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Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

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Published by amitpendam1, 2017-10-04 10:16:04

Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

10/4/2017 Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

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Chapter 4: The Components of the System Unit

| Overview | Expand Your Knowledge | Checkpoint | Practice Test |

Overview 1. Describe the components in the 5. Describe the types of expansion
system unit slots and cards in the system unit

2. Explain how the CPU uses the 6. Explain the difference between a
four steps of a machine cycle to serial, a parallel, and a USB port
process data
7. Describe how buses contribute to
3. Define a bit and describe how a a computer's processing speed
series of bits represents data
8. Identify components in a
4. Differentiate between the various notebook computer
types of memory
9. Identify components in a
handheld computer

Chapter 4 presented the components in the system unit, described how memory stores data, instructions, and information, and discussed the sequence
of operations that occur when a computer executes an instruction. The chapter included a comparison of various microprocessors on the market today.

Describe The Components In The System Unit

The system unit, sometimes called the chassis, is a box-like case housing the electronic components of a computer that are used to process data.
System unit components include the processor, memory module, cards, ports, and connectors. Many of the system unit’s components reside on a
circuit board called the motherboard. The motherboard contains many different types of chips, or small pieces of semiconducting material, on which
one or more integrated circuits (IC) are etched. An integrated circuit is a microscopic pathway capable of carrying electronic current. Each IC can
contain millions of transistors, which act as switches for electronic signals.

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Explain How The CPU Uses The Four Steps Of A Machine Cycle To Process Data 1/8

10/4/2017 Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

The central processing unit (CPU), also called a processor, significantly impacts overall computing power and manages most of a computer’s
operations. The CPU contains the control unit and the arithmetic/logic unit. The control unit directs and coordinates most of the operations in the
computer. For every instruction, the control unit repeats a set of four basic operations called the machine cycle: (1) fetching the instruction or data
item from memory, (2) decoding the instruction into commands the computer understands, (3) executing the commands, and, if necessary, (4)
storing, or writing the result to memory. The arithmetic/logic unit (ALU) performs the execution part of the machine cycle. Specifically, the ALU
carries out three operations:

Arithmetic operations – performing calculations, which include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
Comparison operations – comparing data items to determine if the first item is greater than, equal to, or less than the other item
Logical operations – working with conditions and logical operators such as AND, OR, and NOT
Compare and contrast various personal computer processors on the market today

A personal computer’s CPU usually is contained on a single chip, which some call a microprocessor. Intel is a leading manufacturer of personal

computer processors. Most high-performance PCs use a processor from Intel called the Pentium® processor. A second Intel brand, called the
Celeron™, is designed for less expensive PCs. Two more brands, called the Xeon™ and Itanium™ processors, are ideal for workstations and low-
end servers. Intel-compatible processors have the same internal design as Intel processors and perform the same functions, but are made by other
companies and often are less expensive. An alternative design to the Intel-style processor, the Motorola processor, is found in Apple Macintosh and
Power Macintosh systems. A new type of processor designed for lower-costing personal computers and Internet appliances, called an integrated
CPU, combines functions of a processor, memory, and a video card on a single chip. Today’s processors are equipped with MMX™ technology, a
built-in set of instructions that manipulates and processes multimedia data more efficiently. Intel’s SSE instructions and AMD’s 3DNow!™ are two
other technologies that improve a processor’s performance of multimedia, the Web, and 3-D graphics. To optimize and extend battery life for
notebook computers, Intel® mobile processors use SpeedStep™ technology and AMD processors use PowerNow!™ technology.

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Define A Bit And Describe How A Series Of Bits Represents Data

Most computers are digital, meaning they understand only two discrete states: on and off. These states are represented using two digits, 0 (off) and 1
(on). Each on or off value is called a bit (short for binary digit), the smallest unit of data a computer can handle. Eight bits grouped together as a unit
form a byte. A byte provides enough different combinations of 0s and 1s to represent 256 individual characters including numbers, letters of the
alphabet, punctuation marks, and other characters.

The combinations of 0s and 1s used to represent data are defined by patterns called coding schemes. Popular coding schemes are ASCII, EBCDIC,
and Unicode. Coding schemes make it possible for humans to interact with a digital computer that recognizes only bits. Every character you type on a
keyboard is converted into a corresponding byte, a series of on/off electrical states the computer can process.

