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PARTS OF THE COMPUTER

If you use a desktop computer, you might already know that there isn't any single part called the "computer." A computer is
really a system of many parts working together. The physical parts, which you can see and touch, are collectively called
hardware. (Software, on the other hand, refers to the instructions, or programs, that tell the hardware what to do.)

The illustration below shows the most common hardware in a desktop computer system. Your system may look
a little different, but it probably has most of these parts. A laptop computer has similar parts but
combines them into a single notebook-sized package.

System unit

The system unit is the core of a computer system. Usually it's a rectangular box placed on or underneath your desk. Inside
this box are many electronic components that process information. The most important of these components is the central
processing unit (CPU), or microprocessor, which acts as the "brain" of your computer. Another component is random access
memory (RAM), which temporarily stores information that the CPU uses while the computer is on. The information stored in
RAM is erased when the computer is turned off.

Almost every other part of your computer connects to the system unit using cables. The cables plug into specific ports
(openings), typically on the back of the system unit. Hardware that is not part of the system unit is sometimes called a
peripheral device or device.

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Storage

Your computer has one or more disk drives—devices that store information on a metal or plastic disk. The disk preserves the
information even when your computer is turned off.

Hard disk drive

Your computer's hard disk drive stores information on a hard disk, a rigid platter or stack of platters with a magnetic surface.
Because hard disks can hold massive amounts of information, they usually serve as your computer's primary means of
storage, holding almost all of your programs and files. The hard disk drive is normally located inside the system unit.

CD and DVD drives

Nearly all computers today come equipped with a CD or DVD drive, usually located on the front of the system unit. CD drives
use lasers to read (retrieve) data from a CD, and many CD drives can also write (record) data onto CDs. If you have a
recordable disk drive, you can store copies of your files on blank CDs. You can also use a CD drive to play music CDs on
your computer.

DVD drives can do everything that CD drives can, plus read DVDs. If you have a DVD drive, you can watch movies on your
computer. Many DVD drives can record data onto blank DVDs.

Tip

If you have a recordable CD or DVD drive, periodically back up (copy) your important files to CDs or DVDs. That way, if your
hard disk ever fails, you won't lose your data.

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Floppy disk drive

Floppy disk drives store information on floppy disks, also called floppies or diskettes. Compared to CDs and DVDs, floppy
disks can store only a small amount of data. They also retrieve information more slowly and are more prone to damage. For
these reasons, floppy disk drives are less popular than they used to be, although some computers still include them.

Why are floppy disks "floppy"? Even though the outside is made of hard plastic, that's just the sleeve. The disk inside is
made of a thin, flexible vinyl material.

Mouse

A mouse is a small device used to point to and select items on your computer screen. Although mice come in many shapes,
the typical mouse does look a bit like an actual mouse. It's small, oblong, and connected to the system unit by a long wire
that resembles a tail. Some newer mice are wireless.

A mouse usually has two buttons: a primary button (usually the left button) and a secondary button. Many mice also have a
wheel between the two buttons, which allows you to scroll smoothly through screens of information.

When you move the mouse with your hand, a pointer on your screen moves in the same direction. (The pointer's appearance
might change depending on where it's positioned on your screen.) When you want to select an item, you point to the item
and then click (press and release) the primary button. Pointing and clicking with your mouse is the main way to interact with
your computer. For more information, see Using your mouse.

Keyboard

A keyboard is used mainly for typing text into your computer. Like the keyboard on a typewriter, it has keys for letters and
numbers, but it also has special keys:

 The function keys, found on the top row, perform different functions depending on where they are used.
 The numeric keypad, located on the right side of most keyboards, allows you to enter numbers quickly.
 The navigation keys, such as the arrow keys, allow you to move your position within a document or webpage.

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You can also use your keyboard to perform many of the same tasks you can perform with a mouse. For more information,
see Using your keyboard.

Monitor

A monitor displays information in visual form, using text and graphics. The portion of the monitor that displays the information
is called the screen. Like a television screen, a computer screen can show still or moving pictures.

There are two basic types of monitors: CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors and LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors. Both types
produce sharp images, but LCD monitors have the advantage of being much thinner and lighter. CRT monitors, however, are
generally more affordable.

LCD monitor (left) CRT monitor (right)

Printer

A printer transfers data from a computer onto paper. You don't need a printer to use your computer, but having one allows
you to print e-mail, cards, invitations, announcements, and other materials. Many people also like being able to print their
own photos at home.

The two main types of printers are inkjet printers and laser printers. Inkjet printers are the most popular printers for the home.
They can print in black and white or in full color and can produce high-quality photographs when used with special paper.
Laser printers are faster and generally better able to handle heavy use.

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Speakers

Speakers are used to play sound. They may be built into the system unit or connected with cables. Speakers allow you to
listen to music and hear sound effects from your computer.

Computer speakers

Modem

To connect your computer to the Internet, you need a modem. A modem is a device that sends and receives computer
information over a telephone line or high-speed cable. Modems are sometimes built into the system unit, but higher-speed
modems are usually separate components.

Cable modem

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MAIN PARTS OF A COMPUTER

A typical PC contains the following hardware:

There are many other possible hardware components, such as a DVD, CD-RW, Zip drive or network card. There are also
many subcomponents of a PC, such as the cooling fan, printer port or reset switch to name a few. This article focuses on the
basic PC hardware. The hardware in the list above is nearly universal to a basic PC.

What are the main components of my computer and what are their function. An important question, also what should I be
looking for in my computer's components, here I will explain the main parts of a computer system and what each part does,
and some examples of some good ones to use.

