COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS

FUNDAMENTALS
OS ROM BIOS CPU
Operating System (e.g. DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Novell NetWare, OS/2, SCO Unix, Banyan Vines, ..) Read-Only Memory Basic Input Output System The microchip or Central Processing Unit

Byte and bits Just as a word is made up of letters, a byte is made up of bits. While words have a variable number of letters, all bytes have eight bits. A bit represents a positive or negative electric charge. The computer interprets these electric states as either the digits 0 (negative charge) or 1 (positive charge). These are the only two digits the computer can understand. Because of this, computers work on a binary number system, instead of the decimal system we are used to. The word bit stands for binary digit. The computer interprets the negative and positive electric charges as binary digits (bits), and groups eight bits together. The sequence of the eight 1s and 0s identifies one byte from another. There are 256 different possible 0-1 combinations the eight bits can make (2 to the power of 8 = 256), and so a computer can identify 256 different characters. This is a sufficient number to represent all of the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet, the digits 0-9, all the punctuation marks, a symbol used by the computer for a space, special characters such a * and I, other symbols used specifically by the computer, and still leave plenty of possible symbols for future uses. 8 bits = 1 byte 1,024 bytes = 1 kilobyte (K) 1,024 kilobytes - 1 megabyte (MB) 1,024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte (GB) 1,024 gigabytes = 1 terabyte (TB) kilo- k 1000^1 1024^1 = 2^10 = 1,024 mega- M 1000^2 1024^2 = 2^20 = 1,048,576 giga- G 1000^3 1024^3 = 2^30 = 1,073,741,824 tera- T 1000^4 1024^4 = 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776 peta1000^5 1024^5 = 2^50 = 1,125,899,906,842,624 exa1000^6 1024^6 = 2^60 = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 zetta- 1000^7 1024^7 = 2^70 = 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 yotta- 1000^8 1024^8 = 2^80 = 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 Name Abbr. Kilo Mega Giga Tera Peta Exa K M G T P E Size 2^10 = 1,024 2^20 = 1,048,576 2^30 = 1,073,741,824 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776 2^50 = 1,125,899,906,842,624 2^60 = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976

Zetta Yotta

Z Y

2^70 = 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 2^80 = 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) If the object is embedded, then the illustration remains under control of the original application. If the object is linked, changes you make through your application are made directly to the source file. Every file format in the world Search for file extensions Computer Unit Converter

Peripherals are attach to your PC via ports:

Serial Port - 115 Kbps FireWire - IEEE 1394 - 400 Mbps
Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI)

USB - 12 Mbps = 12 million bits per second USB 2.0- 480 Mbps

(PCI) A standard for connecting peripherals to a personal computer, designed by Intel and released around Autumn 1993. PCI is supported by most major manufacturers including Apple Computer. It is technically far superior to VESA's local bus. It runs at 20 - 33 MHz and carries 32 bits at a time over a 124-pin connector or 64 bits over a 188-pin connector. An address is sent in one cycle followed by one word of data (or several in burst mode).

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)
A bus specification by Intel which gives low-cost 3D graphics cards faster access to main memory on personal computers than the usual PCI bus.
AGP dynamically allocates the PC's normal RAM to store the screen image and to support texture mapping, z-buffering and alpha blending. Intel has built AGP into a chipset for its Pentium II microprocessor AGP cards are slightly longer than a PCI card. AGP operates at 66 MHz, doubled to 133 MHz, compared with PCI's 33 Mhz. AGP allows for efficient use of frame buffer memory, thereby helping 2D graphics performance as well. AGP provides a coherent memory management design which allows scattered data in system memory to be read in rapid bursts.

PCI Express Architecture
PCI Express is the latest I/O interconnect technology that will replace the existing PCI. With a bus bandwidth 4 times higher than that of AGP 8X interface, PCI Express x16 bus performs much better than AGP 8X in applications such as 3D gaming. PCI Express x1 also outperforms PCI interface with its exceptional high bandwidth up to 500MB/s. The high speed PCI Express interface creates new usages on desktop PCs e.g., Gigabit LAN, 1394b, and high-speed RAID systems.

TEXT
Text Typically, the term text refers to text stored as ASCII codes Binary

BINARY

There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented 2. 1. Digits are normally combined together in groups to create larger numbers. So you could express things this way if you wanted to be explicit: . You might hear an advertisement that says. Although it is widely actually binary data (unless it uses some used on large IBM computers. <mathematics> A number representation consisting of 0's and 1's used by practically all computers because of its ease of implementation using digital electronics and Boolean algebra. /eb'see"dik/. on vacation. For example. Of course Code Pronounced eb-see-dik. as are file sizes when you examine them in a file viewer. punctuation. EBCDIC is an IBM code for all digital data. It is understood that in the number 6. ASCII . Objects that are not text include graphics. use ASCII codes.000s place. numbers." while the 5 is filling the 10s place. [/eb's*levels) but the distinction between binary dik/. is representing characters as numbers. the 7 is filling the "1s place.1 gigabytes of hard disk space. including characters. without any formatting). or /eb"k*-dik/ ] and text is well established. <file format> Any file format for digital data encoded as a sequence of bits but by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111. etc. most other computers. then you have heard the words bits and bytes. (rare) system with more than two discrete including PCs and Macintoshes. numbers (if they're not stored as ASCII characters).357. and program code.Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange for executable machine code. This is the world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters. 6.American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Both RAM and hard disk capacities are measured in bytes. COMPUTER State-of-the-art Obsolete Microsecond Keyboard Mouse Floppy Portable Computer Disk Crash Power User System Update Any computer you can't afford Any computer you own TERMINOLOGY The time it takes for your state-of-the-art computer to become obsolete The standard way to generate computer errors An advanced input device to make computer errors easier to generate The state of your wallet after purchasing a computer A device invented to force businessmen to work at home. A digit is a single place that can hold numerical values between 0 and 9. "This computer has a 32-bit Pentium processor with 64 megabytes of RAM and 2. the 3 is filling the 100s place and the 6 is filling the 1.(that is. The term is often used EBCDIC ." Decimal Numbers The easiest way to understand bits is to compare them to something you know: digits. and on business trips A typical computer response to any critical deadline Anyone who can format a disk from DOS A quick method of trashing ALL of your software Bits and Bytes If you have used a computer for more than five minutes. not consisting of a sequence of printable characters (text).357 has four digits.

