inside the system unit

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Identifying the components inside our System Unit:

Identifying the components inside our System Unit Prepared by: Engr. Ronnel Agulto

The System Unit:

The System Unit The System Unit houses the central processing unit, memory modules, expansion slots, and electronic circuitry as well as expansion cards that are all attached to the motherboard; along with disk drives, a fan or fans to keep it cool, and the power supply. All other devices (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc., are linked either directly or indirectly into the system unit.

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The Motherboard and CPU:

The Motherboard and CPU The motherboard is the main circuit board of a microcomputer. It contains the central processing unit (CPU), the (BIOS), memory, mass storage interfaces, serial and parallel ports, expansion slots, and all the controllers for standard peripheral devices like the keyboard, disk drive and display screen. BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System . It is the lowest-level software in the computer; it acts as an interface between the hardware (especially the chipset and processor) and the operating system. The BIOS provides access to the system hardware and enables the creation of the higher-level operating systems that you use to run your applications. The BIOS is also responsible for allowing you to control your computer's hardware settings, for booting up the machine when you turn on the power or hit the reset button, and various other system functions.

Random Access Memory (RAM):

Random Access Memory (RAM) RAM is Primary Storage, also called internal storage. Also called as secondary storage Serves as computer’s workspace, storing all or part of the program that is being executed, as well as data being used by the program. RAM stores the operating system programs that manage the operation of the computer. RAM is Volatile storage: Power goes, data goes! More memory = larger workspace Large programs = large number of instructions Measured in Bytes (KB, MB, GB, etc.) Data/instructions are copied into memory as needed. Not enough memory or corruption of data/instructions in memory can cause crash.

Why is RAM so important?:

Why is RAM so important? Aside from the processor, the two most important factors affecting a computer system’s performance are RAM and hard disk capacity. Hard disks are typically huge, with GBs of storage, so the primary limiting factor is the amount of installed RAM. Without enough RAM, the operating system must swap out storage space with your hard disk. The OS creates a Paging File (swap file) to supplement RAM (workspace). This is Virtual Memory. Virtual memory is inherently slow! RAM speed can typically be 120,000 times FASTER than the hard disk—so the less you must rely on virtual memory (swapping files between RAM and hard disk), the faster your system will perform.

ROM: Read Only Memory:

ROM: Read Only Memory ROM is nonvolatile. ROM chips contain permanently written data, called firmware (your BIOS lives here). ROM contains the programs that direct the computer to load the operating system and related files when the computer is powered on. ROM chips are usually recorded when they’re manufactured. Flash memory is reprogrammable memory. You can upgrade the logic capabilities by simply downloading new software. This saves the expense of replacing circuit boards and chips.

And, then what? Coding Schemes define the patterns of bytes:

And, then what? Coding Schemes define the patterns of bytes Coding schemes, such as ASCII, EBCDIC, and Unicode, provide the means to interact with a computer that recognizes only bits (on/off states). When you press a letter on a keyboard, the electronic signals are converted into binary form and stored into memory. The computer then processes the data as bytes of information and converts them to the letters you see on the monitor screen or on a printed page. SOURCE:

Expansion Cards:

Expansion Cards Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Expansion Cards plug into the expansion slots found on the motherboard. Convenient way to add extra ports or expand the computer’s capabilities.

Expansion Slots and Cards:

Expansion Slots and Cards Expansion slots are sockets to provide direct connections to the common electrical bus, allowing you to insert a circuit board into the motherboard. Typical Expansion Cards: Video Cards Sound Cards Modem Cards Network Interface Cards (NIC) Laptops and portable computers typically have PC Cards – thin credit-card sized devices used to add memory, disk drives, etc. For further research about connecting devices to your computer, look up: Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) Universal Serial Bus (USB) Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE)

Non-Volatile Storage Devices:

Non-Volatile Storage Devices Disk drives Internal & External Hard drives Removable disk drives Floppy disks (1.4 MB) ZIP disks (100/250 MB) CD-ROM (700MB), DVD-ROM (~5GB/side) read only (-ROM), write once (-R), re-writeable (-RW) Combination drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM, CD-RW/DVD-R Many other forms Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, CompactFlash, and SmartMedia

External Hard Drives:

External Hard Drives IEEE 1394, commonly called Fire Wire, is a very fast external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of up to 400Mbps (in 1394a) and 800Mbps (in 1394b). Products supporting the 1394 standard go under different names, depending on the company. Apple, which originally developed the technology, uses the trademarked name FireWire . Other companies use other names, such as and Lynx, to describe their 1394 products. A single 1394 port can be used to connect up 63 external devices. In addition to its high speed, 1394 also supports isochronous data -- delivering data at a guaranteed rate. This makes it ideal for devices that need to transfer high levels of data in real-time, such as video devices. Although extremely fast and flexible, 1394 is also expensive. Like USB, 1394 supports both Plug-and-Play and hot plugging, and also provides power to peripheral devices 60 GB External Hard Drive (Fire Wire) Universal Buslink Corp. Iomega 60GB Portable USB Hard Drive Further research: Universal Serial Bus (USB)

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