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COMPUTER STUDIES YEAR 7

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS DATE:____________________

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS

WHAT ARE COMPUTERS?

Computers do not only include laptops or desktops which you might imagine.
Computers can be classified into 2 groups;

1. SPECIAL-PURPOSE

- designed to do a specific
job

- usually expensive

- E.g. ATM, computers in aircrafts, MRT trains, traffic light


system….

2. GENERAL-PURPOSE COMPUTERS

- designed to do many kinds of jobs such as entertainment, Word


processing, surfing the Web etc.

- Usually cheaper

DEFINITION OF A COMPUTER
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COMPUTER STUDIES YEAR 7

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS DATE:____________________

 A computer is an electronic machine, operating under the control of


instruction stored in its own memory, that can accept data (input),
manipulate the data according to specified rules ( process), produce
results (output), and store the result for future use.

 In other words, computers are use to process data and turn them
into useful information and also store them for future use.

WHY DO WE USE COMPUTERS?

 Computers are used in many different kinds of place, e.g. banks, hospitals,
offices, and even schools.

 Computers are used to do word processing, graphic designs, calculation,


entertainments and many more use.

 By using computers, difficult tasks and works which usually took very long
time to finish can be done in a very short time and easily.

WHY IS A COMPUTER A POWERFUL TOOL?

A computer’s power is measured from its capability to perform the information


processing cycle operations with speed, reliability, accuracy, its capacity
to store data, instruction and information, and its ability to communicate with
other computers.

 Speed

 Reliability –

 Accuracy – Computers can process large amount of data and generate


results, provided the data is entered correctly. If inaccurate data is
entered, the results will also be incorrect. This computing principle is
known as GIGO which stands for Good input, Good
Output or Garbage in, Garbage out

 Storage – ability to store enormous amount of


data.

 Communicate – able to communicate ( share ) data.

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COMPUTER STUDIES YEAR 7

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS DATE:____________________

CATEGORIES OF COMPUTERS

There are 4 major categories of computers;

1. PERSONAL COMPUTERS

i. Desktop computers

ii. Portable Computers

2. MINICOMPUTERS

3. MAINFRAME COMPUTERS

4. SUPERCOMPUTERS

PERSONAL COMPUTERS

 A Personal Computers (PC) is a computer that can perform all of its


input, processing, output, and storage activities by itself. It contain at least
one input device, one output device, one storage device, memory and a
processor (CPU).

 Two popular series of Personal Computers are the

i. PC which uses Windows Operating System

ii. Apple Macintosh which uses Macintosh


Operating System

 There are 2 types of PCs : Desktops and Portable


Computers

 Use mostly by the Public

MINICOMPUTERS

 A Minicomputer is a more powerful and larger than Personal Computer.

 Minicomputers can support up to 4000


connected users at the same time.

 Users often access minicomputers via a


terminal , which is a device with a monitor and a
keyboard.

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COMPUTER STUDIES YEAR 7

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS DATE:____________________

 A minicomputer can also act as a server if connected in a network. In this


case, Personal Computers are used to access the Minicomputers

 Often used by companies, banks, etc.

MAINFRAME COMPUTERS

 A Mainframe Computer is a much larger, more expensive, and more


powerful computer than PC and
Minicomputer.

 It can handle hundreds or thousands of


connected users simultaneously.

 Mainframe computers can store


tremendous amount of data,
instructions and information.

 Often used in telecommunication


companies e.g. DST, B.Mobile, Telbru etc.

SUPER COMPUTERS

 A Super Computer is the fastest, the most expensive and the most
powerful computer.

 It can process more than 64 billion instruction in a second.

 Supercomputers are used for application requiring complex and


sophisticated mathematical calculations.

 E.g. used in weather forecasting, nuclear energy research, oil exploration


etc.

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COMPUTER STUDIES YEAR 7

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS DATE:____________________

PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT (PDA)

A PDA was originally developed as an electronic organiser. They aimed to


replace diaries, 'to do' lists and address books. However, rapid development has
resulted in palm tops and PDAs becoming almost cut down computers in their
own right.

PDAs are now available with cut down versions of the main Office software, e.g.
Microsoft Word, Excel and Access. The reason they are so successful is that they
usually have the ability to synchronize with a desktop PC. So, any work you have
been doing on your PDA can be uploaded to your PC and the files updated.

Many PDAs can now also access the Internet and can be used to research web
pages, send emails or even play games. Some even double up as phones.
Palmtops are very similar to PDAs in their use. The main difference is that
Palmtops have a built in keyboard.

EMBEDDED COMPUTERS

An embedded computer is a single chip that contains all of the elements


that are essential for any computer i.e. RAM, ROM , CPU, Input , Output ,
Clock. Another term often used for an embedded computer is a 'micro
controller'. This is because the main purpose of an embedded computer is
to control something. All of the following contain an embedded computer:

• Telephones

• TVs

• Cameras

• Washing machines

• Microwave cookers

• Dishwashers

• Cars