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Differentiate Between The Various Types Of Memory 2/8

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Memory is a temporary storage place for data, instructions, and information. Memory stores the operating system, application programs, and the data
processed by application programs. A byte is the basic storage unit in memory. Memory size is measured by the number of bytes available for use. A
kilobyte (KB or K) of memory is approximately one thousand bytes, a megabyte (MB) is approximately one million bytes, and a gigabyte (GB) is
approximately one billion bytes. The system unit contains several types of memory.

RAM (random access memory) consists of memory chips that the processor can read from and write to. Most RAM is volatile memory, meaning
that its contents are lost when the computer’s power is turned off. Two basic types of RAM chips are dynamic RAM and static RAM. Dynamic RAM
(DRAM) must be re-energized constantly or it loses its contents. Static RAM (SRAM) is faster and more reliable than DRAM and has to be re-
energized less often, but it is much more expensive.

Memory cache, also called a cache store or RAM cache, improves processing time by storing frequently used instructions and data. ROM (read-
only memory) refers to memory chips that only can be read and used; that is, they cannot be modified. ROM is nonvolatile memory (NVM),
meaning that its contents are not lost when the computer’s power is turned off. A variation of the ROM chip, called programmable read-only
memory (PROM), is a blank chip on which you can place items permanently.

Flash memory, also known as flash ROM or flash RAM, is nonvolatile memory that can be erased electronically and reprogrammed.
Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) memory, another type of memory chip, stores configuration information about the computer
and uses battery power to retain information when the power to the computer is off.

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Describe The Types Of Expansion Slots And Cards In The System Unit

An expansion slot is an opening, or socket, where you can insert a circuit board into the motherboard. These circuit boards – called cards, expansion
cards, boards, expansion boards, adapters, adapter cards, interface cards, add-ins, or add-ons -- add new devices or capabilities to the
computer. Four types of expansion cards found in most computers are a video card, a sound card, a network interface card, and a modem card.

A video card converts computer output into a video signal that is sent through a cable to the monitor, which displays an image. A sound card
enhances the sound-generating capabilities of a personal computer by allowing sound to be input through a microphone and output through speakers.

A network interface card (NIC) is a communications device that allows the computer to communicate via a network. A modem card is a
communications device that enables computers to communicate via telephone lines or other means. Many of today’s computers support Plug and
Play, a capability with which the computer automatically can configure expansion boards and other devices as you install them.

Notebook and other portable computers have a special type of expansion slot used for installing a PC Card, which is a thin credit card-sized device
that adds memory, disk drives, sound, fax/modem, and communications capabilities to a mobile computer.

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Explain The Difference Between A Serial, A Parallel, And A USB Port 3/8

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A cable often attaches external devices to the system unit. A port is the interface, or point of attachment, to the system unit. Ports have different types
of connectors, which are used to join a cable to a device. Male connectors have one or more exposed pins, while female connectors have matching
holes to accept the pins. Most computers have three types of ports: serial, parallel, and USB. A serial port is a type of interface that connects a device
to the system unit by transmitting data only one bit at a time. Serial ports usually connect devices that do not require fast data transmission rates, such
as a mouse, keyboard, or modem. A parallel port is an interface that connects devices by transferring more than one bit at a time. Many printers
connect to the system unit using a parallel port. A universal serial bus (USB) port can connect up to 127 different peripheral devices with a single
connector type, greatly simplifying the process of attaching devices to a personal computer.

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Describe How Buses Contribute To A Computer's Processing Speed

Bits are transferred internally within the circuitry of the computer along electrical channels. Each channel, called a bus, allows various devices inside
and attached to the system unit to communicate with each other. The bus width, or size of the bus, determines the number of bits that can be
transferred at one time. The larger the bus width, the fewer number of transfer steps required and the faster the transfer of data. In most computers
word size (the number of bits the CPU can process at a given time) is the same as the bus width. Every bus also has a clock speed. The higher the bus
clock speed, the faster the transmission of data, which results in applications running faster. A computer has two basic types of buses. A system bus
connects the CPU to main memory. An expansion bus allows the CPU to communicate with peripheral devices.

