Hardware vs. Software
- Hardware is the physical equipment directly involved in the performance of data-processing or communications functions.
- Software is the programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation.
Definition of a computer
- A computer is a programmable machine that stores, retrieves, and processes information
- A Personal Computer is a general-purpose computer equipped with its own microprocessor, designed to run commercial software
Types of Computers
- Used primarily by government, industry, and research
- Possesses huge amounts of computing power and multiple CPU’s (Central Processing Unit)
- Main Frame
- Used by large businesses such as banks, airlines, insurance companies to store and manipulate large amounts of information.
- Capable of multiprocessing
- Usually networked with minicomputers and/or workstations
- Personal Computer (PC) a.k.a. the microcomputer, desktop
- Designed for a single user and consists of its own CPU, input/output units, and power supply
- Possesses many of the same features as a PC in a portable size
- Many components in the laptop are designed to be smaller without sacrificing performance
- Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
- Used as personal organizers, word processors, email, internet access
- Embedded computers
- Used as control components in industrial equipment such as appliances and cars (controlling lights, buttons, and very small graphics screens (odometer))
The silicon chip
- Every computer contains silicon chips
- The silicon chip has increased the speed that computers can perform tasks
- Computers can perform an operation in a trillionth of a second or perform millions of calculations
- Silicon has also decreased significantly in size and cost over the years.
- As a result, computers today are much smaller, faster, and cheaper than they were 20 years ago
The Personal Computer
The tower case
- The tower case houses the brains of your computer and all the necessary devices to process and store information.
- It contains (among other things) a case, a motherboard, a CPU, a hard drive, a modem or network card, and sockets for any other devices you wish to connect to your computer system.
- When purchasing a computer, it is important to know what you are buying.
- The following is list of important specifications that should be considered when purchasing a computer.
- Processor speed
- The speed at which the CPU is able to perform calculations
- Measured in megahertz (MHz) – 1 million cycles per second
- or gigahertz (GHz) – 1 billion cycles per second
- Temporary memory used to store files currently in use
- Measured in Bytes – (MB, GB)
- Amount of storage space for data – Measures in Bytes (Mega, Giga, Terra)
- memory available for short term storage of information during processing.
- cache allows users to work on larger files without crashing
- System bus
- The speed of the connection between components
- Measured in megahertz (MHz)