Function of each Major Computer Component
The Processor (“CPU”)The processor is known as the brain of the computer. In fact, it’s not. If anything, the computer as a whole serves as a brain. The processor is just a really fast calculator. It adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides a multitude of numbers. There are two parts of the Processor that do the math. The first part is called the Integer unit. It’s job is to take care of the “easy” numbers, like -5, 13, 1/2, etc. It’s mainly used in business applications, like word processors, spreadsheets, and the Windows Desktop. The other half is called the Floating Point Unit. It’s job is to take care of the really hard numbers, like the square root of 3, pi, “e.”, and logarithms. This part of the CPU is mainly used in 3D games, to calculate the position of pixels, and images. For years, Intel’s processor have had the best Floating Point around, but as of late, AMD’s Athlon Processor has stolen the crown away from Intel. That is why were are seeing the race for 1GHz speed up so dramatically today.
The Hard Drive (“HD”)
The Hard Drive is simply a multitude of metal disks that spin around inside your computer, with heads that move around those disks. Those heads read and write data to the metallic disks. The reason for using a Hard drive is because the hard drive is the only part inside a computer that stores data while the computer is off. (Besides removable media of course.) Your Hard Drive is what stores all of your settings, programs, and the operating system while your computer is off. The only draw back to the hard drive, is that it is mechanical. That means it has a tendency to break down every once in a while for no reason, and it is slower than electronic means of data storage.
Random Access Memory (“RAM”)
RAM is easily confused with Hard Drive, because both store data. The two are actually very different. The RAM is a chip that holds data, only as electricity flows though it. It is very fast compared to the Hard Drive, but is also expensive, which is why we don’t use it for our primary data storage. RAM is used as a interface between the Hard Drive and the Processor. If the Processor needs some data that’s on the hard drive, the chipset (we’ll get to the chipset later) will retrieve the data from the hard drive and put it into memory, so the processor can access it faster. If the computer runs out of room in the RAM, it will make a file on your hard drive, called “Virtual RAM.” “Virtual RAM” is just an extension of real RAM on your Hard Drive. As said above, the Hard drive is much slower than the RAM, so when the computer gets the data strait from the Hard Drive, your computer will also seem like it freezes, because it will be running so slowly. Once you shut your computer off, there is nothing stored in the RAM, because there is no electricity flowing though it.
Cache (“L1,and L2”)
The Cache is high speed RAM. It stores commonly used data and instructions from the processor so that it doesn’t have to go to the slower RAM to get it. This is why the modern day computer is so fast. Without cache, most processors would be limited in speed by the RAM. Without it, your computer would be running terribly slow. The Cache is split up into 2 different Levels. The first level, L1, ranges in size from 32KB to 128KB. It is split in half and resides with in the CPU core, next to the Integer and Floating Point Unit. The first half stores commonly used data, and the second half stores common instructions that the processor carries out on the data. The second level of cache, called L2, is for data only. Some L2 Caches are on the motherboard. Others are on a special cartridge with the CPU. Newer L2 Caches are in the CPU core, with the L1 cache.
The chipset is the boss inside the computer. It controls communication between the components. The chipset is split up into two basic chips. The first chip, called the North Bridge, handles communication between the AGP bus, (if it exists), RAM, processor, and the South Bridge of the chipset. The South Bridge handles all the Input and output of the computer, including the PCI and ISA Bus. The Processor, Memory, Cache, and Chipset all work together to function as a logical brain.
Specifications of the major components of a computer
What is the Specification?
The specification or ‘spec’ is a list of the key components that make up the computer. It is provided by retailers to help buyers decide which PC, and which combination of features, they need. When buying a PC, it is important to start by deciding what it is you want the PC to do. This then informs what specification you actually need. When reviewing a computer specification, the most important components to take account of are the processor, the amount of RAM and the size of the hard drive as these are central to the overall capability of the system.
Two companies – Intel Inc. and AMD Inc. – manufacture most of today’s PC processors and both offer a range that balances price and performance. Processors are generally defined by their speed – in megahertz (MHz) or in gigahertz (GHz) – and this relates to the number of operations they can perform per second. The higher the value, the faster the PC will perform and the more expensive it generally is. The latest dual core processors have two processors on a single chip and operate more efficiently at lower speeds e.g. Intel’s Pentium D and AMD’s Athlon X2. More recent more powerful processors use a 64 Bit architecture, rather than the previous 32 Bit models.