Case + PSU

A computer case is what contains the entire computer's components, there will be space for
drives, add-in cards and the motherboard. In addition to this, space for the Power Supply Unit
(PSU).

Depending on the size of motherboard that you have and the need for space in your computer
there are a variety of computer case sizes to accomodate the computer's components.

Things to consider are desk space, cooling, room for expansion and cost. With these things in
mind you should have no problem selecting the correct case for your needs.

Listed below are the cases with the advantages and disadvantages of each, most cases cost more the larger they get
however very small cases are normally more expensive than the bigger ones!

Mini - Ideal for people who need a PC in a very small space, for the Micro ATX motherboards. Advantages - Look cool,
saves loads of space, added features. Disadvantages - Cost, little/no room for expansion, problems of overheating with fast
processors.

Slimline - Ideal for people who want a desktop computer, but dont want a huge box on their desk. Advantages - Look cool,
saves loads of space, added features. Disadvantages - Cost, little/no room for expansion.

Desktop - Cheap case solution for a PC. Advantages - Cheap to buy, loads of room for expansion. Disadvantages - They
are big, take up desk space. Can have overheating problems if the internal case design is poor.

Mini-Tower - Great for more desk space as it can be floor standing. Advantages - Cheap to buy, loads of room for
expansion. Disadvantages - Having it on the floor can make problems getting to the drives and cables that are too short.

Midi-Tower - Great for more desk space as it can be floor standing. Advantages - Cheap to buy, loads of room for
expansion. Disadvantages - Having it on the floor can make problems getting to the drives and cables that are too short.

Maxi-Tower - Great for more desk space as it can be floor standing. Advantages - Cheap to buy, loads of room for
expansion. Disadvantages - Having it on the floor can make problems getting to the drives and cables that are too short.

There are two basic common types for Computer Casing or chassis:

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 Tower Case – it is designed to stand vertically that will lessen the space being occupied. It comes in three
basic sizes: full, midi and mini.

 Desktop Case – it is designed horizontally which are usually used for office or home PCs. It comes in two
basic sizes: standard and slimline.

STANDARD COMPUTER BOX LAYOUT











CPU

The CPU or the Central Processing unit is the brain of the computer and the single most
important chip in the computer. Modern processors contain millions of transistors which are
etched onto a tiny square silicon called a die, which is about the with of a standard thumb.

The faster and better the processor the more quickly the computer will execute commands, so
your games will work faster and your applications will work more quickly and more responsively.

There are various chip producers the big two are Intel and AMD, both work well, though the Intel
chips still have a slight advantage on floating point calculations.

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Central Processing Unit (CPU) or Microprocessor - The CPU is the first thing that comes to
mind when many people think about a computer's speed and performance. It is the “heart and
brain of the computer”. The faster the processor, the faster the computer can think. In the early
days of PC computers, all processors had the same set of pins that would connect the CPU to
the motherboard, called the Pin Grid Array (PGA). These pins fit into a socket layout called
Socket 7. This meant that any processor would fit into any motherboard.
Current socket arrangements are often named for the number of pins in the PGA.
Commonly used sockets are:
 Socket LGA775 – For latest pentum 4, Pentum D, Series Core
Technologies
 Socket 478 - for older Pentium and Celeron processors
 Socket 754 - for AMD Sempron and some AMD Athlon processors
 Socket 939 - for newer and faster AMD Athlon processors
 Socket AM2 - for the newest AMD Athlon processors
 Socket A - for older AMD Athlon processors

With a processor, the faster the more expensive it is. Beware the price differences a lot for only a small increase in
performance, sometimes a clock speed increase of 0.2Ghz can cost £200 or more extra

RAM

RAM or Random Access Memory is the memory used by the computer while it is in
operation, this memory is described as volitile as it is wiped clean when the computer is
shutdown. Again the more RAM that you have installed in your computer the faster the
computer will operate.

There are various types of RAM, they vary becuase of the increasing in processor speeds and the
need for the RAM to keep up.

You can get RAM modules in various sizes i.e. their logical sizes, the amount of data they can hold.
This range from 1MB, 2MB, 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB.
Nowadays you will normally only find RAM in sizes of 128MB or above.

SIMM or DIMM? The two main types of RAM are SIMM (Single Inline Memory Module) and DIMM (Dual Inline Memory
Module) all modern computers use the DIMM type of RAM.

There are 4 main types of RAM listed below and then within these there are even more types under each of these main
types.

The traditional RAM type is DRAM (dynamic RAM). The other type is SRAM (static RAM). SRAM continues to remember its
content, while DRAM must be refreshed every few milli seconds. DRAM consists of micro capacitors, while SRAM consists
of off/on switches. Therefore, SRAM can respond much faster than DRAM. SRAM can be made with a rise time as short as 4
ns. It is used in different versions in L2 cache RAM (for example pipe line BURST Cache SRAM).

DRAM is by far the cheapest to build. Newer and faster DRAM types are developed continuously. Currently, there are at
least four types:

 FPM (Fast Page Mode)


 ECC (Error Correcting Code)
 EDO (Extended Data Output)
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 SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM)

Most Common DRAM used in PC’s are:

Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM)

1. Single Data Rate (SDR) SDRAM is a synchronous form of DRAM.

2. Double data rate (DDR) SDRAM was a later development of SDRAM, used in PC memory from 2000
onwards. DDR2 SDRAM is a minor enhancement on DDR-SDRAM that mainly affords higher clock speeds and
somewhat deeper pipelining.