we would probably have a base-8 number system. counting in decimal and binary looks like this: 0= 0 1= 1 2 = 10 3 = 11 4 = 100 5 = 101 6 = 110 7 = 111 8 = 1000 9 = 1001 10 = 1010 11 = 1011 12 = 1100 13 = 1101 14 = 1110 15 = 1111 16 = 10000 17 = 10001 . but if we happened to evolve to have eight fingers instead. On the other hand. Starting at zero and going through 20. but you use a base of 2 instead of a base of 10. Assuming that we are going to represent the concept of "raised to the power of" with the "^" symbol (so "10 squared" is written as "10^2"). You can have base-anything number systems. You could wire up and build computers that operate in base-10.we work with decimal digits every day. Bits Computers happen to operate using the base-2 number system. That should all feel pretty comfortable -. there are lots of good reasons to use different bases in different situations. another way to express it is like this: (6 * 10^3) + (3 * 10^2) + (5 * 10^1) + (7 * 10^0) = 6000 + 300 + 50 + 7 = 6357 What you can see from this expression is that each digit is a placeholder for the next higher power of 10. In fact. Therefore. like this: 1011. and therefore use binary digits in place of decimal digits. The reason computers use the base-2 system is because it makes it a lot easier to implement them with current electronic technology. That makes counting in binary pretty easy. but they would be fiendishly expensive right now. bits have only two possible values: 0 and 1. starting in the first digit with 10 raised to the power of zero. So: (1 * 2^3) + (0 * 2^2) + (1 * 2^1) + (1 * 2^0) = 8 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 11 You can see that in binary numbers. The word bit is a shortening of the words "Binary digIT. How do you figure out what the value of the binary number 1011 is? You do it in the same way we did it above for 6357. So computers use binary numbers.(6 * 1000) + (3 * 100) + (5 * 10) + (7 * 1) = 6000 + 300 + 50 + 7 = 6357 Another way to express it would be to use powers of 10. a binary number is composed of only 0s and 1s. base-2 computers are relatively cheap." Whereas decimal digits have 10 possible values ranging from 0 to 9. The neat thing about number systems is that there is nothing that forces you to have 10 different values in a digit. also known as the binary number system (just like the base-10 number system is known as the decimal number system). each bit holds the value of increasing powers of 2. Our base-10 number system likely grew up because we have 10 fingers.

you would find that each byte contains not a letter but a number -. and you add 1 to it. Save the file to disk under the name getty. and these collections are called bytes. When Notepad stores the sentence in a file on disk. Then use the explorer and look at the size of the file. if you use Notepad in Windows 95/98 to create a text file containing the words. That gives each sample a range from 0 to 65.. as shown here: 0 = 00000000 1 = 00000001 2 = 00000010 . You can see the 127 standard ASCII codes below. Computers store text documents.txt. both on disk and in memory. With 8 bits in a byte. per sample.18 = 10010 19 = 10011 20 = 10100 When you look at this sequence. using these codes. In the transition from 15 to 16 this effect roles over through 4 bits. you see carrying first take place in the binary system. Why are there 8 bits in a byte? A similar question is. If you were to look at the file as a computer looks at it. the file will also contain 1 byte per character and per space.535. "Four score and seven years ago. So on disk.. the numbers for the file look like this: F o u r a n d s e v e n . They are almost always bundled together into 8-bit collections. 0 and 1 are the same for decimal and binary number systems. In the ASCII character set. The upper 128 characters handle special things like accented characters from common foreign languages. the bit becomes 0 and the next bit becomes 1. 254 = 11111110 255 = 11111111 In the article How CDs Work. If a bit is 1. turning 1111 into 10000. "Four score and seven years ago" in it. You will find that the file has a size of 30 bytes on disk: 1 byte for each character. Try this experiment: Open up a new file in Notepad and insert the sentence. you learn that a CD uses 2 bytes. At the number 2. you can represent 256 values ranging from 0 to 255.the number is the ASCII code corresponding to the character (see below). "Why are there 12 eggs in a dozen?" The 8-bit byte is something that people settled on through trial and error over the past 50 years. Most computers extend the ASCII character set to use the full range of 256 characters available in a byte. Each character consumes a byte. For example. the file size will jump to the appropriate number of bytes. If you add another word to the end of the sentence and re-save it.. 65534 = 1111111111111110 65535 = 1111111111111111 Bytes are frequently used to hold individual characters in a text document. like this: 0 = 0000000000000000 1 = 0000000000000001 2 = 0000000000000010 .ASCII character 32). or 16 bits. Bytes Bits are rarely seen alone in computers.. each binary value between 0 and 127 is given a specific character." Notepad would use 1 byte of memory per character (including 1 byte for each space character between the words -.