The main working memory in a computer is called random access memory or RAM. The processor uses this memory to run programs. RAM is measured in megabytes (MB). Most modern computers use DDR 2 RAM.
• A minimum of 2024MB (2GB) of RAM is recommended for general purpose PCs. 2048MB (2GB) of RAM is also sufficient for PCs running multimedia applications, i.e., those on which digital music, digital video or high-end graphics are being created/edited.
The Hard Drive The hard drive is the computer’s primary storage area. It stores the applications and programs that run on the PC, as well as any work created by users. From a school’s perspective, the capacity of the hard drive, measured in gigabytes (GB), is a key criterion and should be given due consideration when reviewing PC specifications.
• A hard drive capacity of at least 80GB is recommended for general purpose PCs.
• A hard drive capacity of 200GB or more is recommended if working with multimedia applications where large graphics and digital audio/video files are being created and stored.
APPLICATION OF COMPUTERS
Uses of Computers in Education
CBT are different programs that are supplied on CD-ROM. These programs include text, graphics and sound. Audio and Video lectures are recorded on the CDs. CBT is a low cost solution for educating people. You can train a large number of people easily.
Computer Aided Learning (CAL)
Computer aided learning is the process of using information technology to help teaching and enhance the learning process. The use of computer can reduce the time that is spent on preparing teaching material. It can also reduce the administrative load of teaching and research. The use of multimedia projector and PowerPoint presentations has improved the quality of teaching. It has also helped the learning process.
Distance learning is a new learning methodology. Computer plays the key role in this kind of learning. Many institutes are providing distance learning programs. The student does not need to come to the institute. The institute provides the reading material and the student attends virtual classroom. In virtual classroom, the teacher delivers lecture at his own workplace. The student can attend the lecture at home by connecting to a network. The student can also ask questions to the teacher.
The trend of online examination is becoming popular. Different examination like GRE, GMAT and SAT are conducted online all over the world. The questions are marked by computer. It minimizes the chance of mistakes. It also enables to announce the result in time.
Uses of Computers in Business
The use of computer technology in business provides many facilities. Businessmen are using computers to interact with their customers anywhere in the world. Many business tasks are performed more quickly and efficiently. Computers also help them to reduce the overall cost of their business. Computer can be used in business in the following ways.
An organization can use computers for marketing their products. Marketing applications provide Stock Exchange
Information about the products to customers. Computer is also used to manage distribution system, advertising and selling activities. It can also be used in deciding pricing strategies. Companies can know more about their customers and their needs and requirements etc.
Stock Exchange is the most important place for businessmen. Many stock exchanges use computers to conduct bids. The stockbrokers perform all trading activities electronically. They connect with the computer where brokers match the buyers with sellers. It reduces cost as no paper or special building is required to conduct these activities.
Uses of computers in Medical Field
Hospital Management System
Specialized hospital management software are used to automate the day to day procedures and operations at hospitals. These tasks may be online appointments, payroll admittance and discharge records etc.
Hospital management systems can store data about patients. Computers are used to store data about patients, their diseases & symptoms, the medicines that are prescribed.
Monitoring systems are installed in medical wards and Intensive care units to monitoring patients continuously. These systems can monitor pulse, blood pressure and body temperature and can alert medical staff about any serious situations.
Life Support Systems
Specialized devices are used to help impaired patients like hearing aids.
A variety of software are used to investigate symptoms and prescribed medication accordingly. Sophisticated systems are used for tests like CT scan, ECG, and other medical tests.
Computer at our Defense
Computers are the main tools which help in developing missiles and other equipment in the deference system. Designing and the maintenance are possible only through computers. Computer builds the links between the soldiers and commanders through the satellite. Construction of weapons and controlling their function is not possible without the aid of computers. The list of the criminals and the records of the cops are maintained regularly in the system
Distinguish between computer hardware and software
Computer hardware is any physical device used in or with your machine, whereas software is a collection of code installed onto your computer’s hard drive. For example, the computer monitor you are using to read this text and the mouse you are using to navigate this web page is computer hardware. The Internet browser that allowed you to visit this page and the operating system that the browser is running on is considered software.
All software utilizes at least one hardware device to operate. For example, a video game, which is software, uses the computer processor (CPU), memory (RAM), hard drive, and video card to run. Word processing software uses the computer processor, memory, and hard drive to create and save documents.
In a computer, hardware is what makes a computer work. A CPU processes information and that information can be stored in RAM or on a hard drive. A sound card can provide sound to speakers and a video card can provide an image to a monitor. All of this is hardware.
