Computer hardware processing outside the box
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Computer Hardware & Processing Outside the Box CSC 101 1.0 September 9, 2010 Computers Are Data-Processing Devices A computer’s four major functions: Gathers data (users input data) Processes data into information Outputs data or information Stores data and information Plus

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Computer Hardware & ProcessingOutside the Box

CSC 101


September 9, 2010

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Computers Are Data-Processing Devices

  • A computer’s four major functions:

    • Gathers data (users input data)

    • Processes data into information

    • Outputs data or information

    • Stores data and information

  • Plus

    • Computers can communicate with other computers

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Data vs. Information

  • Data: Representation of a fact, figure, or idea

  • Information: Organized, meaningful data

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Bits and Bytes: The Language of Computers


Binary digit

0 or 1

Abbreviation “b”


8 bits

Abbreviation “B”

Each letter, number, and character is a string of eight 0s and 1s

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Computer Hardware & Computer Software

Computer Hardware

Computer Software

Intangible instructions that tell the hardware what to do.

Systems Software

Applications Software

  • Anything you can kick

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Basic Computer Hardware Components

  • System Unit – everything in the box

    • Motherboard, CPU, memory

  • Peripheral Devices – everything outside of the box

    • Keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer

  • Storage Devices – where data/information gets stored

    • Hard drive, CD/DVD, flash drive, memory cards

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Input Devices

  • Translates what humans understand into a format the computer understands

  • Different types of devices for different types of data

    • Keyboard

    • Mouse/pointing device

    • Microphone

    • Scanner

    • Digital camera

    • Stylus

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  • Used for entering text and commands.

  • The QWERTY layout is standard on most PCs.

  • Enhanced keyboard features include number, function, and navigation keys.

  • Notebook keys are smaller and use a function key to expand functionality.

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More Specialty Keyboards

  • Virtual laser keyboard

  • Configurable keyboard

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Point and Draw Devices

  • Optical mouse

    • Needs no mouse pad

    • Doesn’t need cleaning

  • Trackball

    • Easier on wrists

    • Stays stationary on desk

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More Point and Draw Devices

  • Wireless mouse

    • Uses radio or light waves

  • Touchpad

    • When a mouse just won’t do

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Other Text and Command Input Devices

  • Game controllers

  • Touchscreens

  • Digital pens

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Image Input Devices

Digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones


Live video

  • Still images

  • Video

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Sound Input Device

  • Microphones are used for:

    • Podcasts

    • Video-conferencing

    • Internet phone calls

    • Speech recognition

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Output Devices

Convert what the computer understands into a format that humans understand

Output can be in two formats

Hardcopy – tangible


Softcopy – in tangible

Video, sound, images on monitors

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LCD Monitors

  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display

  • Screens are grids made up of millions of pixels

  • Each pixel is represented by a bit pattern comprised of a combination of red, green, and blue

  • Liquid crystal is sandwiched between two transparent layers to form images

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LCD Monitor Characteristics

  • Resolution – total number of pixels, can be changed

  • Screen size

    • 21” monitor - 1680x1050 pixels

    • 19” monitor - 1440x900 pixels or 1280x1024 pixels

    • Wide screen vs. standard 4:3 ratio

  • Viewing angle – visibility from the side

  • Contrast ratio – brightest white to darkest black

  • Brightness – greatest amount of light when displaying pure white

  • Response time – time it takes for a pixel to change color

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Printer Categories

  • Impact printers

    • Dot-matrix

  • Nonimpact printers

    • Inkjet

    • Laser

  • Specialty printers

    • All-in-one

    • Plotters

    • Thermal

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Nonimpact Printers



More expensive device

Faster printing speed

Color lasers are becoming less expensive

  • Less expensive device

  • Print high-quality color images cost effectively

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Printer Characteristics

  • Speed (ppm)

  • Resolution (dpi)

  • Color output

  • Memory

  • Use and cost

  • Cost of consumables

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Storage Devices

  • Non-volatile

    • Almost permanent

  • Types of computer storage devices

    • Internal hard drive

    • USB flash drive

    • Memory cards

    • Optical drive

    • External hard drive

    • Online storage

  • Secondary storage

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Hard Drive

  • May be internal or external

    • Internal is faster

  • Storage capacity is up to 2 terabytes (TB)

  • Access time is measured in milliseconds

  • Data transfer rate is measured in megabits or megabytes per second

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How a Hard Drive Works

Composed of coated platters stacked on a spindle

Data saved to the disk: Pattern of magnetized spots– Spots = 1– Spaces = 0

Spots are translated into data

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Optical Storage

  • Optical media: Store data as tiny pits burned into a disc by a laser

    • Pre-recorded


    • Recordable

      • CD-R, DVD-R, BD-R

    • Rewritable

      • CD-RW, DVD-RW, BD-RE

  • Uses a burner to write to optical media

  • Uses two lasers to read optical media

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Flash Memory

  • Flash / thumb drive

  • Memory cards

  • Electron grid / gates

  • High storage capacity

  • Use very little power

  • Must unmount before removing from computer

  • Can cause security concerns

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Online Storage

  • Data stored on the Internet

  • Inexpensive

  • Data backup

  • Can access data anywhere

  • Can be password protected

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All Storage Media Will Fail

Back up your data!