147.32 is the ASCII code for a space.70 111 117 114 32 97 110 100 32 115 101 118 101 110 By looking in the ASCII table.627.741. or exactly 2. Assume that we want to add 452 and 751: 452 + 751 . mega and giga.576 2^30 = 1. as in Kbytes.648 bytes.921.048. Kilo Mega Giga Tera Peta Exa Zetta Yotta K M G T P E Z Y Size 2^10 = 1. MB and GB). .303. So when someone says. digits.180. or approximately 2 billion bytes.824 2^40 = 1. followed by punctuation.073. Mbytes and Gbytes or KB. We could expand these decimal numbers out to binary numbers (so 32 = 00100000) if we wanted to be technically correct .024 2^20 = 1. Note the use of 32 for a space -. you get into prefixes like kilo.976 2^70 = 1. < 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 = > ? @ A B C D E F 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 G H I J K L M N O P 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 Q R S T U V W X Y Z 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 [ \ ] ^ _ ` a b c d 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 e f g h i j k l m n 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 o p q r s t u v w x 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 y z { | } ~ DEL Lots of Bytes When you start talking about lots of bytes.624 2^60 = 1. The space character is the 33rd value. except that the value of each bit can be only 0 or 1.925. giga is about a billion. as in kilobyte.125." what he or she means is that the hard drive stores 2 gigabytes. M and G.504.776 2^50 = 1. let's start with decimal addition and see how it works. The following table shows the multipliers: Name Abbr. Standard ASCII Character Set The first 32 values (0 through 31) are codes for things like carriage return and line feed.620. / 0 1 2 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : . Binary Math Binary math works just like decimal math. you can see that just three CDs worth of data will fill the whole thing! Terabyte databases are fairly common these days. mega is about a million.717. megabyte and gigabyte (also shortened to K.899.099. you can see a one-to-one correspondence between each character and the ASCII code used.411. "This computer has a 2 gig hard drive.208. How could you possibly need 2 gigabytes of space? When you consider that one CD holds 650 megabytes.819.424 2^80 = 1.629.846.614. and there are probably a few petabyte databases floating around the Pentagon by now.842. To get a feel for binary math.176 You can see in this chart that kilo is about a thousand.483.706.591.152. uppercase characters and lowercase characters.511.174.906.606.that is how the computer really deals with things. and so on. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 NUL SOH STX ETX EOT ENQ ACK BEL BS TAB LF 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 VT FF CR SO SI DLE DC1 DC2 DC3 DC4 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 NAK SYN ETB CAN EM SUB ESC FS GS RS 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 US ! " # $ % & ' ( 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 ) * + .

memory can also hold data that is being used or processed by the program. An address provides a way of picking out one particular piece of information from among the millions stored in memory. Next.is a complete computation engine . 4 + 7 + 1 (because of the carry) = 12.) When the CPU executes a program. Bytes are made up of 8 bits each. it sends the address of that information as a signal to the memory. The CPU can also store information in memory by specifying the information to be stored and the address of the location where it is to be stored. 0 + 0 + 1 = 1. so you save the zero and carry the 1 over to the next place. When the CPU needs to access the program instruction or data in a particular location. If you translate everything over to decimal you can see it is correct: 2 + 7 = 9.also known as a CPU or central processing unit -. In a modern desktop computer. if you want -. that program is stored in the computer's main memory (also called the RAM or random access memory). 5 + 5 = 10. For the last digit. This is the Central Processing Unit. (It can execute programs written in other languages if they are first translated into machine language. So the answer is 1203. A COMPUTER IS A COMPLEX SYSTEM consisting of many different components. The job of the CPU is to execute programs. the memory responds by sending back the data contained in the specified location.of the computer is a single component that does the actual computing. you start at the right: 2 + 1 = 3. No carrying there. and it can directly execute a program only if it is expressed in that language. and the sequence number of a location is called its address. For the third digit. Binary math works just like decimal math.--1203 To add these two numbers together. Finally. A computer is built to carry out instructions that are written in a very simple type of language called machine language. Main memory consists of a sequence of locations. Each type of computer has its own machine language. the CPU is a single "chip" on the order of one square inch in size. A bit can hold the value 0 or 1. so save the zero and carry the 1. or CPU. Binary addition works exactly the same way: 010 + 111 --1001 Starting at the right. so save the 0 and carry the 1. Next. but each bit can have a value of only 0 or 1. In addition to the program. There really is nothing more to it -. 0 + 1 = 1 for the first digit. But at the heart -. 0 + 0 + 1 = 1. You've got 1 + 1 = 10 for the second digit. No problem. These locations are numbered. So the answer is 1001. so you save the 2 and carry the 1.or the brain. Microprocessor History A microprocessor -.bits and bytes are that simple! About CPU and executing programs . A program is simply a list of unambiguous instructions meant to be followed mechanically by a computer. Quick Recap y y y Bits are binary digits. 0 + 1 + 1 = 10.

and holds it only as long as the power is turned on.000 Pentium 1993 3. THE CPU SPENDS ALMOST ALL ITS TIME fetching instructions from memory and executing them. Installing a new device on a system generally has two steps: . A scanner that converts images into coded binary numbers that can be stored and manipulated on the computer. The Pentium 4 can execute any piece of code that ran on the original 8088. All of these microprocessors are made by Intel and all of them are improvements on the basic design of the 8088. Prior to the 4004. 64-bit bus 32 bits.35 0. Somehow the CPU has to communicate with and control all these devices.000 29. but programs have to be loaded from disk into main memory before they can actually be executed. Name 8080 8088 80286 80386 80486 Date Transistors Microns Clock speed 1974 1979 1982 1985 6. introduced in 1971. But it was amazing that everything was on one chip.all it could do was add and subtract.8 0. a complete 8-bit computer on one chip.000 6 3 1. 64-bit bus 1989 1. and it could only do that 4 bits at a time. If you are familiar with the PC market and its history. However. 8-bit bus 16 bits 32 bits 32 bits 32 bits. y y y y The list of devices is entirely open ended. 64-bit bus 32 bits. which consists of software that the CPU executes when it has to deal with the device. introduced in 1974. The CPU can only do this by executing machine language instructions (which is all it can do. there is a device driver. So.500. you know that the PC market moved from the 8088 to the 80286 to the 80386 to the 80486 to the Pentium to the Pentium II to the Pentium III to the Pentium 4. (Note that main memory holds only a comparatively small amount of information.5 1 0.000 Part 2: Polling Loops and Interrupts .000.25 0. for each device in a system. The first microprocessor was the Intel 4004. introduced in 1979 and incorporated into the IBM PC (which first appeared around 1982).000 275.) A keyboard and mouse for user input.000 Pentium III 1999 9. A complete system contains other devices such as: y A hard disk for storing programs and data files.000 134.5 GHz Data width 8 bits 16 bits.5 1. The 4004 powered one of the first portable electronic calculators. The 4004 was not very powerful -. The first microprocessor to make it into a home computer was the Intel 8080.200.000 times faster! The following table helps you to understand the differences between the different processors that Intel has introduced over the years. but it does it about 5. the CPU and main memory are only two out of many components in a real computer system. The first microprocessor to make a real splash in the market was the Intel 8088.000 Pentium II 1997 7.18 2 MHz 5 MHz 6 MHz 16 MHz 25 MHz 60 MHz 233 MHz 450 MHz 1.500.100. period). A hard disk is necessary for permanent storage of larger amounts of information. engineers built computers either from collections of chips or from discrete components (transistors wired one at a time). and computer systems are built so that they can easily be expanded by adding new devices.that is fabricated on a single chip. A network interface that allows the computer to communicate with other computers that are connected to it on a network. A monitor and printer which can be used to display the computer's output.000 Pentium 4 2000 42. 64-bit bus 32 bits.