On that same computer, software can be installed and allow a person to interact with the hardware. An operating system, like Windows or Mac OS, is software. It provides a graphical interface for people to use the computer and other software on the computer. A person can create documents and pictures using software.
Purpose of a computer network
The purpose of a computer network is that of sharing resources and data between computer systems. Those shared resources would include that of data storage, printers and other devices.
A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network which allows computers to exchange data. In computer networks, networked computing devices exchange data with each other using a data link. The connections between nodes are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet.
Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes.1 Nodes can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, servers as well as networking hardware. Two such devices can be said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other.
Computer networks differ in the transmission medium used to carry their signals, communications protocols to organize network traffic, the network’s size, topology and organizational intent.
Computer networks support an enormous number of applications and services such as access to the World Wide Web, digital video, digital audio, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications as well as many others. In most cases, application-specific communications protocols are layered (i.e. carried as payload) over other more general communications protocols.
Major computer network components
Network Interface Card
Network adapter is a device that enables a computer to talk with other computer/network. Using unique hardware addresses (MAC address) encoded on the card chip, the data-link protocol employs these addresses to discover other systems on the network so that it can transfer data to the right destination. There are two types of network cards: wired and wireless. The wired NIC uses cables and connectors as a medium to transfer data, whereas in the wireless card, the connection is made using antenna that employs radio wave technology. All modern laptop computers incorporated wireless NIC in addition to the wired adapter.
Network Card Speed
Network Interface card, one of the main computer network components, comes with different speeds, 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1000Mbps, so on. Recent standard network cards built with Gigabit (1000Mbps) connection speed. It also supports to connect slower speeds such as 10Mbps and 100Mbps. However, the speed of the card depends on your LAN speed.
For example, if you have a switch that supports up to 100Mbps, your NIC will also transfer a data with this same speed even though your computer NIC has still the capability to transfer data at 1000Mbps (1Gbps). In modern computers, network adapter is integrated with a computer motherboard. However if you want advanced and fast Ethernet card, you may buy and install on your computer using the PCI slot found on the motherboard (desktop) and Express Card slots on laptop .
Hub is a device that splits a network connection into multiple computers. It is like a distribution center. When a computer request information from a network or a specific computer, it sends the request to the hub through a cable. The hub will receive the request and transmit it to the entire network. Each computer in the network should then figure out whether the broadcast data is for them or not.
Currently Hubs are becoming obsolete and replaced by more advanced communication devices such as Switch and Routers.
Switch is a telecommunication device grouped as one of computer network components. Switch is like a Hub but built in with advanced features. It uses physical device addresses in each incoming messages so that it can deliver the message to the right destination or port.
Like Hub, switch don’t broadcast the received message to entire network, rather before sending it checks to which system or port should the message be sent. In other words switch connects the source and destination directly which increases the speed of the network. Both switch and hub have common features: Multiple RJ-45 ports, power supply and connection lights.
Cables and connectors
Cable is one way of transmission media which can transmit communication signals. The wired network typology uses special type of cable to connect computers on a network.
There are a number of solid transmission Media types, which are listed below. – Twisted pair wire
It is classified as Category 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5E, 6 and 7. Category 5E, 6 and 7 are high-speed cables that can transmit 1Gbps or more. –
Coaxial cable more resembles like TV installation cable. It is more expensive than twisted-pair cable but provide high data transmission speed.
It is a high-speed cable which transmits data using light beams through a glass bound fibers. Fiber-optic cable is high data transmission cable comparing to the other cable types. But the cost of fiber optics is very expensive which can only be purchased and installed on governmental level.
When we talk about computer network components, the other device that used to connect a LAN with an internet connection is called Router. When you have two distinct networks (LANs) or want to share a single internet connection to multiple computers, we use a Router.
In most cases, recent routers also include a switch which in other words can be used as a switch. You don’t need to buy both switch and router, particularly if you are installing small business and home networks.
There are two types of Router: wired and wireless. The choice depends on your physical office/home setting, speed and cost.
A modem enables you to connect your computer to the available internet connection over the existing telephone line. Like NIC, Modem is not integrated with a computer motherboard. It comes as separate part which can be installed on the PCI slots found on motherboard. A modem is not necessary for LAN, but required for internet connection such as dial-up and DSL. There are some types of modems, which differs in speed and transmission rate. Standard PC modem or Dial-up modems (56Kb data transmission speed), Cellular modem (used in a laptop that enables to connect while on the go), cable modem (500 times faster than standard modem) and DSL Modems are the most popular.