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Identify Components In A Notebook Computer

Users with mobile computing needs often have a mobile computer, such as a notebook computer and/or handheld computer. A notebook computer,
also called a laptop computer, can run either using batteries or using a standard power supply. In addition to the motherboard, processor, memory,
sound card, PC Card slot, and drive bay, the system unit for a notebook computer also houses other devices, such as the keyboard, pointing device,
speakers, and display.

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Identify Components In A Handheld Computer

Handheld computers run strictly on battery. Similar to desktop and notebook computers, handheld computers have a system unit that contains
electronic components that process data. A handheld computer’s system unit also contains a display and may house speakers and some form of
keyboard and/or pointing device. Handheld computers often have an IrDA port so you can communicate wirelessly with other computers. Many also
include a serial port.

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10/4/2017 Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

Expand Your 1. The system unit 6. Expansion slots and expansion
Knowledge 2. The CPU cards
3. Processor comparison
4. Data representation 7. Ports
5. Memory 8. Buses
9. Notebook computers
10. Handheld computers

Here you will find additional information that will expand and enhance your knowledge beyond that contained in your textbook. Compare this
information to what may be provided in a traditional classroom by your instructor or peers.

The System Unit

The motherboard in the system unit contains different types of chips. Manufacturers package chips so the chips can be attached to circuit boards, such
as the motherboard. Types of chip packages include:

Dual inline package (DIP), which consists of two parallel rows of downward-pointing thin metal feet (pins)
Pin grid array (PGA) package, which holds a larger number of pins because the pins are mounted on the surface of the package
Flip chip-PGA (FC-PGA) package, which places chips on the opposite side (flip side) of the pins
Single edge contact (SEC) cartridge, which connects to the motherboard on one of its edges

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The power of personal computer processor chips (the chips that contain the CPU) has grown at an astounding rate. As chips become older and more
widely used, price cuts usually are introduced.

Several factors affect CPU processing speed. CPUs in most of today’s personal computers use pipelining, a technique that increases processing speed
by beginning execution of a second machine cycle instruction before the first instruction is completed. CPUs also use high-speed storage locations,
called registers, to hold data and instructions temporarily. The control unit relies on a small chip called the system clock to synchronize all computer
operations. The speed at which a processor executes instructions is called clock speed, or clock rate, and is measured in megahertz (MHz). The
system clock is a major factor affecting processor speed. A higher clock speed means the CPU can process more instructions per second.

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Processor Comparison 5/8

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Although once frequently used, the term “microprocessor” is much less common today.
Sometimes you can upgrade your processor to increase the computer’s performance. There are three forms of upgrades:

With a chip for chip upgrade, the existing processor chip is replaced with a new one
With a piggyback upgrade, the new processor is stacked on top of the old one
With a daughterboard upgrade, the new processor is on a small circuit board (the daughterboard) that plugs into the

The past three years have seen a steady drop in the cost of computers. PC prices plunged as a result of lower prices for processors, memory chips, and
hard drives. Consumers also are showing increased interest in new less powerful, but less expensive, personal computers that work perfectly well for
the most popular uses – word processing, Internet access, and spreadsheet applications. The surge in low-priced computer sales has had an impact on
Intel, the world’s largest processor manufacturer. By focusing on making inexpensive processor chips, rivals AMD and Cyrix are making inroads into
Intel’s dominance. Intel’s response, the Celeron™, has proven popular, but the lower-priced chip offers a smaller profit margin.

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Data Representation

Just as the decimal system (10 digits) is suited to human anatomy (10 fingers), the binary system (2 digits) is perfect to represent the on-off states (2
states) of a computer. Basic coding standards make it possible for components within computers to communicate, allow manufacturers to be confident
that the components they produce will operate correctly in a computer, and enable consumers to purchase components that are compatible with their
systems. In the ASCII-8 and EBCDIC codes, the first four characters represent the zone, and the last four characters represent the digits 1 through 8.
ASCII, originally a seven-bit code, was expanded to eight bits in an effort to provide for symbols used in other nations. Unicode, a 2-byte (16-bit)
code, can represent 216, or 65,536, characters. The system employs the codes used by ASCII and also includes other alphabets (such as Cyrillic and
Hebrew), special characters (including religious symbols), and some of the “word writing” symbols used by various Asian countries.

