Hardware 2 replies

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50 XP

24th July 2005

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#1 13 years ago

Hello everybody!

I was hoping that you guys could help me a little with some things. Currently, I've got to do an assignment with Computer Science, concerning the topic hardware. Now, I'm not a total newb to those things, but pretty much so.

The information I got from my teacher (which, somehow, doesn't totally correspond with Wikipedia), tells me that you can divide Hardware in two parts:

1. The components in the CPU: - Main board , including the processor, RAM memory, cache memory, - Storage Devices such as hard discs, floppy drives - Expansion slots graphics cards, sound cards and more, like PCI-slots, AGP, PCI-E.

2. Peripheral - Computer Screen -Key board, mouse, pointing device, joystick, touch screen - Computer printer USB memory sticks, scanners, digital photo cameras.


Now; first question: did I miss anything (important)? If you guys have anything to add to this list for either the CPU or Peripheral list, please say so. (And, if you think the way the list is organized isn't correct, you can tell me as well.)

Secondly; do you guys have good site for computer ads/ anything with specifications? I've done some search, (like the Dell site, newegg), but found nothing I could really use. I need this, because I need something (e.g. an advertisement) which has a powerful PC with the specifications. Then I've got to write stuff about the specs of the PC.

I might get stuck with this assignment, so you can expect more (annoying) questions :uhm:.

Thanks in advance and cheers, Griffin.

M!tch VIP Member

intermittently erratic

130,367 XP

12th March 2004

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#2 13 years ago

power supply, without that no computer will work, and also cd and dvd drives, not really storage, but the main way to install software and backup files from the pc to disc such as cd or dvd disc's.

i dont know whether external hard drives would be classed as storage or peripherals

Thinking about it.


...burning angel wings to dust

50 XP

14th February 2004

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#3 13 years ago

Whoever wrote up the information given to you is living in the past, and you can tell them that I said so.

The term "CPU" properly describes the processor itself, and nothing more. It stands for central processing unit. Now, go back 20 or so years, to the days when monitors started becoming true peripherals (as opposed to being integrated into the unit). Some people took to calling the case--the computer proper--a CPU. That continued well into the '90s (I can remember it being used when I was in high school), but is nevertheless inaccurate. A teacher should know better.

Now then, here's a proper breakdown of what you can expect to find inside a computer case: Motherboard: Sometimes also referred to as a mainboard. This is probably the single most important piece. It's the platform upon which everything else is built. The motherboard (hereafter referred to as 'mobo') contains all the onboard hardware controllers, and can have a huge impact on system performance. On Intel platforms, the all-important memory controller is on the northbridge. AMD puts this on the CPU. CPU: Central processing unit, as above. This mounts onto the mobo, typically in a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket any longer. Intel's LGA775 is basically the same concept with the pins on the mobo instead. The CPU is the literal brain of the computer, and has a hand in just about every instruction performed by the computer. Pretty self-explanatory. System Memory: Often referred to as RAM, SDRAM, DDR/DDR2 (platform dependent), system memory is basically a cache. It's faster with respect to access than a physical disk, at the cost of being volatile (it loses it's contents when power is interruped). Increasing system memory can have massive positive impacts on certain tasks, particularly those that involve large files, like video editing or content creation. Graphics Adapter: More commonly known as video cards, these are sometimes integrated into the mobo, sometimes discrete. They've got an onboard processor that is responsible for drawing graphics. Most any longer also have onboard memory used to store rendered textures, ready to display. Physical Disks: Hard drives. Mechanical, nonvolatile memory used for mass storage. They use magnetism to orient magnetic material into certain positions into a string of binary digits that form meaningful files, when taken together. These are controlled by ICs on the mobo. Optical Drives: CD and DVD drives. They use a laser to read data stored on a disc. Pretty self-explanatory. Like fixed disks (above), these are also controlled from an IC on the motherboard. Expansion Cards: Also referred to as riser or daughter cards (the latter of which isn't entirely accurate), these collectively take in any card you'd plug into the mobo: sound cards, network adapters, modems, USB controllers, etc. Sound cards and network adapters are probably the most common in personal computers. Expansion cards come in a fairly wide array, from the now-obsolete 8- and 16-bit ISA, to PCI (33MHz, 32-bit datapath), PCI-X (extended, the slots are longer, have 64-bit datapaths and come clocked at speeds from 33MHz to 566MHz or so), AGP (a variant of PCI which has a 66MHz clock) and PCIe (express, which uses a scalable "lane" system and is intended to replace PCI, PCI-X and AGP in the coming years). Power Supply: Pretty straightforward. It takes an AC input and converts it to [relatively] clean DC power to run everything in the computer. The current ATX specification uses +12V for most devices (this rail allows for higher wattage at lower currents than +5V or +3.3V, though hard drives still use +5V and PCI cards are currently +3.3V), which is why people make such a fuss over +12V rails. Peripherals: This is pretty much everything else. Anything that exists outside the computer and gets plugged into it is considered a peripheral. This includes monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, headphone amps, speakers, et alia.

As for ads, you seem to have visited Dell's site (they do have specs, y'know). Falcon NW, VoodooPC and Alienware should also have plenty to say on specs in adverts. They all make some pretty hot kit.