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Concepts covered Units of measurement Processors Memory Input and output Storage Peripherals. Introduction to hardware. Byte 8 bits. Basic units of measurement. Bit bi nary digi t smallest unit of measurement two possible values. Word

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Introduction to hardware

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introduction to hardware

Concepts covered

  • Units of measurement
  • Processors
  • Memory
  • Input and output
  • Storage
  • Peripherals

Introduction to hardware

basic units of measurement


  • 8 bits
Basic units of measurement
  • Bit
  • binary digit
  • smallest unit of measurement
  • two possible values
  • Word
  • The number of adjacent bits that can be stored and manipulated as a unit
  • 32, 64 for home computers, 128 for the most powerful
large units of measurement storage size
Large units of measurement (storage size)
  • Note: use powers of two because computer storage (bytes) are based on the basic unit (bit).

Kilobyte (kB) – a thousand bytes (1,024 = 210)

Megabyte (MB) - a million (1,048,576 = 220)

Gigabyte (GB) – a billion (1,073,741,824 = 230)

Terabyte (TB) – a trillion (1,099,511,627,776 = 240)

~ 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets full of text

Petabyte (PB) – a quadrillion (1.125899906843e+15 = 250)

small units of measurement speed
Small units of measurement (speed)
  • millisecond (ms) – a thousandth of a second (1/1,000 = 10-3)

microsecond (μs) - a millionth of a second (1/1,000,000 = 10-6)

nanosecond (ns) – a billionth of a second (1/1,000,000,000 = 10-9)

what is hardware
What is hardware?
  • Hardware includes the physical components of a computer system e.g., a monitor, keyboard, mouse and the computer itself.

A real processor


(maybe not…)

  • The brains of a computer
processor speed
Processor speed
  • Determined by many things
  • Type of processor
  • Clock speed (as measured in Hertz e.g., MHz, GHz)
  • * But also consider the rest of the computer!
relationship between clock speed and times between pulses
Relationship between clock speed and times between pulses
  • Examples
  • 1 Hz = 1 pulse is sent out each second (1 second passes between each pulse)
  • 10 Hz = 10 pulses are sent out each second (0.1 seconds passes between each pulse)
  • :
  • 25 MHz machine = 25 million pulses sent out each second (0.000 000 04 seconds between each pulse or 40 ns between pulses)
some common types of processors
Some common types of processors
  • Intel processors (usually run some version of MS-Windows)
  • Type of processor Clock speed
  • Celeron 500 MHz – 1.3 GHz
  • Pentium III 650 MHz – 1.2 GHz (1200 MHz)
  • Pentium IV 1.4 GHz (1400 MHz) – 2.2 GHz (2200 MHz)
  • PowerPC processors in Apple computers
  • Type of processor Clock speed
  • G3 500 MHz – 700 MHz
  • G4 733 MHz or 867 MHz
cisc processors and risc processors
CISC processors and RISC processors
  • CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computers
  • e.g., Pentium; 68000, 68020…(old Apple computers)
  • RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computers)
  • e.g., PowerPC (new Apple computers)
  • Difference
  • Instructions on RISC computers are simpler?
  • Architecture differs between the processors.
types of memory
Types of memory
  • 1) RAM
  • 2) ROM
  • 3) Caches
1 ram random access memory
1) RAM (Random access memory)
  • Often used for short term storage of information
characteristics of ram
Characteristics of RAM
  • Volatile
  • Used for temporary storage
  • Typical ranges 128 MB ~1 GB
2 rom read only memory
2) ROM (Read only memory)
  • You can read but not change the contents
  • Contents written to (burnt) by special equipment
  • Non-volatile
types of rom
Types of ROM
  • ROM
  • PROM
  • Flash Memory (e.g., a computer BIOS, memory for game consoles)
3 cache memory
3) Cache memory
  • Stores less than RAM but much faster
  • Can be either part of the processor (L1) or separate from it (L2)
  • Both are much faster than regular memory RAM
input devices
Input devices
  • Used by a person to communicate to a computer.

Person to computer

output devices
Output devices
  • Displays information from the computer to the a person.

Computer to a person

most common output device
Most common output device
  • A computer monitor
how many monitors work
How many monitors work
  • Images are displayed with dots (pixels)

Picture from Beekman

quality of monitors determined by
Quality of monitors determined by
  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Color depth
  • Dot pitch
1 monitor quality size
1) Monitor quality (size)

Measured diagonally

2 monitor quality resolution
2) Monitor quality (resolution)
  • Columns of pixels x Rows of pixels
3 monitor quality color depth
3) Monitor quality (Color depth)
  • The number of possible colors that can be displayed for each pixel.



e.g. monochrome (single color)

2 possible values

Uses up 1 bit of space

3 monitor quality effects of color depth
3) Monitor quality (effects of color depth)
  • 16 million colors