MotherboardThe motherboard is the main circuit board inside the PC which holds the processor, memory and expansion
slots and connects directly or indirectly to every part of the PC. It's made up of a chipset (known as the "glue logic"), some
code in ROM and the various interconnections or buses.

PC designs today use many different buses to link their various components. Wide, high-speed buses are difficult and
expensive to produce: the signals travel at such a rate that even distances of just a few centimetres cause timing problems,
while the metal tracks on the circuit board act as miniature radio antennae, transmitting electromagnetic noise that
introduces interference with signals elsewhere in the system.

Shown below is an anotated diagram of the motherboard.

The move recently is the have as much as possible on the board so there is little need for PCI and AGP expansion slots, i.e.
you have onboard sound, graphics, LAN, modem, wireless LAN and even SCSI and RAID.

Graphics Card

A video adapter (alternate terms include graphics card, display adapter, video card, video
board and almost any combination of the words in these terms) is an integrated circuit card in
a computer or, in some cases, a monitor that provides digital-to-analog conversion, video
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RAM, and a video controller so that data can be sent to a computer's display. Today, almost all
displays and video adapters adhere to a common denominator de facto standard, Video
Graphics Array (VGA). VGA describes how data - essentially red, green, blue data streams -
is passed between the computer and the display.

There are 3 main types of graphics card, and are divided into these types by the way that they
connect to the motherboard. They are listed below:

 PCI (Perhiperhal Component Interface) - This is the oldest type of connection and thus
the slowest, though performance is not that great it does the job fine for Windows non-
graphics applications. Often the graphics cards for PCI are very cheap.
 AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) - With the need for faster graphics a new connector
was added to motherboard to allow faster graphics. The graphics cards available for
this are vastly faster than PCI offering better performance, though there is a price hike
too.

 PCI-Express - A new and most expensive type of card that fits into a PCI-Express slot
on a motherboard that supports it. The bandwidth to the card is much greater and thus
the performance of the card.
Monitor – an output device used for visual display of information.
If you are looking at your computer’s monitor for extended periods of time it is
important to find one which offers the maximum comfort for your eyes. The trend with
monitors is toward ever higher resolution with increased number of colors.

The table shows the types of monitor and their comparative features in terms of
resolution, scanning rate and number of colors.

TYPE OF Scanning
Resolution Color Palette
MONITOR Rate (KHz)
Monochrome
640 x 350 1 1 15.75
Composite
Color Composite 640 x 200 4 4 15.75
Monochrome (TTL) 720 x 350 1 1 18.40
RGA (CGA) 640 x 200 4 16 15.75
EGA 640 x 350 16 64 21.80
Multiscan 800 x 600 Unlimited Unlimited 15.5 to 35.0
PGA 640 x 480 Unlimited Unlimited 30
VGA 640 x 480 256 262.000 31.49
1200 x 800
Super High Varies Varies 30 to 75
+
1200 x 800
LCD Varies Varies 40 to 100
+
Sound Card 1200 x 800
Touch Screen Varies Varies 45 to 100
+
A type of expansion board on PC–compatible computers that allows the playback and
recording of sound, such as from a WAV or MIDI file or a music CD–ROM. Most PCs sold at
retail include a sound card.

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Quite commonly now motherboards come with built on sound cards, they seem to be perfectly
useable, although some of the older onboard sound cards are awful.

Any modern motherboard you should be okay with. If you want extra performance you can buy a
sound card, this fits in a spare PCI slot.

Network Card

A network card allows you to connect your PC to a network, it acts as the interface between
the network medium (cable, radio waves etc.) and your PC. There are various types of
network cable, however now you will only really find UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) CAT
5/5e/6 and wireless 802.11a/b/g network cards.

Again most motherboards have built on Network Cards and they are normally fine to use.

You can pick up a PCI network card for around £8 and up. Intel or 3com cards seem to be the
best and most stable in my experience, though they do cost a bit more.

You can connect two PCs together with some network cable or more than two with a hub/switch to which you connect more
PCs, see my networking section about this.

LAN Card/Ethernet Card/Network Interface Card (NIC) – an expansion card inserted in the computer to be connected
into a network.

Wireless LAN PCI LAN Card ISA LAN Card


Card
Router – an internetworking devices that passes data packets between networks and makes decision regarding the best
path for delivery of data on a network.

Networking Media
RJ 45 Connector

UTP Cable (Unshielded Twisted Pair)

Modems - (which is short for modulator/demodulator) converts the digital data signal of the PC into the
analog data signal that is used on the plain old telephone system (POTS) — which is also called the
public telephone switched network (PTSN).

Modems can be installed inside the PC in an expansion slot, or they can be attached to the PC externally
through a serial or USB port. An internal modem is installed like any other expansion card — into a compatible
expansion slot.

Internal Modem External Modem

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Hub or Switch – a common connection point of a network

Floppy Disk Drive

A floppy disk is a data storage device that comprises a circular piece of thin, flexible (hence
"floppy") magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic wallet. Floppy
disks are read and written by a floppy disk drive or FDD, not to be confused with "fixed disk
drive", which is an old IBM term for a hard disk drive.

Floppy disk drives use a small flat disk called a "diskette" the information is stored on it
magnetically.

There are various types of size of floppy disk, nowadays all you will find are High Density 1.44MB
3.5" disks. Below is a list of the various types of 3.5 Inch disks:

360KB - Single Density

720KB - Double Density

1.44MB - High Density

2.88MB - Ultra High Density

Floppy disks are on the way out, though they are still used when installing an OS on a computer, though with bootable CD-
ROMs even this use is on the way out it all seems to be going to CDs or USB pen drives (also called a "Think Stick.")

