IST 291 – Chapter 1

Report
OST 162-001
Computer Basics
What is a Computer
A computer is a device that accepts input,
processes data, and produces an output
according to a series of stored instructions.
 Computers are made of 2 main parts –
hardware and software.

Hardware is the physical pieces of a computer
 Software is a program or operating system that
an be installed on a computer
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Data vs. Information
Data vs. information – data refers to symbols
that represent facts or ideas…these really don’t
mean anything until they are processed, or put in
some sort of context. Then they become
information…so data is raw and information is
processed.

CPU – central processing unit – main processing
chip within a computer…called the “brain”

Memory – RAM – stores data before while it is
being processed by the CPU.
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Input and Output Devices
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Input devices
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scanner
keyboard
mouse
microphone
joystick
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Output devices
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monitor
printer
speakers
Peripheral Devices

Peripheral devices – an optional piece of
equipment that can be added to a computer
to enhance functionality
Joystick
 Graphics Tablet
 Speakers
 Wireless USB
 Bluetooth headphones
 Etc.

Files and Software

Types of files – data files – store
information, executable files – do something

Types of software
system software – includes O/S and other
utilities
 application software – includes applications like
office, and browser

Data Representation
Data Representation – the process of transforming
data into a form that computers can use for
processing.
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Digital vs. Analog
Digital data is represented by distinct pulses that
stand for 1s and 0s.
 Analog data is represented by a continuous wave of
information.
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Main Computer Components
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Main components – Motherboard, processor
(CPU), Memory (RAM), Storage (CD ROM,
Hard Drive, Floppy), Expansion Cards (NIC,
Sound, Video)
CPU – Central Processing Unit
CPU – made up of the control unit and the
ALU.
 Speed is measured in Gigahertz today.
 Word Size – how many bits can be
processed at a time (either 32 or 64)
 Cache – high speed memory for the
processor…similar to ram
 CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) or
RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer)
 Most popular brands = AMD and Intel

RAM, ROM and CMOS
RAM – Random Access Memory – “The processors
waiting room”
 Volatile – requires the computer to be one in order
to store info.
 Virtual memory – hard drive space can appear as
RAM to your Operating System.
 DIMM – Dual Inline memory module.

ROM – Read Only Memory – a type of memory that
is built in the mother board that contains a BIOS
software – BIOS = Basic Input Output System

CMOS – Complementary metal oxide semiconductor
memory – used to store initial and configured settings
in the BIOS.
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Storage devices
Storage is where data / information is
stored in a semi-permanent way. There are
3 main categories of storage
 Magnetic Storage
 Optical Storage
 Solid State Storage
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Magnetic Storage

Uses magnets to raise and lower tiny
particles which represent 1s and 0s on a
surface

Hard Drive
 Read-Write
Head
 Platters (Hard Disks)

Floppy disk
 Magnetic
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Film
Tape Back Up
 Sequential
Storage
 Magnetic Film
Optical Storage
CDs and DVDs
 These uses pits
and lands to
reflect light. The
pits and lands
make distinct
density changes
which represent
1s and 0s.
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Solid State Storage
No moving parts, therefore faster!
 Flash memory sticks
 Secure Digital
 USB Thumb Drives
 Etc.
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Questions?

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