16 colors

2 colors

256 colors

tradeoff between resolution and color depth
Tradeoff between resolution and color depth
  • There is a limit for both

e.g. 16 bit color at 1600 x 1280 = 2 bytes per pixel * 1600 columns of pixel * 1280 rows of pixels = 4.096 MB

4 monitor quality dot pitch

dot pitch

4) Monitor quality (dot pitch)
  • Dot pitch is the distance between the center of each color dot (mm)

3 guns form 1 color dot

refresh rate of monitors
Refresh rate of monitors
  • How fast the screen is redrawn

Again there is a tradeoff between resolution and refresh (70 Hz / 70 times per second is usually a good minimum)

types of monitors
Types of monitors
  • CRT – use three electron guns (shown on previous slides)

2) LCD (flat screen) – use a liquid crystal display

crt s vs lcd s
CRT’s vs. LCD’s
  • CRT
  • Cost less for the same quality
  • Sharper images possible (more colors, higher resolution)
  • Can view images from any angle
  • LCD
  • Less eye strain (no flicker and less glare)
  • Uses less space
  • Use less power
  • Weigh less
  • Lower radiation
what is the difference between storage and memory
What is the difference between storage and memory?
  • Memory
  • keep the information for a shorter period of time
  • faster
  • more expensive
  • “scrap paper for the computer”
  • Storage
  • the information is retained longer
  • slower
  • cheaper
  • “file cabinet for the computer”
types of storage
Types of storage
  • Optical
  • CD-ROM
  • DVD
  • 2) Magnetic
  • Hard drives
  • Floppy disks
1 optical cd dvd
1) Optical CD & DVD
  • CD ROM (read only)
  • CD-R: needs a CD-burner to create (record) to a CD
  • Cheap and portable storage of a lot of data (650 MB)
  • CD-RW: can write and erase CD to reuse it (rewritable)
  • DVD-ROM (DVD-ROM/RW’s) – stores even more info
1 cd s and dvd s recording information
1) CD’s and DVD’s (recording information)
  • Use special compounds

By default the surface of the CD is reflective

A weak laser (read laser) is shot at the disc to determine the reflective portions


1 cd s and dvd s recording information42

The melted part no longer reflects light

1) CD’s and DVD’s (recording information)
  • A strong laser (write laser) heats selected parts of the disc.


1 cd s and dvd s erasing the information

The re-melted part reflects light again

1) CD’s and DVD’s (erasing the information)
  • A laser (erase laser) heats selected parts of the disc (not quite as hot as a write laser).


2 magnetic drives hard drives
2) Magnetic drives (hard drives)
  • Stores a lot of information (~20 GB – 80 GB)
  • Slower than memory (but faster than other forms of storage)
  • Spin rate (5400, 7200, 10000 rpm)
2 magnetic drives floppy
2) Magnetic drives (floppy)
  • Pros
  • Portable
  • Cheap
  • Cons
  • Slow
  • Low storage capacity (1.44 MB)
2 magnetic drives structure48
2) Magnetic drives (structure)

A cylinder (a bunch of sectors on different platters, one on top of the other – hard drives only)

motherboard systemboard mainboard
Motherboard (Systemboard, Mainboard)
  • Many parts of the computer are attached to it.
  • Connects together the different parts of the computer.
  • Used for the transfer of information.
  • Width determines its speed
  • Are used to connect the computer to outside devices
  • Serial, parallel
  • Ports on older computers (slower, 1 port to one device)
  • USB (Universal serial bus)
  • Standard on newer computers (faster, up to 127 devices on 1 port)
  • Firewire
  • Fast (video)
  • Allows text or graphics to be printed out on paper
  • Common types
  • Inkjet
  • Laser
how inkjet printers work
How inkjet printers work.
  • Use a series of nozzles to spray drops of ink directly on the paper

Printer heads

Ink nozzles

characteristics of inkjet printers
Characteristics of Inkjet printers
  • Printer costs less (black and white ~ $70.00, color ~$100.00+)
  • Cost per page is more
  • Slower
  • Text is lower quality, color pictures may be higher quality
how laser printers work
How laser printers work
  • Use a laser to produce patterns on an ink drum using static electricity
characteristics of laser printers
Characteristics of Laser printers
  • Printers cost more (black and white ~ $300.00+, color ~$3000.00+)
  • Cost per page is less
  • Faster
  • Text is higher quality, color pictures may be lower quality
some other peripherals





Some other peripherals
  • Important concepts
  • What is hardware and what are common units of measurement used
  • Processors – what do they do, what are their characteristics, types of processors
  • Memory – what is it, types of memory
  • What is the purpose of an input device, types of input devices
  • What is an output device, types of output devices
  • General characteristics of computer monitors
  • Storage devices – different types and how they work
  • Other parts of a computer (beyond the simple model) – motherboard, buses, ports
  • Common peripherals (printers, scanners, cameras)