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A flash drive is faster and uses less power than a hard disk. However, per byte, flash is significantly more expensive than hard drive storage.
Flash has been getting cheaper, so it may take over niches at the expense of hard drives. Note that Adobe Flash is an unrelated concept; it is a proprietary media format. Flash storage is what underlies USB thumb drives, SD cards for use in cameras, or the built-in storage in a tablet or phone.
File System How are the bytes in persistent storage organized? Bytes on a flash drive? Typically the hard disk or flash disk is formatted with a "file system" which organizes the bytes into the familiar pattern of files and directories, where each file and directory has a somewhat useful name like "resume. When you connect the drive to a computer, the computer presents the drive's file system to the user, allowing them open files, move file around, etc.
Essentially, each file in the file system refers to a block of bytes, so the "flowers. The file system in effect gives the user a name and probably an icon for a block of data bytes, and allows the user to perform operations on that data, like move it or copy it or open it with a program. The file system also tracks information about the bytes: how many there are, the time they were last modified.
FAT32 is an old and primitive file system, but it is good where wide support is important. Persistent Storage Examples This one is easy to understand, since you have used files and files sytems e.
It broke, and so became a classroom example. Here is the flat "motherboard", a little smaller than a 8. At the center is the CPU. At the far right is the RAM memory. Just to the right of the CPU are a couple support chips. Prominently, one of the chips is covered with a copper "heatsink".. Here the mechanism is released so the CPU can be picked up. The fingernail sized CPU is packaged underneath this metal cover which helps conduct the heat from the CPU up to its heatsink.
The gray stuff on the metal chip cover is "thermal paste", a material which helps conduct heat from the chip housing to its not shown heatsink. CPU chip in metal package Heatsink has been removed Bottom of package.. Each pad is connected by a very fine wire to a spot on the silicon chip. Here is a picture of another chip, but with the top packaging removed. You see the pinky-fingernail silicon chip at the center with the tiny transistor details etched onto it.
These same components make up all computer systems, whether small, medium, or large. In this discussion we will try to emphasize the types of hardware you are likely to have seen in your own environment. These topics will be covered in detail in later chapters.
Input: What Goes In Input is the data that you put into the computer system for processing. Here are some common ways of feeding input data into the system: Typing on a keyboard. Computer keyboards operate in much the same way as electric typewriter keyboards.
The computer responds to what you enter; that is, it "echoes" what you type by displaying it on the screen in front of you. Pointing with a mouse. A mouse is a device that is moved by hand over a flat surface. As the ball on its underside rotates, the mouse movement causes corresponding movement of a pointer on the computer screen. Pressing buttons on the mouse lets you invoke commands. Scanning with a flatbed scanner, wand reader or bar code reader Figure 3. Figure 3: Flatbed Scanner Flatbed scanners act like a copying machine by using light beams to scan a document or picture that is laid upon its glass face.
A great way to send pictures through email! Bar scanners, which you have seen in retail stores, use laser beams to read special letters, numbers, or symbols such as the zebra-striped bar codes on many products. You can input data to a computer in many other interesting ways, including writing, speaking, pointing, or even by just looking at the data. We will examine all these in detail in a later chapter.
The processor, as we noted, is also called the central processing unit CPU. The central processing unit consists of electronic circuits that interpret and execute program instructions, as well as communicate with the input, output, and storage devices.
It is the central processing unit that actually transforms data into information. Data is the raw material to be processed by a computer. Such material can be letters, numbers, or facts like grades in a class, baseball batting averages, or light and dark areas in a photograph.
Processed data becomes information, data that is organized, meaningful, and useful. In school, for instance, an instructor could enter various student grades data , which can be processed to produce final grades and perhaps a class average information.
Data that is perhaps uninteresting on its own may become very interesting once it is converted to information. The raw facts data about your finances, such as a paycheck or a donation to charity or a medical bill may not be captivating individually, but together, these and other acts can be processed to produce the refund or amount you owe on your income tax return information.
Computer memory, also known as primary storage, is closely associated with the central processing unit but separate from it. Memory holds the data after it is input to the system and before it is processed; also, memory holds the data after it has been processed but before it has been released to the output device. In addition, memory holds the programs computer instructions needed by the central processing unit. Output: What Comes Out Figure 3: Monitor Figure 4: Printer Output, the result produced by the central processing unit, is a computer's whole reason for being.
Output is usable information; that is, raw input data that has been processed by the computer into information. The most common forms of output are words, numbers, and graphics.
Word output, for example, may be the letters and memos prepared by office people using word processing software. Other workers may be more interested in numbers, such as those found in formulas, schedules, and budgets. In many cases numbers can be understood more easily when output in the form of charts and graphics.
The most common output devices are computer screens Figure 3 and printers Figure 4. Screens can vary in their forms of display, producing text, numbers, symbols, art, photographs, and even video-in full color.
Printers produce printed reports as instructed by a computer program, often in full color. You can produce output from a computer in other ways, including film and voice output.
We will examine all output methods in detail in a later chapter. Secondary Storage Secondary storage provides additional storage separate from memory. Secondary storage has several advantages.
