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Michael Bishof

CIS 109

1. Explain why digital signals are used in modern computers rather than analog
Analog signals are continuous and vary in diferent strengths and
quality. It can have multiple diferent values which makes it more
susceptible to noise. Digital signals on the other hand have two states,
on and of. The values are basically either 1 or 0, which means a lot of
noise wont have as much of an efect compared to analog signals.

2. Define CPU and explain what it does.

The Central Processing Unit is like the brain of the computer, it is
responsible for handling all of the instructions it receives from
hardware or software. The CPU typically follows 4 steps; which are
fetch, decode, execute, and writeback.

3. Define motherboard is and the purpose that it serves.

The motherboard is the main circuit board in the system unit which
contains a chipset of integrated circuits that provide its capability. The
motherboard is essential as it allows all of the hardware parts to
receive power and to communicate with each other.

4. What is the relationship between the motherboard and the CPU?

The CPU is plugged into the motherboard. All of the other computer
parts are connected to the motherboard in some way, creating
connections from all of the parts to the CPU. This is important since the
CPU is like the brain of the computer and controls most of the

5. Define primary memory and describe its purpose.

Primary memory refers to memory that is accessed directly by the
CPU, such as the processor cache and system ROM, and most
commonly RAM. Random Access Memory consists of a memory
module(s) that temporarily stores data while a computer is running.
RAM is volatile memory however, meaning that it is erased every time
the computer is turned of.

6. Explain how to convert the binary number 01101101 into a decimal number
and write the decimal number.
Each digit in binary represents a specific value; 8 th=128, 7th=64,
6th=32, 5th=16, 4th=8, 3rd=4, 2nd=2, 1st=1. So, you take add the values
where theres a 1. For example,
01101101 in decimal form is 0+64+32+0+8+4+2+1 = 109
Michael Bishof
CIS 109

7. Compare a 32 bit processor (which reads data 32 bits at a time) and a 64 bit
processor (which reads data 64 bits at a time) by creating an analogy using a
roadway traveled by automobiles.
Imagine there is a roadway with a 40mph limit. A car, equivalent to a
32 bit processor, can only go up to 40mph and not a single mph faster.
Another car on the road, equivalent to a 64 bit processor, is able to go
much higher than the speed limit and is only limited by other parts in
the car. So it may be able to handle going up to 160 mph.
I apologize, I hate analogies and Im terrible at making them. I honestly
dont really know how to compare CPUs to cars on roadways. Hopefully
you didnt sufer too much reading that.

8. Explain whether PC with a 64 bit processor and a 64 bit version of Windows

can execute a 32 bit edition of Microsoft Word.
A PC with 64 bit capabilities can run 32 bit programs, but computers
limited to 32 bit processors and OS cannot run a 64bit version. In other
words, 64 bit capable PCs can run either 64bit or 32bit programs, but
32bit capable computers can only run 32 bit programs.

9. Explain why RAM is considered "temporary" or "short term" storage whereas

a hard drive is considered "permanent" or "long term" storage.
RAM is considered temporary, because it is volatile. For example,
typing on this document is saved to the RAM. However when I save the
file, it is written to a hard drive and then erased of the RAM. Also, if
the power suddenly turned of without me saving the document, I
would lose all my progress because the RAM would be wiped. With a
hard drive, the document could be read again after I saved and
rebooted the computer.

10.Explain how your first name would be stored in memory using bits and bytes.
Using the ASCII character set, each character is translated by using a
decimal created from binary. Each digit, 1 or 0 in a string is equal to a
single bit. A single string of 8 digits would make up 1 character. Every
8 bits is equal to a single byte. So every character is equal to a single
byte. So my first name would require 7 bytes.

11.Explain why computers store numbers, words, and graphics in binary form
instead of in decimal form.
The reason is because most computers use digital signals, where the
presence of a charge is equal to 1 and the absence of the charge is
Michael Bishof
CIS 109
equal to 0. Since computers can only use 0s and 1s, it wouldnt be
possible to store data in decimal form unless an analog signal was
used instead.