The wires carry data. since the CPU would not be able to communicate with it. . is for the CPU to keep checking for incoming data over and over. interrupts are often used instead of polling. The CPU responds to this signal by interrupting what is doing. Control signals can be used. How does the CPU know that the data is there? One simple idea. For example. and control signals. and installing the device driver software. you should understand that this is purely mechanical process: A device signals an interrupt simply by turning on a wire. although polling is very simple. Then the CPU jumps to some predetermined memory location and begins executing the instructions stored there. it processes it. This method is called polling. and network interface can produce input that needs to be processed by the CPU. (This interrupt handler is part of the device driver software for the device that signalled the interrupt. Without the device driver. The CPU can waste an awful lot of time just waiting for input. mouse. To avoid this inefficiency. An interrupt is a signal sent by another device to the CPU. it returns to what it was doing before the interrupt occurred. a keyboard interrupt is sent to the CPU. it saves enough information about what it is currently doing so that it can return to the same state later. A computer system consisting of many devices is typically organized by connecting those devices to one or more busses. processing it. This information consists of the contents of important internal registers such as the program counter. Once it has handled the interrupt. Unfortunately. since the CPU polls the input devices continually to see whether they have any input data to report. The CPU responds to an interrupt signal by putting aside whatever it is doing in order to respond to the interrupt. it does that by restoring its previously saved state. by one device to alert another that data is available for it on the data bus. Those instructions make up an interrupt handler that does the processing necessary to respond to the interrupt. the actual physical device would be useless. A bus is a set of wires that carry various sorts of information between the devices connected to those wires. when you press a key on your computer keyboard.plugging the device physically into the computer. An address directs the data to a particular device and perhaps to a particular register or location within that device. Whenever it finds data. devices such as keyboard. The CPU is built so that when that wire is turned on. addresses. reading the key that you pressed. A fairly simple computer system might be organized like this: Now. which turns out to be not very satisfactory. Again. for example. and then returning to the task it was performing before you pressed the key.) At the end of the interrupt handler is an instruction that tells the CPU to jump back to what it was doing. it is also very inefficient.

Unfortunately. and many programmers. those that can are said to use preemptive multitasking. devoting a fraction of a second to each user in turn. (This signal is sent synchronously. The interrupt handler can then read the requested data. The CPU will continue running the same thread until one of several things happens: y y The thread might voluntarily yield control. Just as important in Java and in modern programming in general is the basic concept of asynchronous events. the thread might request some data from the disk drive. To do preemptive multitasking. Since the CPU is so fast. there are technical differences between threads and processes. Each of the individual tasks that the CPU is working on is called a thread. The thread might have to wait for some asynchronous event to occur. an interrupt will "wake up" the thread so that it can continue running. However. under the control of a regular program. the CPU has a chance to switch from one thread to another. at unpredictable times.) At any given time. a computer needs a special timer device that generates an interrupt at regular intervals. to give other threads a chance to run. But even modern personal computers with a single user use multitasking. they do often find themselves writing event handlers. which. Interrupts make it possible for the CPU to deal efficiently with events that happen "asynchronously". When a timer interrupt occurs. that is. For example. threads have become increasingly important as computers have become more powerful and as they have begun to make more use of multitasking. it sends an interrupt signal to the CPU. When the CPU needs data from the disk. threads are built into the Java programming language as a fundamental programming concept. it can quickly switch its attention from one user to another. While it is waiting. (Or a process. have no need to deal with interrupts and interrupt handlers. the disk drive is extremely slow. the CPU goes on with some other task.) Then. the thread is said to be blocked. Data on the disk has to be copied into memory before it can be accessed. on the scale of speed at which the CPU operates. As another example of how interrupts are used. and other threads have a chance to run. such as 100 times per second. everything that happens is "synchronized" with everything else. only one thread can actually be executed by a CPU. They can concentrate on the different tasks or threads that they want the computer to perform. When the disk drive has the data ready.Interrupts allow the CPU to deal with asynchronous events. most users. the user might be typing a paper while a clock is continuously displaying the time and a file is being downloaded over the network. The CPU can only access data directly if it is in main memory. it sends a signal to the disk drive telling it to locate the data and get it ready. This application of multitasking is called timesharing. are called asynchronously when specified events occur. and indeed ordinary programmers. In fact. like interrupt handlers. Some computers can be used by several people at once. When the event occurs. Indeed. consider what happens when the CPU needs to access data that is stored on the hard disk. Not all computers can "forcibly" suspend a thread in this way. While programmers don't actually deal with interrupts directly. In the regular fetch-and-execute cycle. whether the thread that is currently running likes it or not. The thread might use up its alloted slice of time and be suspended to allow other threads to run. can ignore threads and multitasking altogether. y Ordinary users. All modern computers use multitasking to perform several tasks at once. things happen in a predetermined order. but they are not important here. the details of how the computer manages to get all those tasks done are not relevant to them. For example. Such "event-driven programming" has a very different feel from the more traditional straight- . or it might wait for the user to press a key. instead of just waiting the long and unpredicatalble amount of time the disk drive will take to do this.

