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Computer Systems

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Computer Systems

Nat 4/5 Computing Science

Types of Computer and Performance

By the end of this lesson:

- Pupils at Nat 4 level will be able to:
- Describe and use clock speed as an indicator of performance

- Pupils aiming for Nat 5 will be able to
- Describe the uses of embedded, smartphone, laptop, desktop and supercomputers.
- Compare features of embedded, smartphone, laptop, desktop and mainframe computers:
- Discuss the type and speed of processors

Nat 4/5

- Clock speed is the simplest measure of performance
- This is the amount of operations that the computer can perform in one second
- Modern home CPU’s operate in the 2.4-3.2 GHz range
- This means at least 2,400,000,000 instructions per second

Nat 4/5

- Some processors have 2, four or six cores
- 2,3,4,6, 8 or 16 cores are the usual options

- This means that there are 2, 4 or 6 smaller processors built into a single processor.
- Each core can work on a single instruction
- The faster the processor the more heat they generate.

- Each core can work on a single instruction

So which is better?

Dual core at 3.5Ghz or Quad core at 2.4Ghz?

Nat 4/5

- Other processors might need a very low power usage
- For example using in netbooks, mobile phones or other portable devices.

Nat 4/5

- When comparing performance it helps if the processors are of similar type etc.
- For example you cannot compare the clock speed of a Dual Core processor to that of a Quad core processor.
- The fastest supercomputer only has a clock speed of 1.6 Ghz (but it does have1,572,864 of them!)
- 1.6 Pb of RAM might help too!

Nat 4/5

- As technology improves the types of computer produced change.
- Social factors also change types of popular computers
- For example laptop sales in the last few years have surpassed desktops.
- There are an increase in smart phones

- And almost every piece of equipment will have a computer ‘embedded’ inside it

Nat 4/5

- For each type of system you need to identify:
- The features of the computer system, a purpose for each system, advantages and disadvantages for each system.

Laptop

Desktop

Smartphone

Embedded

Tablet

Mainframe

Nat 4/5

- In 1965 the co-founder of Intel(Gordon Moore) made a prediction that:
- “The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.”

- So far this ‘law’ has held true but there are physical limits that will be reached.
- Current processors are manufactured using 32 nanometre transistors (switches)
- Intel has developed transistors so small that about 200 million of them could fit on the head of a pin

You need to be familiar with the following types of computers

- Embedded, laptop, desktop, supercomputer and smartphone
And compare them in terms of:

- Type and speed of processor
- Size of main memory
- Backing storage
- Input and output devices

Nat 4/5