Hard Disk Drive

This is a non-volitile storage medium, all modern PCs will have one if not more than one. A
magnetic disk that stores data. Usually a fixed disk, permanently sealed in the drive, though
possibly a removable hard disk. A hard disk can store a huge amount of data up to 400GB on
one disk. Access time is much faster than soft (floppy) disks. The head that reads the data
floats over the hard disk's surface, while the head of the floppy disk touches the disk's surface
while reading or writing data.

The main thing that differenciates drives from one another, other than the size is the interface they
use to connect to the PC.

The two main PC interfaces are SCSI and IDE (ATA) they are listed below:

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) most commonly found on servers or Apple Macintoshes
SCSI allows for the "daisy-chaining" of up to 7 devices per bus. It has always had the image of being
faster, more expandable and more reliable though IDE keeps getting better.

IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) and ATA (AT Attachment) is what you will commonly need on your PC for home or small
office use a ATA drive is more than enough. It is cheaper to buy an ATA drive and ATA/IDE drive controllers are built on to all
motherboards as standard.

IDE drives are rated by ATA 33, ATA 66, ATA 100 and ATA 150 the larger the number the faster the drive can transfer data.
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Hard drives are one of the computer components that have plumetted in price over the years, now you can get a 40GB drive
for under £40.

Removable Storage Drive

Removable storage drives, things kind of like a removable hard disk became very popular but
now with the Internet and USB memory sticks they seem to have gone out of favour again.
The Iomega Zip drive was one of the most widely used, but suffered from the problem that
the storage capacity was small and the costs of the drive and media were expensive especially
for the larger sizes.

Often these drives work by having a hard disk drive like disk that is contained in a case
so it can be removed easily and transported protecting the disk and its contents.

A Iomega Zip Drive is around £80 and plugs into the USB port, nowdays to ensure there is no need for a Zip Drive on the
other computer you are moving data to, it just needs a USB port and away you go!

CD Drive

CD-ROM drives are necessary today for most programs. A single CD can store up to
650 MB of data (newer CD-Rs allow for 700 MB of data, perhaps more with
"overburn"). Fast CD-ROM drives have been a big topic in the past, but all of today's
CD-ROM drives are sufficiently fast. Of course, it's nice to have the little bits of extra
speed. However, when you consider CD-ROM drives are generally used just to install a
program or copy CDs, both of which are usually done rarely on most users' computers,
the extra speed isn't usually very important. The speed can play a big role if you do a
lot of CD burning at high speeds or some audio extraction from audio CDs (i.e.
converting CDs to MP3s).

CD-Writer Drive

CD-R (which stands for Recordable) drives (aka burners, writers) allow a user to create their
own CDs of audio and/or data. These drives are great for backup purposes (backup your
computer's hard drive or backup your purchased CDs) and for creating your own audio CD
compilations (not to mention other things like home movies, multimedia presentations, etc.).

With a CD writer you can burn to a CD once, it works by WORM (Write Once Read
Many). You can make multiple sessions on a disk so you can write a bit one day and
a bit more another up to the storage capacity. But unlike CD-RW you can't erase it all
and start again.

Normal capacities for these CDs are 650MB/74Min or 700MB/80Min. Note some older drives will not support 700MB/80Min
discs.

CD-Writer & Re-Writer Drive

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CD-R/RW (which stands for Recordable / ReWritable) drives (aka burners, writers) allow a
user to create their own CDs of audio and/or data. These drives are great for backup purposes
(backup your computer's hard drive or backup your purchased CDs) and for creating your
own audio CD compilations (not to mention other things like home movies, multimedia
presentations, etc.).

With a CD-R/RW you can write to a CD then erase its contents and rewrite over it all again.

Normal capacities for these CDs are 650MB/74Min or 700MB/80Min. Remeber RW discs will not always work in normal CD-
Drives and rarely work in Audio CD Players.

DVD-ROM Drive

DVD-ROM drives can store up to 4 GB of data or about 6 times the size of a regular CD (not
sure on the exact size, but suffice to say it's a very large storage medium). DVDs look about
the same and are the same size as a CD-ROM. DVD drives can also read CD-ROM drives, so
you don't usually need a separate CD-ROM drive.

DVD drives have become low enough inprice that there isn't much point in
purchasing a CD-ROM drive instead of a DVD-ROM drive. Some companies even
make CD burner drives that will also read DVDs (all in one). DVD's most practical
use is movies.

The DVD format allows for much higher resolution digital recording that looks much clearer than VCR recordings.

DVD-Writer Drive

DVD recordable drives are available in a couple of different formats - DVD-R or DVD+R
with a RW version of each. These are slightly different discs and drives (although some drives
support writing to both formats). One is not much better than the other, so it really boils down
to price of the media (and also availability of the media).

You can fit up to 4.3GB on a single DVD disc, and now some drives support multiple
layers with 2 x 4.3GB i.e. 8.6GB per disc.

All the CD standards are a bit confusing so here is a table showing them, note that some of these standards and the
equipment built to them have gone the way of Betamax and the Dinosaurs.