There is often a central controller which broadcasts the instruction stream to all the processing elements. computers are integer machines and are capable of representing real numbers only by using complex codes. cache memory that is external to the microprocessor. Common operating systems include UNIX. In general. Dictionary MMX . transistor A device composed of semiconductor material that amplifies a signal or opens or closes a circuit. Invented in 1947 at Bell Labs. including computers. Windows.c:\dos specify in which directories DOS searches for commands or programs prompt $p$g make the DOS prompt display the current directory dir list files in the current directory in one column dir /w list files in five columns . the software that does all the interrupt handling and the communication with the user and with hardware devices is called the operating system. By the way. transistors have become the key ingredient of all digital circuits. many microprocessors come with a chip. such as word processors and World Wide Web browsers. essential software without which a computer would not be able to function. It's used to communicate between the motherboard and other components in a computer system. Today's microprocessors contains tens of millions of microscopic transistors. also called the secondary cache. called a floating point unit (FPU ). L2 cache memory. Also. frontside bus The bus within a microprocessor that connects the CPU with main memory. specialized for performing floatingpoint arithmetic. Although.Matrix Math eXtensions A set of 57 extra instructions built into some versions of Intel's Pentium microprocessors for supporting SIMD operations on multimedia and communications data types. resides on a separate chip from the microprocessor chip. because DOS does not distinguish case. The operating system is the basic. Because mathematics with floating-point numbers requires a great deal of computing power. L2 cache Short for Level 2 cache. synchronous programming. FPUs are also called math coprocessors and numeric coprocessors. DOS. Other programs. are dependent upon the operating system. help list commands (only in DOS versions 5 or later) help command get help on the DOS command "command" command /? list switches for the DOS command "command" path=c:\windows. floating-point In essence. and the Macintosh OS. you can type these commands in either upper or lower case letters. Single Instruction/Multiple Data The classification under Flynn's taxonomy for a parallel processor where many processing elements (functional units) perform the same operations on different data.though. more and more microprocessors are including L2 caches into their architectures. The most popular code for representing real numbers is called the IEEE Floating-Point Standard . What are some examples of common DOS commands? Note: replace the drive letter as needed for your own computer.

000 (one million) times slower than a nanosecond.dir /p list files one page at a time dir *. your CPU will have to wait until your hard drive can access all of the necessary data and load it into RAM (which also operates in . a millisecond is actually 1.TXT" in "c:\d1\" to the "a:" floppy drive backup c:\ a: /s back up the entire C: drive to floppy drive a: restore a: c:\d1\*.ext" a: change to the A: drive md c:\myfiles make a new subdirectory named "myfiles" cd c:\myfiles change to subdirectory "myfiles" rd c:\myfiles remove the existing subdirectory named "myfiles" del file.txt a: back up all files with the extension ".dll /s searches for the file "winsock.ext view the contents of the text file "file. your hard drive operations are limited to mere milliseconds.ext use the DOS 5 editor to edit the file "file.exe list "EXE" files that have four letters and start with z dir winsock. Comparing the speed of your CPU to your hard drive is like comparing a Ferrari to a turtle.ext" ren f1 f2 rename file "f1" to "f2" copy f1 f2 copy file "f1" to "f2" verify on turn on verification of copy commands verify off turn off verification of copy commands xcopy d1 d2 /s copy all files and subdirectories in directory "d1" xcopy d1 d2 /p ask for confirmation of each file before copying diskcopy a: b: duplicate a disk using two floppy drives diskcopy a: a: duplicate a disk using the same floppy drive format a: format a floppy disk in drive a: format a: /s: format a bootable floppy disk (include system) backup c:\d1\*.ext" edit file. So when you're loading your favorite word processor. Although considered very fast by human standards. While operations inside the CPU are timed in nanoseconds (one billionth of a second).dll" in the current directory type file. for example.exe list all files with an "EXE" extension dir z???.000.txt restore certain files to C: from A: restore a: c:\ /s restore backed-up files and subdirectories ver check the version of DOS time check or correct the system time date check or correct the system date cls clear the screen scandisk scans and checks disk C for errors chkdsk check disk and memory usage of the current disk chkdsk /f fix errors reported by chkdsk chkdsk filename check a particular file chkdsk a: check a particular disk (a floppy in the a: drive) mem check memory usage HARD Speed DRIVES Your computer's central processing unit (CPU) spends a lot of time waiting for your much slower hard drive to catch up.ext delete a file named "file.

The maximum theoretical transfer rate for PIO Mode 3 is 11. The most popular of these components are the platters and the read/write heads. These heads are kept suspended by an extremely thin cushion of air. The average access time of the drive is the sum of its average seek time and latency. y The disk transfer rate represent the speed at which data is moved to and from the drive. and 16. y . This is the number most often reported by hard-drive benchmarking software because it shows you the actual number of kilobytes that can be transferred in any given period of time. there is a read/write head. Physically. which is derived from the fact that the platters are fixed firmly in place and are not removable. the operation of a hard drive is similar to a floppy diskette drive: the discs spin while the heads move over them to store or read data in tracks and sectors. all of which move across the discs at the same time since they are all connected to one arm. Also. The disk transfer rate of a drive depends on the spin rate of the drive. A drive with a spin rate of 5400 RPMs will outperform a similar drive at 4500 RPMs. takes into account the drive's latency.1 MB/sec. for PIO Mode 4. Latency is defined as the average time (in milliseconds) that it takes for a sector to be available after the heads have reached a track. at which point you're ready to type away.500 RPM.33 ms. these platters cannot bend of flex.6 MB/sec. This figure is generally half of the time it would take for the disk to fully rotate once. before it can proceed and give you a blinking cursor. The average access time. The maximum transfer rate Transfer rates come in two different flavors: a disk transfer rate. and a host transfer rate. thereby making your latency equal to 6. The host transfer rate represents the speed at which the CPU can access information from the controller. Hard drives contain multiple platters with two sides each. A combination of a low average access time and high spin rate is a sign of a drive that will deliver maximum performance. where data is stored. This gives us the average amount of time that is needed before a sector (chosen at random) can be accessed. If dust or other small particles ever get into this part of the drive. a full rotation would take 13. On a drive with a spin rate of 4. not to mention data loss. the force could be enough to cause the heads to go crashing into the spinning platters and once again causing physical damage to the drive. It's safe to say that all drives and system BIOSes manufactured as of last year will have support for PIO (Processor Input/Output) Mode 3 and Mode 4. if a sufficiently large shock were to be applied to the drive while under power. Unlike the flexible media in floppy diskettes.nanoseconds). This is know as a "head crash. it would easily be enough to cause the head to come into contact with the platter and do physical damage to it. which is where the term hard disk comes into play. they will never actually come into physical contact with the platters. The platters are disc-shaped. Another popular term to describe a hard drive is fixed disk. For every platter. Although it is these heads that are responsible for writing data to the discs. Inside A hard drive is made up of several unique components. and thereby float just a fraction of a millimeter above or below the platter. usually made out of aluminum or glass.67 ms." Performance The average seek time of the drive is the amount of time it takes for the heads to move from one cylinder on the drive to any other cylinder.