For instance, it would be unwise for a college registrar to try to keep the grades of all the students in the college in the computer's memory; if this were done, the computer would probably not have room to store anything else. Also, memory holds data and programs only temporarily. Secondary storage is needed for large volumes of data and also for data that must persist after the computer is turned off.
A magnetic disk can be a diskette or a hard disk. A diskette is removable so you can take your data with you. Hard disks, shown in Figure 5, have more storage capacity than diskettes and also offer faster access to the data they hold.
Hard disks are often contained in disk packs shown in Figure 6 that is built into the computer so your data stays with the computer. Disk data is read by disk drives. Personal computer disk drives read diskettes; most personal computers also have hard disk drives. Modern personal computers are starting to come with removable storage media, like Zip disks.
These disks are slightly larger than a diskette and can be inserted and removed like a diskette, but hold much more data than a diskette and are faster for the CPU to access than a diskette.
A CD is an optical disk, it uses a laser beam to read the disk. CD's are removable and store large volumes of data relatively inexpensively. Recently CD-RW drives and disks have become widely available that allow you to create your own CDs by "writing" data such as music and photos to the CD.
Magnetic tape, which comes on a reel or cartridge shown in Figure 7, Figure 7: Magnetic Tape is similar to tape that is played on a tape recorder. Magnetic tape reels are mounted on tape drives when the data on them needs to be read by the computer system or when new data is to be written on the tape. Magnetic tape is usually used for creating backup copies of large volumes of data because tape is very inexpensive compared to disks and CDs.
We will study storage media in a later part of the course. The Complete Hardware System The hardware devices attached to the computer are called peripheral equipment. Peripheral equipment includes all input, output, and secondary storage devices.
In the case of personal computers, some of the input, output, and storage devices are built into the same physical unit. In many personal computers, the CPU and disk drive are all contained in the same housing; the keyboard, mouse, and screen are separate. In larger computer systems, however, the input, processing, output, and storage functions may be in separate rooms, separate buildings, or even separate countries.
For example, data may be input on terminals at a branch bank and then transmitted to the central processing unit at the headquarters bank. The information produced by the central processing unit may then be transmitted to the international offices, where it is printed out. Meanwhile, disks with stored data may be kept in bank headquarters and duplicate data kept on disk or tape in a warehouse across town for safekeeping. Although the equipment may vary widely, from the simplest computer to the most powerful, by and large the four elements of a computer system remain the same: input, processing, output, and storage.
Now let us look at the way computers have been traditionally classified. Classification of Computers Computers come in sizes from tiny to monstrous, in both appearance and power. The size of a computer that a person or an organization needs depends on the computing requirements.
Clearly, the National Weather Service, keeping watch on the weather fronts of many continents, has requirements different from those of a car dealer's service department that is trying to keep track of its parts inventory. And the requirements of both of them are different from the needs of a salesperson using a small laptop computer to record client orders on a sales trip.
Supercomputers The mightiest computers-and, of course, the most expensive-are known as supercomputers Figure a. Supercomputers process billions of instructions per second. Most people do not have a direct need for the speed and power of a supercomputer.
In fact, for many years supercomputer customers were an exclusive group: agencies of the federal government. The federal government uses supercomputers for tasks that require mammoth data manipulation, such as worldwide weather forecasting and weapons research.
But now supercomputers are moving toward the mainstream, for activities as varied as stock analysis, automobile design, special effects for movies, and even sophisticated artworks Figure Mainframes Figure 8: Mainframe Computer Figure 9: Mainframe Computer In the jargon of the computer trade, large computers are called mainframes.
Mainframes are capable of processing data at very high speeds-millions of instructions per second-and have access to billions of characters of data.
The price of these large systems can vary from several hundred thousand to many millions of dollars. With that kind of price tag, you will not download a mainframe for just any purpose.
Their principal use is for processing vast amounts of data quickly, so some of the obvious customers are banks, insurance companies, and manufacturers. But this list is not all-inclusive; other types of customers are large mail-order houses, airlines with sophisticated reservation systems, government accounting services, aerospace companies doing complex aircraft design, and the like.
In the s and s mainframes dominated the computer landscape. The 80s and early 90s had many people predicting that, with the advent of very powerful and affordable personal computers, that mainframes would become extinct like the huge dinosaurs in nature's progression. However, with the incredible explosion of the Internet in the mid 90s, mainframes may have been reborn.
The capacity required of these servers may be what saves the mainframe! Personal Computers Personal computers are often called PCs. They range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars while providing more computing power than mainframes of the s that filled entire rooms. A PC usually comes with a tower that holds the main circuit boards and disk drives of the computer, and a collection of peripherals, such as a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
In the new millennium there are two main kinds of PCs: the Apple Macintosh line, and "all of the others". So, although a Macintosh is a personal computer, the term "PC" often means a machine other than a Macintosh.
Macintoshes and PCs, in general, can not run software that was made for the other, without some special technology added to them. They run on different microprocessors.
Also, the operating system software that runs the two kinds of computers is different. Macintoshes use a different operating system, called MacOS, made by Apple.
There are efforts to make the two kinds of computers compatible. As Apple continues to lose its share of the market, Apple has the incentive to either join the rest or disappear. A computer that weighs less than a newborn baby? A computer you do not have to plug in? A computer to use on your lap on an airplane?
Yes, to all these questions.