Now a run down of each of the standards and what each one can do.
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Standard Description
Compact Disc Read Only Memory - This is a disc that only allows for reading can store up to 650MB or
CD-ROM
700MB.
Compact Disc Recordable - This disc allows for you to write once to a disc, i.e. you can erase it and start
CD-R
again. Stores up to 650/700MB.
Compact Disc ReWritable - This disc allows for you to write many times on one disc, i.e. you can erase it
CD-RW
and start again. Stores up to 650/700MB.
DVD-ROM Digital Versatile/Video Disc - This disc only allows for reading can store up to 4.3GB.
Digital Versatile/Video Disc - Recordable -This disc allows for you to write once to a disc, i.e. you can
DVD R+ erase it and start again, can store up to 4.3GB. Note that one is plus and one minus you need to select
the correct disc for your drive.
Digital Versatile/Video Disc - Recordable - This disc allows for you to write once to a disc, i.e. you can
DVD R- erase it and start again, can store up to 4.3GB. Note that one is plus and one minus you need to select
the correct disc for your drive.
Digital Versatile/Video Disc - ReWritable - This disc allows for you to write many times on one disc, i.e.
DVD RW+ you can erase it and start again. Stores up to 4.3GB. Note that one is plus and one minus you need to
select the correct disc for your drive.
Digital Versatile/Video Disc - ReWritable - This disc allows for you to write many times on one disc, i.e.
DVD RW- you can erase it and start again. Stores up to 4.3GB. Note that one is plus and one minus you need to
select the correct disc for your drive.
Digital Versatile/Video Disc - Random Access Memory - DVD-RAM has the best recording features but it
DVD-RAM is not compatible with most DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. Think more of it as a removable
hard disk.
Any comments or suggestions please mail me, i'll try to update this page when I can, with more useful information about
computers and the like.

STORAGE DEVICES

USB Drive Floppy Disk Hard Disk Drive Other Storage Devices

Digital audio tape can also refer to a compact cassette with digital storage.

Digital Audio Tape (DAT or R-DAT) is a signal recording and playback medium developed by Sony in the mid 1980s. In
appearance it is similar to a compact audio cassette, using 4 mm magnetic tape enclosed in a protective shell, but is roughly
half the size at 73 mm × 54 mm × 10.5 mm.

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A hard disk drive [1] (often shortened as "hard disk"[2] or "hard drive"[3]), is a main storage device of the computer or is a non-
volatile storage device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces.

When installing two hard drives, it is necessary to check the jumper setting for the Master/Slave configuration. The jumper
pins for Master/Slave can be found between the power connector and IDE ribbon cable connector. Every hard drive
manufacturer has different pin configurations which is found on the information pasted in the hard drive itself

 Master is used for the first hard drive


 Slave is for the second hard drive.

USB flash drive consists of a NAND-type flash memory data storage device integrated with a USB (universal serial bus)
interface. USB flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, much smaller than a floppy disk (1 to 4 inches or 2.5 to
10 cm), and most USB flash drives weigh less than an ounce (28g). [1] Storage capacities typically range from 64 MB to 128
GB[2] with steady improvements in size and price per gigabyte. Some allow 1 million write or erase cycles [3][4] and have 10-
year data retention,[5] connected by USB 1.1 or USB 2.0.

Different RAM Types and its uses

The type of RAM doesn't matter nearly as much as how much of it you've got, but using plain old SDRAM memory today will
slow you down. There are three main types of RAM: SDRAM, DDR and Rambus DRAM.

SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM)


Almost all systems used to ship with 3.3 volt, 168-pin SDRAM DIMMs. SDRAM is not an extension of older EDO DRAM but
a new type of DRAM altogether. SDRAM started out running at 66 MHz, while older fast page mode DRAM and EDO max
out at 50 MHz. SDRAM is able to scale to 133 MHz (PC133) officially, and unofficially up to 180MHz or higher. As processors
get faster, new generations of memory such as DDR and RDRAM are required to get proper performance.

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DDR (Double Data Rate SDRAM)
DDR basically doubles the rate of data transfer of standard SDRAM by transferring data on the up and down tick of a clock
cycle. DDR memory operating at 333MHz actually operates at 166MHz * 2 (aka PC333 / PC2700) or 133MHz*2 (PC266 /
PC2100). DDR is a 2.5 volt technology that uses 184 pins in its DIMMs. It is incompatible with SDRAM physically, but uses a
similar parallel bus, making it easier to implement than RDRAM, which is a different technology.

Rambus DRAM (RDRAM)


Despite it's higher price, Intel has given RDRAM it's blessing for the consumer market, and it will be the sole choice of
memory for Intel's Pentium 4. RDRAM is a serial memory technology that arrived in three flavors, PC600, PC700, and
PC800. PC800 RDRAM has double the maximum throughput of old PC100 SDRAM, but a higher latency. RDRAM designs
with multiple channels, such as those in Pentium 4 motherboards, are currently at the top of the heap in memory throughput,
especially when paired with PC1066 RDRAM memory.

DIMMs vs. RIMMs


DRAM comes in two major form factors: DIMMs and RIMMS.

DIMMs are 64-bit components, but if used in a motherboard with a dual-channel configuration (like with an Nvidia nForce
chipset) you must pair them to get maximum performance. So far there aren't many DDR chipset that use dual-channels.
Typically, if you want to add 512 MB of DIMM memory to your machine, you just pop in a 512 MB DIMM if you've got an
available slot. DIMMs for SDRAM and DDR are different, and not physically compatible. SDRAM DIMMs have 168-pins and
run at 3.3 volts, while DDR DIMMs have 184-pins and run at 2.5 volts.

RIMMs use only a 16-bit interface but run at higher speeds than DDR. To get maximum
performance, Intel RDRAM chipsets require the use of RIMMs in pairs over a dual-channel
32-bit interface. You have to plan more when upgrading and purchasing RDRAM.

DRAM

SDRAM

SIMM
PRINTER

Printer is an output device which is connected to computer to get permanent output. The output of printer is also called
Hard Copy. There are two types of printers (a) Impact printers (b) non-impact printers.