NTFS is the most advanced file system.Partitions Every file you store on a hard drive relies on some kind of file addressing system to organize all your data. An SSD emulates a hard disk drive interface. you come up with what has come to be termed the "2. despite the fact that it's so small. Windows 95 uses a modified version of FAT called VFAT (virtual FAT). with Tab it cycles through active applications on your taskbar. Solid-state drive A solid-state drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data. it displays the Start menu. with E it displays the Windows Explorer. and with Pause/Break for the System Properties dialog window. Microsoft later created FAT32 to support partitions larger than two gigabytes and pathnames greater that 256 characters. NTFS supersedes the FAT file system as the preferred file system for Microsoft¶s Windows operating systems. Before that Windows key (the one with the Windows logo in the lower left of the keyboard) gets rusty for lack of use. which adds support for long filenames.16 followed by 18 zeroes). What a waste of space. Windows NT supports both FAT. and its own NTFS format. and with F it displays the find function for all files. with R to display the Run command. the FAT system would automatically allocate an entire cluster to that file. Take your time practicing those shortcuts. plus additional extensions such as security access control lists (ACL) and file system journaling. Keep in mind that every file on your hard drive must occupy at least one cluster. With D. thus easily replacing it in most applications. All these work on at least Windows 98 and XP operating system and you can experiment on the others as you please. and with Ctrl + F it will display the find: computer dialog window. HANDY KEYS. reliability. With Shift + M. Under the FAT file system. This means that if you had a tiny batch file which was 156 bytes long. the Windows key will undo minimizing all Windows. Use it with F1 to display Help. the maximum size of any one cluster is 32KB (32. It allows access to partitions up to 16 PB (petabyte) in size. . An SSD using SRAM or DRAM (instead of flash memory) is often called a RAM-drive. Among PC's." referring to the maximum number of bytes that can be allocated on the drive. it minimizes or restores all Windows. and disk space utilization. the most common file system is known as FAT (File Allocation System). When you multiply these two numbers.536. The maximum number of these clusters is limited to 65.] Each file system must organize data into segments called clusters. eyboard shortcuts Exercise every cell in the table below. look at all the handy things it will do for you: By itself.1GB barrier. It also allows more efficient use of disk space since clusters are four kilobytes rather than 32 kilobytes. NTFS has several improvements over FAT and HPFS (High Performance File System) such as improved support for metadata and the use of advanced data structures to improve performance. [ Equal 16 million terabytes .768 bytes).

Use this shortcut instead of running through the Start > Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer route.Find Ctrl > Shift + drag a file to the desktop or a folder to create a shortcut Explorer versions 5. moving the wheel forward or backward resizes the font. You can open a menu by holding the Alt key and typing the first letter of the menu title.Have you ever wanted to get to your Desktop screen fast. it would operate very slowly. Memory Basics If your computer's CPU had to constantly access the hard drive to retrieve every piece of data it needs. With the Ctrl key depressed. (The WINDOW key is the one between CTRL and ALT. For example. the wheel moves you backward or forward to other sites visited in the current browsing session.to exit program Ctrl > End go to end of a document Shift > F10 .This shortcut is very handy for selecting text in HTML or text editors. In combination with the CTRL key.5. and N a new browser window.opens Esc .display start menu Alt > F4 . You can also press either Alt or F10 to activate the menu bar. That wheel on your mouse (if you have one) can be useful with Internet Explorer. but found yourself closing applications with your mouse? Try this shortcut.Cancels Ctrl > Tab or Ctrl > Shift > Tab (in Properties) .switch from icons to editing mode Alt > Tab . WINDOW + M . this will quickly grab text one word at a time from the cursor position. SHIFT + CTRL + ARROWS .) WINDOW + E .activates menu Enter . a very handy program for file management. the CPU can access it much more quickly.MOUSE WHEEL REVISITED. and press Enter to open the highlighted menu. Cut: Ctrl > X Copy: Ctrl > C Paste: Ctrl > V Undo: Ctrl > Z Select All: Ctrl > A F10 . CPU . which instantly minimizes all open windows and returns you to the desktop in one quick jump. pressing Alt + E opens the Edit menu. H the History list. not numeric) opens the Address box so you can enter a URL. then use the right and left arrow keys to highlight a menu name.to switch between running programs Alt > Enter .Switches between properties tabs Alt > Space Bar . F the Find box.open application central box Alt > Enter .context menu for selected item F1 .This launches an instance of Windows Explorer. I opens the Favorites list. When the information is kept in memory.properties Ctrl > F4 .goes to menu mode Alt .to close window Alt > double-click . E the Search menu.0 and 5. O (alpha. Rather than highlighting with a mouse. With the Shift key depressed.Help F3 .properties Ctrl > Esc .

