E. G. Display compressed files and folders with alternate colors.

To display all file extensions, until the Hide file extensions for known file types box. File extensions are best left alone. Opening a file with the wrong application can sometimes damage the file. However you may at some stage need to change a file’s extension. Folders Each of these is a folder. They may contain files or other folders (called suborders) or both. There may be many “nesting” of folders within folders. Files and folders are located on the computer by using a file path. The “James” folder is located inside a folder called “Home”, which is located inside a folder called “SE- net”, which is located on the “C:” drive.

The file path will be “C:senseHomeJames”. Moving and Copying To move a file or folder, either right click on its icon OR left click on the Edit option on the toolbar. Choose cut to move or copy to copy! At this point the item has been placed onto a clipboard – an area of memory accessible from nearly any application in Windows. Right click (or open Edit in the toolbar) in an open destination folder and choose “Paste” (or use drag and drop) . When an attempt is made to move an item between volumes, it is effectively copied, and the original remains.

Creating Files and Folders This is mercifully easy. Simply right-click on some empty space in any suitable folder or the desktop and choose to create a new object from the choices offered. Be careful not to alter the file extension, as this can render the file unreadable. File extensions are usually hidden for this reason. Networking Why use a Network? Quite simply explained we use networks for communication between computers, sharing of data and peripherals. In the business world we use networks for ease of administration and to cut costs.

Sharing data example imagine an office with 5 secretaries working on 5 different computers, one requires a file from another computer in a non networked office this file would have to be written to a portable media then loaded onto the computer. In a networked office the file could be accessed via the network from a shared folder. Sharing peripherals example the same office with 5 secretaries working on 5 different computers, in order to print their work each computer would need to have a printer attached. In a networked office you could have one shared printer, cutting costs.