The main categories are:

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- Laser printers,
- Ink-jets,
- Dot-matrix,
- Multifunctional, etc.
Normally home computer users will use ink-jets as they are relatively cheap but superior in quality to dot-matrix. Laser jets
and other printers created by new technology are more expensive and more commonly found in the offices.

Ink-jets(bubble-jets) p+rinters spray ionized tiny drops of ink onto a page to create an image. This is achieved by using
magnetized plates which direct the ink's path onto the paper in the desired pattern. Almost all ink-jets offer a color option
as standard, in varying degrees of resolution. Ink-jet printers are capable of producing high quality print which almost
matches the quality of a laser printer. A standard ink-jet printer has a resolution of 300 dots per inch, although newer
models have improved on that. As a rule color link-jet printers can also be used as a regular black and white printer.

Laser printers operate by shining a laser beam to produce an image on a drum. The drum is then
rolled through a pool, or reservoir, or toner, and the electrically charged portions of the drum pick up ink. Finally, using a
combination of heat and pressure, the ink on the drum is transferred onto the page. Laser printers print very fast, and the
supply cartridges work a long time. Color laser printers use the same toner-based printing process as black and white
( B/W) laser printers, except that they combine four different toner colors. Color laser printers can also be used as a
regular black and white laser printer.

Flatbed Scanners

Flatbed scanners will take up some desktop space but provide a lot of bang for the buck. They look like miniature printers
with a flip-up cover protecting the glass platen. Depending on their size, these can fit standard or legal-sized documents, and
the flexible cover allows you to scan large items such as books. These scanners are great for scanning the occasional
newspaper article, book chapter, or photograph; or for those who may need to scan or bulky items such as the cover of a
DVD. Flatbed scanners are often built into multifunction printers (MFPs). You can find decent flatbed scanners for $100 or
less.

Photo Scanners

Sheetfed scanners are smaller than flatbed scanners; as the name implies, you feed a document or photo into the scanner
rather than place it on top. You’ll win back some of that desktop space with a sheetfed scanner but you may sacrifice some
resolution in the process. If you’re only scanning documents, however, it may be a worthwhile trade, especially if you’ve got a
lot of them since you can feed them in bunches. With a flatbed scanner, you’ll have to scan one page at a time (unless it
comes with an automatic document feeder).
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Portable Scanners

Portable scanners are small enough to bring on the road. In fact, some are small enough to put in your pocket; pen scanners
are just a bit bigger than fountain pens and can scan the text of a document line by line. Some are as wide as a page and roll
easily down the page. They’re not going to give high-resolution scans and so aren’t good for scanning photographs or other
applications where you need a high-quality result. Since they’re not cheaper than flatbed scanners, they’re probably only
useful if you are a student, a researcher, or a spy. Figure on spending about $150 for one.

KEYBOARD
- is an input device, partially modeled after the typewriter keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, which act
as mechanical levers or electronic switches. A keyboard typically has characters engraved or printed on the keys and each
press of a key typically corresponds to a single written symbol. However, to produce some symbols requires pressing and
holding several keys simultaneously or in sequence. While most keyboard keys produce letters, numbers or signs
(characters), other keys or simultaneous key presses can produce actions or computer commands.

Different types of computer keyboards:

ERGONOMIC: Often when someone refers to an "ergonomic", "split", or "natural" keyboard, they mean the type
of keyboard which has an empty area in between two sets of keys, which have a different layout intended to be
more ergonomic than typical keyboard types.

AT: The abbreviation "AT" can be used when referring to any keyboard made for AT-class (most computers made
since the mid-1990s) computers, including standard PS/2 keyboards. However, it is most frequently used to
describe keyboards with a large 5-pin connector; these fit some pre-Pentium and Pentium I/II computers, but
require an "AT-to-PS/2" adapter to be connected to most computers, because they have a different (PS/2) jack.

USB: Some newer keyboards connect to a computer's USB port (a small rectangular port) rather than a PS/2
port. This doesn't offer any great benefit, as humans can't possibly type fast enough to take advantage of USB's
faster data transmission speeds. Some older computers lack USB ports.

ADB: This refers to a different type of accessory port/jack on some Apple computers which ADB keyboards can
be connected to. For computer types which don't have an ADB port, adapters are available which allow them to
be plugged into a USB port.

XT: Keyboards referred to with the abbreviation "XT" can be used with some older types of computers

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(8086/8088, XT-286) but won't work with most computers being used at present. Many of them have fewer keys
than modern keyboards. AT/XT keyboards are more versatile; they can be used with both older and newer
computers and usually have an AT/XT switch on the back. XT and AT/XT keyboard types are more likely to have
the larger, backward-"L" shaped "Enter" key, rather than the smaller straight kind on many newer keyboards.

MOUSE

(Plural mouses, mice, or mouse devices) is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional
motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with
one or more buttons. It sometimes features other elements, such as "wheels", which allow the user to perform various
system-dependent operations, or extra buttons or features can add more control or dimensional input. The mouse's motion
typically translates into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a Graphical User Interface.

LO1 PERFORM COMPUTER OPERATIONS

JOB SHEET # 1

DEMONSTRATION: Configure all parts you see below, give exact location (you can draw or label its components,
peripherals, and equipment)

1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8

9 10 11 12

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COMPONENTS OF A COMPUTER
In this lesson, we take a look at the different components of a computer system.

After this lesson, you will be able to


 Define the primary components that make up a computer

Estimated lesson time: 10 minutes

As you might expect, the components of a computer reflect the function of the machine—specifically, the three stages of
computing, as outlined in Lesson 1. Let's examine the components.

