Saturday, October 31, 2009

Computer basic concepts

It is important to have a firm understanding of why a computer reacts to the commands of their end-user. It is not essential for you to know everything but it is important to have a basic concept.

There are three main components required for desktop/laptop computing.

  • Hardware   
  • Software    
  • Control

Computer Hardware - An Introduction

Computer Hardware is the foundation of the computer system. Hardware is the physical component of the computer. The hardware necessary for the most basic computing system includes a central processing unit (CPU), a monitor, and a keyboard.

The central processing unit (CPU) is the part of the computer system where data processing takes place. The microprocessor or CPU chip is the brain of the computer. All of the information interpretation and processing occur within this single chip.

Memory: RAM and Storage Memory

The main memory is the part of the CPU that stores the programs that the computer needs to operate. Computer memory takes two forms, permanent or storage, which remains intact between computing sessions and temporary or random access memory (RAM) which exists only for the current computing session. RAM memory is lost when shutting-down the computer, unlike storage memory.

The instructions that the computer receives from the user and the information the computer processes are stored in temporary RAM memory during the computing session. As long as the computer is on, this memory remains active and intact, but when you shut - down the computer this information is lost. To prevent the information from being lost, first save the information on a disk for permanent storage, then shutdown the computer.

The measure of computer memory capacity is in bytes of information. A byte is the amount of storage space required holding a single character (a letter or number); a kilobyte is approximately one thousand bytes and a megabyte is approximately one million bytes. Both temporary Random Access Memory (RAM) and permanent storage (disk are measured in bytes of information).

1 kilobyte = 1000 bytes
1 megabyte = 1,000,000 bytes
1 gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes
1 terabyte = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes

Computer basic concepts - part two
Computer basic concepts - part three
Computer basic concepts - part four
Computer basic concepts - part five
Computer basic concepts - part six
Computer basic concepts - part seven