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Because computers use the binary number system, the actual values for the units in which memory and storage are measured are based on powers of
2. For example, one kilobyte = 210 = 1,024.

RAM’s volatility, and its ability to be changed, are its most distinguishing characteristics. When RAM is purchased it comes in banks of nine chips –
eight are needed to represent a byte and the ninth is needed for parity. RAM chips usually are packaged on small circuit boards called single inline
memory modules (SIMMs) or dual inline memory modules (DIMMs) that are inserted into the motherboard. During the past 20 years, the price of
RAM has dropped an average of 20 percent each year, but its capacity has more than doubled every two years.

Similar to flash ROM, another variation of ROM, called EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory), can be erased
electrically and rewritten. Because of its nonvolatile nature, EEPROM is used in electronic cash registers to store item prices. 6/8

10/4/2017 Chapter 4 - The Component of the System Unit

The amount of time it takes the processor to read data from memory, called access time, directly affects how fast the computer can process data.
Memory access time is measured in terms of nanoseconds, or billionths of a second.

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Expansion Slots And Expansion Cards

Plug and Play was a much-touted feature of the Windows 95 and Windows 98 operating systems.

A PC Card slot, usually located on the side of a notebook computer, allows a PC Card to be changed without having to open the system unit. There
are three types of PC Cards:

Type I cards add memory capabilities to the computer
Type II cards contain communications devices
Type III cards house devices such as hard disks

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Port connectors are devised to be foolproof – each is designed so it can fit only one type of socket in only one correct position. Serial ports always are
male on the system case. Cables connected to parallel ports often are employed over shorter distances.
Special-purpose ports include:

1394 port – a port that can connect multiple devices requiring faster data transmission speeds such as digital cameras and DVD
MIDI (musical instrumental digital interface) port – a special type of serial port designed to connect the system unit to a musical
SCSI (small computer system interface) port – a high-speed parallel port used to attach peripheral devices such as disk drives and
IrDA port – a port that allows wireless devices to transmit signals to a computer via infrared light waves

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A highway analogy can help clarify how bus width affects the speed of data transfer. Data moves like cars – the more lanes (greater the bus width) the
faster the traffic (data) flow. Ideally, buses used to transfer data should be large enough to use the processing power of registers. Sometimes, however,
manufacturers reduce bus size to cut costs. 7/8

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Word size, which indicates the number of bits processed in each machine cycle, has been compared to the amount of coffee produced with each turn
of a coffee grinder’s handle. Theoretically, if word size doubles then processor throughput also could double.

The types of expansion buses on a motherboard determine the types of cards you can add to a computer. Types of expansion buses include:

An ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus, the most common and slowest expansion bus, connects to devices such as a
mouse, modem card, sound card, and low-speed network card
A local bus is a high-speed expansion bus used to connect higher speed devices such as hard disks
An Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is a bus designed by Intel to improve the speed with which 3-D graphics and video transmit
The universal serial bus (USB) and 1394 bus are buses that eliminate the need to install expansion cards into expansion slots
A PC Card bus is the expansion bus for a PC Card

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Notebook Computers

A typical notebook computer often has a keyboard/mouse, IrDA, serial, parallel, video, and USB ports. The keyboard/mouse port allows users who
are uncomfortable with a notebook computer’s smaller keyboard and less-traditional pointing devices (often a touch pad or pointing stick) to connect
a full-sized keyboard or a mouse to the computer.

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Handheld Computers

One of the most popular handheld computers is the Palm Pilot from 3Com. First introduced in 1996, a recent version, Palm IIIc, offers a color screen
and an expandable, full-sized keyboard. Another pioneering handheld computer is Visor from Handspring. Visor runs the Palm operating system and
features an expansion slot that can accommodate add-ons such as digital cameras and music players. Visor’s greatest innovation, however, may be the
slot in the back, which can accommodate modules with various functions including a pager, an MP3 music player, videogame cartridges, and a
module that converts the Visor into a cell telephone.

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