Input Devices
The following table lists some examples of devices that are used to put information into a
computer.

Device Description
Keyboard
The primary input device for a computer, allowing users to type information just as
they once did on a typewriter.

Mouse
Used with graphical interface environments to point to and select objects on the
system's monitor. Can be purchased in a variety of sizes, shapes, and
configurations.

Scanner
Converts printed or photographic information to digital information that can be
used by the computer. Works similar to the scanning process of a photocopy
machine.

Microphone

Works like the microphone on a tape recorder. Allows input of voice or music to be
converted to digital information and saved to a file.

CD-ROM/DVD drive
Compact disc–read only memory: stores large amounts of data on a CD that can
be read by a computer.

Processing

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The central processing unit (CPU) is the heart and brain of the computer. This one component, or "chip," is responsible for all
primary number crunching and data management. It is truly the centerpiece of any computer. It is so important that whole
generations of computer technology are based and measured on each "new and improved" version of the CPU.

When we refer to the CPU, we are usually speaking of the processor. However, the CPU
requires several other components that support it with the management of data to operate.
These components, when working in harmony, make up the primary elements of the PC we
know today. The following table lists these fundamental support components.

Component Description
Motherboard
The main circuit board of the computer. The large circuit board found
inside the computer. Without it, a computer is just a metal box. The
motherboard contains all the remaining items in this table; for all practical
purposes, it is the computer.

Chip set

A group of computer chips or integrated circuits (ICs) that, when working


together, manage and control the com- puter system. This set includes the
CPU and other chips that control the flow of data throughout the system.

Data bus

A group of parallel conductors (circuit traces) found on the motherboard


and used by the CPU to send and receive data from all the devices in the
computer.

Address bus A group of parallel conductors (circuit traces) found on the motherboard
and used by the CPU to "address" memory locations. Determines which
information is sent to, or received from, the data bus. An address bus is a
computer bus (a series of lines connecting two or more devices) that is
used to specify a physical address. When a processor or DMA-enabled
device needs to read or write to a memory location, it specifies that
memory location on the address bus (the value to be read or written is
sent on the data bus).
Expansion slots

Specialized sockets that allow additional devices called expansion cards


or, less commonly, circuit boards, to be attached to the motherboard.
Used to expand or customize a computer, they are extensions of the
computer's bus system.

Clock Establishes the maximum speed at which the processor can execute
commands. Not to be confused with the clock that keeps the date and
time.
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Battery
Protects unique information about the setup of the computer against loss
when electrical power fails or is turned off. Also maintains the external
date and time (not to be confused with the CPU's clock).

Memory

Stores temporary information (in the form of data bits) that the CPU and
software need to keep running.

Output Devices

The following table lists some common devices, known as peripherals, used exclusively for output.

Device Description
Printer
Generates a "hard copy" of information. Includes dot matrix, ink jet, and
laser varieties.

Monitor

The primary output device. Visually displays text and graphics.

Plotter
Similar to a printer, but uses pens to draw an image. Most often used with
graphics or drawing programs for very large drawings.

Speakers

Reproduce sound. Optional high-quality speakers can be added to provide


improved output from games and multimedia software.

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Input and Output

Some devices handle both input and output functions. These devices are called input/output (I/O) devices, a term you
will encounter quite often.

Device Description
Floppy disk drive
Mechanism for reading and writing to low-capacity, removable, magnetic
disks. Used to store and easily transport information.

Hard disk drive

High-capacity internal (and sometimes external) magnetic disks for storing


data and program files. Also called fixed disks.

Modem

Converts computer data to information that can be transmitted over


telephone wires and cable lines. Allows communication between computers
over long and short distances.

Network card
An expansion card that allows several computers to connect to each other
and share information and programs. Also called network interface card
(NIC).

CD recorder Also called CD-R. You can copy data to a CD with this device, but you can
only write to a section of the disc once. Variations on this type of device
include compact disc–rewritable (CD-RW) drives. These drives allow you to
read, write, and overwrite a special CD-ROM-type disc.
Tape drive
Large-capacity, magnetic, data storage devices. Ideal for backup and
retrieval of large amounts of data. Works like a tape recorder and saves
information in a linear format.

Other external storage devices include Iomega Zip drives, which allow users to store 100 MB or 250 MB of data on a single
Zip disk.

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Other Computer Parts and Accessories

the following table lists some examples of cable that are used to communicate to a system .

Cable/ Cord Description


IDE (ATA/PATA Cable) IDE is also known as ATA or PATA (Parallel ATA) and is a way of handling
a parallel data bus from a disk drive (well, usually a disk drive) to a
computer mother board where the disk controller is mostly embedded in
the disk drive.
SATA (Serial ATA) is an advance on this where the signals are sent over
SATA/ATA a serial bus not a parallel bus. The cable is much smaller and it will run
at higher speed and will support more than 2 drives on a bus.

Note: They are both ways to connect a disk drive to a computer. You use
the one that matches your computer mother board (old ones support IDE
only, newer ones will support SATA and may support both SATA and IDE)
and your disk drive (disk drives are either IDE or SATA, never seen one
with both available).
USB Cable

USB cable is a cable that is used to connect a device to a computer or


laptop or Printer, Video cameras, Mp3, mp4 even cell phone.

A/V Cable

A/V cable is to use for connect a device to tv and it has the video and
audio cable.

Heat Sink
An environment capable of absorbing heat from an object with which it is
in thermal contact without a phase change or an appreciable change in
temperature.
A protective device that absorbs and dissipates the excess heat
generated by a system.
USB HUB
A device that increases the number of USB ports on a PC. However,
since the hub plugs into one of the USB ports on the computer, the total
number of additional ports is minus one. For example, a four-port hub
adds three new ports. USB hubs are typically used to extend USB
sockets to the top of the desk for conveniently connecting external
peripherals.