All of the components in your computer. and then it and the application are purged from RAM. boot sequence. Most data goes in random access memory (RAM) first. To conserve RAM usage. The computer loads data from read-only memory (ROM) and performs a power-on self-test (POST) to make sure all the major components are functioning properly. Generally. This allows the CPU to have immediate access to the operating system.Register Cache Cache Level 1 Level 2 RAM Temporary Storage Areas ROM / BIOS Keyboard Mouse Physical RAM Virtual Memory Storage Device Types Removable Network/ Drives Internet Storage Input Sources Removable Scanner/Camera/ Media Mic/Video Hard Drive Remote Source Permanent Storage Areas Other Sources As you can see above. the hard drive and the operating system. the file is written to the specified storage device. often in a cache. security. After an application is loaded. which enhances the performance and functionality of the overall system. the CPU accesses memory according to a distinct hierarchy. and memory is one of the most essential parts of this team. such as the CPU. M O N I TO R S . The computer loads the operating system (OS) from the hard drive into the system's RAM. y y y y y y y y You turn the computer on. When you open an application. the critical parts of the operating system are maintained in RAM as long as the computer is on. work together as a team. and maintains certain special instructions in the register. any files that are opened for use in that application are loaded into RAM. it is loaded into RAM. The CPU then stores pieces of data it will need to access. The computer loads the basic input/output system (BIOS) from ROM. Plug and Play (auto device recognition) capability and a few other items. many applications load only the essential parts of the program initially and then load other pieces as needed. When you save a file and close the application. The BIOS provides the most basic information about storage devices.

It combines an SRAM cache with 4 or 16 MB of DRAM within a single chip. RAM DRAM CDRAM EDRAM EDO RAM RDRAM SRAM SDRAM DDR Dynamic random access memory. Static RAM. therefore. Like CDRAM also incorporates an on-chip SRAM cache. Synchronous DRAM (from Texas Instruments) has its timing synchronized to the system clock. Cached RAM (invented by Mitsubishi Electronics). DDR is a 2. Is powered once and doesn't need to be continually refreshed. 70. Double Data Rate SDRAM DDR basically doubles the rate of data transfer of standard SDRAM by transferring data on the up and down tick of a clock cycle. DDR memory operating at 333MHz actually operates at 166MHz * 2 (aka PC333 / PC2700) or 133MHz*2 (PC266 / PC2100). It is incompatible with SDRAM physically. the faster the memory. but faster. It's similar to SDRAM. Each crystal.5 volt technology that uses 184 pins in its DIMMs.pixels VGA SVGA XGA SXGA UXGA QXGA WXGA Video Graphics Array Super VGA 640 x 480 800 x 600 eXtended Graphics Array 1024 x 786 Super XGA Ultra XGA Quad XGA Wide XGA 1280 x 1204 1600 x 1200 2048 x1536 1280 x 800 1680 x 1050 1920 x 1200 WSXGA+ Wide XGA plus WUXGA Wide Ultra XGA y y Calibrating Monitor Gamma LCD/Flat panel Monitors Short for liquid crystal display. The lower the number. Rambus DRAM (Toshiba and Samsung). Provide from 4 to 15 per cent greater performance than standard DRAM. LCD displays use two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. either allowing light to pass through or blocking the light. is like a shutter. Is about 10 per cent faster than EDO RAM. says Rambus. An electric current passed through the liquid causes the crystals to align so that light cannot pass through them. unlike dynamic RAM. Extended Data Out RAM is a form of DRAM that works by extending the time during which data can be read from memory. or 60 nanosecond (ns) speed. Enhanced DRAM (developed by Ramtron International Corp. but uses a similar parallel bus. of Colorado Springs). Comes in 80. This onboard SRAM can be used as both a cache or a buffer and gives the RAM an approximate 15 ns access time. .

but if used in a motherboard with a dual-channel configuration (like with an Nvidia nForce chipset) you must pair them to get maximum performance. Window RAM (developed by Samsung Electronics) is both faster (50 percent performance increase) and less expensive than VRAM. offers the greatest speed improvements. Typically. SIMMs come in three basic designs: an older design that has 30 connector pins. such as those in Pentium 4 motherboards. PC700. Intel has given RDRAM it's blessing for the consumer market.5 volts. RIMMs use only a 16-bit interface but run at higher speeds than DDR. a 60 ns SIMM is faster than a 70 ns SIMM. DIMMs for SDRAM and DDR are different. Of these. PC800 RDRAM has double the maximum throughput of old PC100 SDRAM. You have to plan more when upgrading and purchasing RDRAM. Memory Types RAM chips used to be sold as individual chips. The most common speed is called 70 nanoseconds (ns). Direct RDRAM (aka Direct Rambus) and Concurrent RDRAM (aka Concurrent Rambus).3 volts. endorsed by Intel. SIMMs come in several difference speeds. So far there aren't many DDR chipset that use dual-channels. Direct Rambus. RDRAM is a serial memory technology that arrived in three flavors. When you think about it. RDRAM designs with multiple channels. Video RAM. Co-called "dual port" memory types that allow the graphics processor to read from memory and redraw the screen simultaneously. it's amazing how many different types of electronic memory you . Therefore. Several new memory technologies seek to close the gap between processor and RAM performance. which is a different technology. Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) Despite it's higher price. you just pop in a 512 MB DIMM if you've got an available slot. DIMMs are 64-bit components. especially when paired with PC1066 RDRAM memory. and PC800. while DDR DIMMs have 184-pins and run at 2. According to Fujitsu. All Pentium II and most new Pentium computers incorporate SDRAM. produces data bandwidth up to five times that of standard DRAM. a newer design that has 72 connector pins. Intel RDRAM chipsets require the use of RIMMs in pairs over a dual-channel 32-bit interface. if you want to add 512 MB of DIMM memory to your machine. The players include double data rate RAM. which is 6 times faster than the fastest 72 pin SIMMS. but today several RAM chips are soldered together onto a plug-in board called a module. and it will be the sole choice of memory for Intel's Pentium 4.making it easier to implement than RDRAM. but today most all computers use the 72 pin design. and the newest design that has 168 connector pins (also called SDRAM). are currently at the top of the heap in memory throughput. moving the peak bandwidth from SDRAM¶s 125MBps to an astounding 1. The new SDRAM has a speed of 10ns. DRAM comes in two major form factors: DIMMs and RIMMS. DIMMs vs. the faster the RAM will operate. RIMMs Video memory types: SGRAM VRAM WRAM Synchronous graphics RAM is a form of DRAM for graphics controllers and printers. The goal is to increase the chips¶s speed and widen the bandwidth with which they communicate with the processor. or DDRRAM (also known as SDRAM II). Each computer is designed to use one or the other of these SIMM designs. SLDRAM. This RAM module is called a SIMM (Single In-line Memory Module). but a higher latency. SDRAM DIMMs have 168pins and run at 3.6GBps. PC600. To get maximum performance. and not physically compatible. The rule in RAM is the lower (or smaller) the nanosecond number.

