Introduction to hardware
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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 l.jpg

  • Concepts covered

  • Units of measurement

  • Processors

  • Memory

  • Input and output

  • Storage

  • Peripherals

Introduction to hardware

Basic units of measurement l.jpg

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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
What is hardware?

  • Hardware includes the physical components of a computer system e.g., a monitor, keyboard, mouse and the computer itself.

Processor8 l.jpg

A real processor


(maybe not…)

  • The brains of a computer

Processor speed l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
Types of memory

  • 1) RAM

  • 2) ROM

  • 3) Caches

1 ram random access memory l.jpg
1) RAM (Random access memory)

  • Often used for short term storage of information

Characteristics of ram l.jpg
Characteristics of RAM

  • Volatile

  • Used for temporary storage

  • Typical ranges 128 MB ~1 GB

2 rom read only memory l.jpg
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 l.jpg
Types of ROM

  • ROM

  • PROM



  • Flash Memory (e.g., a computer BIOS, memory for game consoles)

3 cache memory l.jpg
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 l.jpg
Input devices

  • Used by a person to communicate to a computer.

Person to computer

Common input devices l.jpg
Common input devices

  • Keyboard

  • Mouse

Output devices l.jpg
Output devices

  • Displays information from the computer to the a person.

Computer to a person

Most common output device l.jpg
Most common output device

  • A computer monitor

How many monitors work l.jpg
How many monitors work

  • Images are displayed with dots (pixels)

Picture from Beekman

Quality of monitors determined by l.jpg
Quality of monitors determined by

  • Size

  • Resolution

  • Color depth

  • Dot pitch

1 monitor quality size l.jpg
1) Monitor quality (size)

Measured diagonally

2 monitor quality resolution l.jpg
2) Monitor quality (resolution)

  • Columns of pixels x Rows of pixels

3 monitor quality color depth l.jpg
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 l.jpg
3) Monitor quality (effects of color depth)

  • 16 million colors

16 colors

2 colors

256 colors

Tradeoff between resolution and color depth l.jpg
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 l.jpg

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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
Types of storage

  • Optical

  • CD-ROM

  • DVD

  • 2) Magnetic

  • Hard drives

  • Floppy disks

1 optical cd dvd l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg

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 l.jpg

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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
2) Magnetic drives (floppy)

  • Pros

  • Portable

  • Cheap

  • Cons

  • Slow

  • Low storage capacity (1.44 MB)

2 magnetic drives structure l.jpg

Platters (hard drives only!)

Tracks (inside circles)

2) Magnetic drives (structure)

2 magnetic drives structure48 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
Motherboard (Systemboard, Mainboard)

  • Many parts of the computer are attached to it.

Buses l.jpg

  • Connects together the different parts of the computer.

  • Used for the transfer of information.

  • Width determines its speed

Ports l.jpg

  • 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)

Printers l.jpg

  • Allows text or graphics to be printed out on paper

  • Common types

  • Inkjet

  • Laser

How inkjet printers work l.jpg
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 l.jpg
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 l.jpg
How laser printers work

  • Use a laser to produce patterns on an ink drum using static electricity

Characteristics of laser printers l.jpg
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 l.jpg





Some other peripherals

Summary l.jpg

  • 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)