Power Cord
A power cord, line cord, or mains cable is a cord or cable that
temporarily connects an electrical appliance to the distribution circuits of
an electrical power source via a wall socket or extension cord.

AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) A voltage regulator is an electrical regulator designed to automatically
maintain a constant voltage level.

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It may use an electromechanical mechanism, or passive or active
electronic components. Depending on the design, it may be used to
regulate one or more AC or DC voltages.

An uninterruptible power supply, also uninterruptible power


UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) source, UPS or battery/flywheel backup, is an electrical apparatus
that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source,
typically the utility mains, fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or
emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide
instantaneous or near-instantaneous protection from input power
interruptions by means of one or more attached batteries and associated
electronic circuitry for low power users, and or by means of diesel
generators and flywheels for high power users. The on-battery runtime of
most uninterruptible power sources is relatively short—5–15 minutes
being typical for smaller units—but sufficient to allow time to bring an
auxiliary power source on line, or to properly shut down the protected
equipment
Computer Fan
A computer fan is any fan inside a computer case used for cooling
purposes, and may refer to fans that draw cooler air into the case from
the outside, expel warm air from inside, or move air across a heatsink to
cool a particular component. The use of fans to cool a computer is an
example of active cooling.

Laptop/Notebook cooler
A laptop/notebook cooler, cooler pad or chill mat is an accessory for
laptop computers that helps reduce their operating temperature.
Normally used when the laptop's fan device is unable to sufficiently cool
the laptop, a cooling pad may house active or passive cooling methods
and rests beneath the laptop. Active coolers move air or liquid to direct
heat away from the laptop quickly, while passive methods may rely on
thermally conductive materials or increasing passive airflow.
TV Tuner or TV Video Capture

A TV tuner card is a computer component that allows television signals


to be received by a computer. Most TV tuners also function as video
capture cards, allowing them to record television programs onto a hard
disk.

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SUPPORT HARDWARE

Lesson 2 covered the basic hardware that makes up a computer. There are, however, additional components needed to
support safe computer operation. In this lesson, we look at several devices that protect and enhance the value of a
computer.

After this lesson, you will be able to

 Identify additional support hardware for a computer


 Understand the functions of some of the add-on hardware

Estimated lesson time: 5 minutes

In addition to the devices that support a computer's data-processing functions, there are others
that enhance its operation and performance. The following table lists some of these devices.

Device Description
Power supply
Converts a local power source (typically 110 volts AC in the United States)
to 3.3, 5, or 12 volts DC. Most power supplies also perform some basic line
conditioning and surge-protection functions.

Surge suppressor

Used to prevent large power spikes (for instance, lightning) from damaging
a computer.

UPS
Uninterruptible power supply. Acts as both a surge suppresser (to prevent
high-power spikes) and a power leveler to provide the computer with a
constant source of power. Can even provide power during a power failure or
interruption (although the duration depends on the UPS and the computer's
power consumption) so that the user can safely save data before shutting
down.

Case
The box that houses most of the system must provide an environment that
minimizes electrical interference to other electronic devices in the area. It
should provide a proper heat level for safe operation and bays and
connections for drives, circuit boards, and I/O devices.

Don't let the term support hardware lead you to underestimate the importance of these components. How important are
roads to commerce, or water to a city? Without a reliable power source, modern PCs would not exist. The internal power
supply keeps a clean current running to the system.
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SELF CHECK # 3

The following questions are intended to reinforce key information presented in this chapter. If you are unable to answer a
question, review the appropriate lesson and then try the question again. Answers to the questions can be found in Appendix
A, "Questions and Answers."

1. Describe the three stages of computing and the role of each.


2. What is the purpose of the central processing unit (CPU)?
3. Describe two devices that process information inside a computer.
4. What is a chip set?
5. Name and describe three input devices.
6. What type of device is a scanner?
7. Describe three output devices.
8. What is I/O?
9. Name three I/O devices.

ANSWER SELF CHECK # 3


1. Describe the three stages of computing and the role of each.
The three stages of computing are input, processing, and output. Input receives data from outside the
current process, or the machine. Processing is the phase where the data received from input is
operated on by the application code. Output is the result of the process. The output may actually be
the input for another process.
2. What is the purpose of the central processing unit (CPU)?
The central processing unit (CPU) is the heart and brain of the computer. This one component or "chip"
does all the number crunching and data management.
3. Describe two devices that process information inside a computer.
The CPU and the chip set process information inside a computer.
4. What is a chip set?
A chip set is a group of computer chips or ICs (integrated circuits) that, when working in harmony,
manage and control the computer system.
5. Name and describe three input devices.
The mouse, keyboard, microphone, and scanner are examples of input devices. The keyboard accepts
character data that is converted from impulses into an inert value, representing the character on the
individual key. A microphone converts analog pulses into a digital format that can be used or stored by
the computer. A scanner uses an optical array to convert data into a graphic format that can be used or
edited.
6. What type of device is a scanner?
A scanner is an input device.
7. Describe three output devices.
The printer, monitor, and speakers are examples of output devices. A printer produces a hard copy
form of the contents of a file, the monitor produces a visual representation of the user interface, and
the speakers convert digital information into an analog form that is understood as sound by the human
ear.
8. What is I/O?
Many devices can handle both input and output functions. These devices are called I/O devices.

Name three I/O devices.


The floppy disk drive, hard disk drive, mo

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