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FSU CGS 2100 - Chapter 6 Understanding and assessing hardware

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CGS 2100 Chapters 6, 9, 11, 12- Link to online flashcards: http://quizlet.com/_4xwb6Chapter 6 Understanding and assessing hardware1. How can I determine whether to upgrade existing computer or buy a new one?• You start by figuring out what you want your ideal computer to be able to do. Next, you learn more about the components of your computer, its CPU, memory, storage devices, audio and video devices, and its ports. • Moore’s Law – predicts that the number or transistors inside a computer will increase so fast, that CPU capacity will double every 18 months. The number of transistors inside a CPU determines hoe fast it can process data.• CPU = Central Processing Unit, the computer’s brain.• The most common form of memory found in computers is called DRAM (dynamic random access memory)- increases about 60% every year. • Before purchasing a computer, ask yourself: “What kinds of CPU’s are there and how do CPU’s affect system performance?” and How much RAM do I need and how will it play a role in the system?”• Want to buy a new computer but don’t want to transfer files manually? Migrate files using EASY TRANSFER from Windows 7 or other PC migration software.• The main distinction between desktops and notebooks is portability.• “Desktop systems are invariably a better value than notebooks in terms of computing power gained for your dollar…it’s easier to add new ports and devices because of the amount of room available. They are more reliable and have a longer lifespan.” (pg. 271)• How long will a notebook be useful to me? Take note of the max amount of memory in your notebook, because that cannot be changed. Internal hard drives are not easy to install but if you have a fast transfer port like an external SATA (eSATA), you can easily add an external hard drive for more storage space, or an Express Card can be added easily to notebooks to add further capabilities to your system.Figure 6.4 pg. 272Notebooks DesktopsPortable Best value: more processing power, memory, and storage for lower price.Take up less space Less susceptible to damage, harder to stealSmaller display Larger displayEasier to ship/transport if damaged Easier to expand/upgrade• To determine whether the system you already have has the right components you need, you must conduct a system evaluation. • A system evaluation is where you look at your systems subsystems which include its: o CPU subsystemo Memory subsystem (RAM)o Storage subsystem (Hard drive)o Video subsystem (Video card & monitor)o Audio subsystem (sound card and speakers)o PortsSuperFetch- monitors which applications you use the most and preloads them into your system memory so that they are ready to go right away2. What does a CPU do and how can I evaluate its performance?o CPU subsystem Located on the motherboard. The CPU is compromised of 2 units: 1. The Control Unit – cooridantes activities of all other computer componenets. 2. Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) – performs all calculations.• The primary distinction between CPU’s is processing power.• Core- a complete processing section from a CPU embedded into one physical chip. • Clock speed- how quickly a CPU’s processor can work. • Cache memory- the amount of immediate access memory a CPU has, more accessible than RAM.• Hyperthreading- provides quicker processing of information by enabling a new set of instructions to start executing, before the previous set has finished. • Multiple Core CPUs are the most recent innovation is PC computers, it allows multiple cores on one CPU chip, allowing there to be applications that are always running in the background. Example: antivirus protection.o IntelCOREi7 – most advanced: four cores, 1 chip.• Front Side Bus (FSB)- Connects CPU to the Ram, the faster FSB is, the faster you can get data to the processor.• Modern processors are defined by their processor speed + front side bus speed + amount of cache memory. • Benchmarks-measurements to compare CPU usage between processors.• How to determine what kind of CPU your current computer has: look in “System Properties.”• CPU Usage – a utility that measures information such as CPU and RAM usage. On Windows, you can find this in the Task Manager. In MACS it is called Activity Monitor. • How can I tell whether my CPU is meeting my needs? Check if CPU Usage exceeds 90% while doing normal activities on your computer.3. How does memory work in my computer, and how can I evaluate how much I need?o Memory subsystem (RAM) Random access Memory- computer’s temporary storage space.  Ram is an example of volatile storage – when computer is turned off, memory is cleared. Nonvolatile Storage – permanent memory. Example, ROM memory and Hard drive. Memory Modules- small circuit boards that hold a series of RAM chips.• Most memory modules used today are called “dual inline memory modules” or DIMMs.• The amount of RAM sitting in these modules is your computers physical memory. * To find out how much RAM you have, look in the System Properties.  The memory that your operating system uses is its kernel memory.  The minimum amount of RAM you need is enough to run the Operating system, applications, plus a bit more for data you will input.  Minimum RAM – 1GB, 2GB for optimal performance.4. What are my computer’s main storage devices?o Storage Subsystem  Permanent (Nonvolatile) storage includes Hard drive, USB flash drives, optical drives, and external hard drives.  Hard drive = largest storage capacity and a very fast access time• Access Time: The time it takes a storage device to locate its stored data and make it available for processing.• Data Transfer Rate- The speed at which the hard drive can transfer data to other computer components. A Solid State Drive (SSD) is like a flash drive, but has the fastest access time and data transfer rate of all nonvolatile options.  Hard drive capacity is typically measured in gigabytes.  To calculate how much storage your system needs, calculate the amount of storage your software needs to reside on your computer.  Optical drives are disc drives that use lasers to read data. This includes CD drives, DVD drives, and Blu Ray drives.  Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) – hard drives that use much thinner cables, and can transfer data more quickly than IDE drives. Good for “power users”, people such as graphic designers and


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