Theory on Hardware!
Megan Portnoi

Each of our computers is made up of many components. Some of these components are known as software, such as Windows XP, while others are known as hardware and these are components that we can actually see, touch and break if we are in a mood!
We dont all have the same hardware components, but we do all have the main components, such as:

external image hw01.gif

The System UnitThe actual computer is called the System Unit. Most computers System units consist of a floppy disk drive and CD or a DVD drive in which we insert CD's and flopp disks. The Hard disk drive is another disk drive found inside the system unit. Everything in our computers is stored on this hard disk.
The System Unit
The System Unit

The floppy drive and CD drive are referred to as removable drives because whatever disk is in the drive can be removed and replaced with another.

Dont worry about running out of space on your computer anytime soon because the hard disk can store so much information which could be equivalent to thousands of floppy disks!
Everything you create or download you store on your hard drive. Cds and floppy drives can be used to back up copies of important documents or files.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Your hard disk holds so much stuff that there is no way you would ever use it all at the same time! When you are busy on your computer you are only using a small amount of all thats available on your hard disk. So what happens is that the things you are currently working with on your computer is stored in RAM, meaning that it works much faster than any disk. Therefore you dont have to waste so much time waiting, but can do more work.
external image ddr_ram.png
The amount of data that RAM is capable of storing is measured
in Megabytes and Gigabytes.

Central Processing Unit:

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is responsible for interpreting and executing most of the commands from the computer's hardware and software. Its speed is measured in Gigahertz. 1GHz per second is 1 billion clock cycles.CPU manufacturers include Intel and AMD.

external image cpu-2.jpg


Hard Disk
As I have said before, everything in our computer is stored in the hard disk/ hard drive which we cannot see as it is stored in special housing. The good news is that unlike RAM, the hard disk can store forever, with or without power. It is therefore said to be volatile. Most hard drives have billions of bytes of storage space on them which allows us to create, save and download for months or years without using up all the space!

external image Hard%20drive%20diagram.BMP

external image pc-images-disque-dur.png

If you do manage to fill up all your space on your hard disk then Windows will show a message on your screen warning you that you are running low on space way in advance, before any problems occur.The amount of data an Hard Drive can store is measured in Gigabytes. Manufacturers are Seagate, Western Digital and Hitachi.



The Mouse

The mouse in your hand right now probably has at least two buttons. The one on the left is known as the Primary mouse button while the one on the right is known as the Secondary mouse button. Many mice have a small wheel between these two buttons.

external image Mini-Optical-Computer-Mouse-With-Chrome-Trim_20090767656.jpg

Your hand should rest comfortably on the mouse while your index finger touches the left mouse button. The little arrow on the screen is called the mouse pointer and it will move in the same direction as you move the mouse.

external image hw04b.jpg

The Keyboard
The keyboard is another way to interact with your computer, but you really only need to use it when you are typing text. The keyboard is set out like a typewriter, but has a few special keys like Esc (escape), Alt (alternate) and Ctrl (control). On top of the keyboard there are a few keys called F1, F2, F3, F4, and so on. These are known as function keys and have specific functions deoending on what program you are busy with. To the right of the keyboard there is the numeric keypad which has a layout like a calculator. This can be used to type numbers instead of using the numbers on top of the keyboard. It doesnt really matter which you use, this is just for convenience.

external image hw04.gif

There is also a set of navigation keys on the keyboard. The navigation keys allow you to move around through text on the screen.
The Ctrl and Alt keys are normally used in combination with other keys to perform different tasks. These combinations are called shortcut keys as they provide another way for us to select menu options in programmes instead of using a mouse.

 Coparison of Computers
When choosing a computer there are several componants and parts which we should take into consideration so that we can get the best performance from our computer!

external image image_small_9793211.jpg

My Computer (Mixture of various components)
Acer Veriton M288 Desktop Computer (PC.VC1E3.013)
Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows 7 Professional
System Type
Processor Type
Intel(R)CoreTM2Duo CPU E6750
Intel Core 2 Duo E7500
Processor speed
Memory (RAM)
Hard Drive Type
Local Disk
Number of Hard Drives
Storage Capacity
233 GB
320 GB