Two types of caching are commonly used in . a special high-speed storage mechanism. enabling the CPU to manipulate data before transferring it to a device. Most word processors automatically save files at regular intervals. Another common use of buffers is for printing documents. The purpose of most buffers is to act as a holding area.1. usually in RAM.7 Gbps throughput.encounter in daily life. 266 MHz bus) PCI2700/DDR333 .6 Gbps throughput. Because the processes of reading and writing data to a disk are relatively slow. For example. many programs keep track of data changes in a buffer and then copy the buffer to a disk. Many of them have become an integral part of our vocabulary: y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y RAM ROM Cache Dynamic RAM Static RAM Flash memory Memory sticks Volatile memory Virtual memory Video memory BIOS SIMM DIMM EDO RAM RAMBUS DIP Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM: DDR is rated by its speed or potential bandwidth y y y PCI1600/DDR200 . This is much more efficient than accessing the file on the disk each time you make a change to the file.2. all of them will be lost if the computer fails during an editing session. It can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent high-speed storage device. Note that because your changes are initially stored in a buffer. not on the disk. 200 MHz bus) PCI12100/DDR266 . the word processor updates the disk file with the contents of the buffer.2. Print buffering is called spooling. For this reason. 333 MHz bus) buffer (To move data into a temporary storage area) A temporary storage area. When you enter a PRINT command. the operating system copies your document to a print buffer (a free area in memory or on a disk) from which the printer can draw characters at its own pace. Then when you save the file. word processors employ a buffer to keep track of changes to files. This frees the computer to perform other tasks while the printer is running in the background. it is a good idea to save your file periodically. cache Pronounced cash.1 Gbps throughput.

click on the first one to highlight it. Shut down and restart your computer. Many cache systems use a technique known as smart caching. These caches sit between the CPU and the DRAM. That will highlight (select) all the files. but instead of using high-speed SRAM. make folders: Images1-10. Such internal caches are often called Level 1 (L1) caches. moving and renaming files: Open file manager. Note: If you have lots of files to select. Copy all files from t:\temp\file2practice into Computer Fundamentals.. a disk cache uses conventional main memory. and the effectiveness of a cache is judged by its hit rate.. y y y On d: drive in your folder. and on T: drive create directory with your first name. Attach your earphones. Images11-20. Use both methods: by dragging.. A memory cache. sometimes called a cache store or RAM cache.. is a portion of memory made of highspeed static RAM (SRAM) instead of the slower and cheaper dynamic RAM (DRAM) used for main memory. and creating shortcuts: . The strategies for determining which information should be kept in the cache constitute some of the more interesting problems in computer science. Notepad. The Intel 80486 microprocessor. scroll to the bottom. then holding the Shift key click on the last one. When data is found in the cache. Disk caching works under the same principle as memory caching. By keeping as much of this information as possible in SRAM.personal computers: memory caching and disk caching. and use Task Manager to shut them down. and the Pentium has a 16K cache.. Searching for files. There is a subdirectory T: drive in temp folder called "files2practice". Copy those files back and forth (copy and move) between hard drives to practice. Now holding the mouse courser over the last file you can drag them all or click the right mouse button and choose copy from the pop up menu. Most modern PCs also come with external cache memory. L2 caches are composed of SRAM but they are much larger. Open Windows Explorer. the computer avoids accessing the slower DRAM... in which the system can recognize certain types of frequently used data. When a program needs to access data from the disk. and by using the right mouse button. contains an 8K memory cache. Like L1 caches. Rename first three by giving them your first name followed by the same number. called Level 2 (L2) caches. because accessing a byte of data in RAM can be thousands of times faster than accessing a byte on a hard disk. The most recently accessed data from the disk (as well as adjacent sectors) is stored in a memory buffer. and subdirectories with names of all courses. Copying. Disk caching can dramatically improve the performance of applications. create subdirectory "Computer Fundamentals". Some memory caches are built into the architecture of microprocessors. it first checks the disk cache to see if the data is there.mpeg Note: That's how you shouldn't treat any computer. for example. Photoshop. Memory caching is effective because most programs access the same data or instructions over and over. E. If you decide to drag files: y y hold Ctrl key to copy them or hold Shift key to move them Segregate those files into new subfolders. On drive d: create directory with your first name.g. it is called a cache hit. Open Windows Explorer and double click on T:\temp1\badday.

Quiz Think you know it all when it comes to Windows? Put yourself to the test with a quick quiz on your favorite OS.. Typodrome Prepare for the research regarding computer hardware. Find out more about your computer hardware. Name it "netscap1". Include URL as a source and reference to your text. newsletter For the next session please bring Computer Paper Subscribed to the PCMagazineOnline CNET. Create text file with your full name in it. Save this file under your first name in D:\temp2 folder. Complete "Keyboard Shortcuts" exercise." using right mouse and copy or paste to .com Ready for a test? It's due before next session. then copy them back to hard drive Organize your flash drive On your flash drive create the following directories: y y y y Homework Images Documents Projects Using Notepad Copy one paragraph of text from Netscape into Notepad and save it to floppy.. Repeat all these functions a few times.. Copy this file into your folder on T drive. Bring a list for the next session...exe On desktop rename them to RealPlayer Floppy Copy and move files to flash drive by: y y y dragging them to a: using right mouse button and command "Send To . .y y Search for and create desktop shortcut to: realplay.

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