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CIS 1200 (114)
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Chapter 6

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Computing and Information Science
CIS 1200
John Saville

Chapter 6: Understanding and Assessing Hardware: Evaluating Your System Is it the Computer or Me? Moore’s  Law describes the pace at which CPU’s (central processing units) – the small  chips  that  can  be  thought  of  as  the  “brains”  of  the  computer  – improve - Predicts that the number of transistors inside a CPU will increase so fast that the CPU capacity will double every 18 months - The capacity of DRAM (dynamic random access memory) memory chips increase about 60% each year - Hard drives increase storage capacity by 50% each year What is Your Idea Computer? How do I know what my ideal system is? If you plan to edit digital video files, or play games that require high video frame rates and have amazing soundtracks you will want a computer with more memory, upgrade video card, and a good set of speakers Where do I get the training I need? Colleges offer full semester classes, online modules, weekend courses Online tutorials YouTube Step by step demonstrations offered by MrExcel, Photoshop Quicktips Choosing Either a Desktop or Notebook System Netbook: notebook with small keyboard and screen, and limited processing power Notebook is best choice if you want a portable computer How does a notebook compare to a desktop for value? Desktops are a better value than notebooks in terms of computing power gained for your dollar Light notebooks typically  have  a  17”  screen  or  smaller Desktops come  in  inexpensive  23”  screens Desktops are more reliable How long will a notebook be useful to me? External SATA (eSATA) and USB 3.0 are fast transfer port Notebooks are often equipped with an ExpressCard slot - Can add a solid state drive (SSD), eSATA, and FireWire ports - Can add an ExpressCard that allows you to read flash memory cards (CompactFlash, Memory Sticks, Secure Digital cards) Assessing Your Hardware: Evaluating Your System System evaluation:  looking  at  your  computer’s  subsystems,  see  what  they  do,  and   check how they perform. Subsystems include; - CPU memory - Memory subsystem (RAM) - Storage subsystem (hard drive and other drives) - Audio subsystem (sound card and speakers) - Video subsystem (video card and monitor) - Ports Evaluating the CPU Subsystem Should consider the type of processor in your system CPU is extremely important – it processes instructions, performs calculations, manages the flow of information through a computer system, and is responsible for turning raw data into valuable information through processing operations - Is located in the motherboard (primary circuit board of the computer) - Intel processors (Core family with the i7, i5, i3, and the Centrino Line), AMD processors (Athlon and Phenom) How does the CPU work? Is comprised of two units 1. The control unit: coordinates the activities of all the other computer components 2. The arithmetic logic unit (ALU): responsible for performing all the arithmetic calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), also makes logic and comparison decisions Every function the CPU performs it goes through same steps 1. Fetches the required piece of data or instructions from RAM 2. Decodes the instruction into something the computer can understand 3. Once the CPU had decoded the instruction, it executes the instruction and stores the result to RAM before fetching the next instruction *machine cycle What makes one CPU different from another? Primary distinction is processing power - Determined by number of factors o Design of the CPU in terms of number of cores ▯ Core is a complete processing section from a CPU embedded into one physical chip o Clock speed is how quickly the processor can work o Cache memory is the amount of immediate access memory on CPU How will a multiple-core CPU help me? Hyperthreading provides quicker processing of information by enabling a new set of instructions to start executing before the previous set has finished Use of multiple cores on one CPU chip allowing the execution of two sets of instructions at the same time It is possible to design a CPU with multiple cores and hyperthreading How do I pick the fasters processor? CPU performace relies on clock speed, amount of cache memory and the speed of the front side bus )FSB) Cache memory is a form of random access memory that is more accessible to the CPU than regular RAM Levels of cache - Level 1 is a block of memory that is built onto the CPU chip for the storage of data or commands that have just been used - Level 2 is located on the CPU chip but is slightly farther away from the CPU or it is a separate chip next to the CPU and therefore takes longer to access, also contains more storage than level 1 - Level 3 is slower for the CPU to reach but is larger in size Front Side Bus (FSB) impacts overall performance, connects the CPU in your computer to the system memory - Measured in megahertz (MHz) Benchmarks are measurements used to compare CPU performance between processors - Generated by running software programs specifically designed to push the limits of CPU performance Why are there different CPU choices for notebooks and desktops? Processors used in notebooks work to combine low power consumption, to support long battery life, and more flexible wireless connectivity options What CPU does my current computer have? Can identify CPU type by accessing the System Properties Can identify how much FSB speed and amount of cache memory by checking the manufacturer’s  website How can I tell whether my CPU is meeting my needs? The workload your CPU experiences will vary dramatically depending on what you are doing at the time CPU usage the percentage of time that your CPU is working Task Manager allows you access to data (CPU usage, RAM usage) *If your CPU usage levels are greater than 90% during most work sessions a faster CPU will contribute a great deal to your systems performance Will improving the performance of the CPU be enough to improve my computer’s  performance? Upgrading your CPU will only affect the processing portion of system performance Evaluating RAM: The Memory Subsystem Random Access Memory (RAM) is  your  computer’s  temporary  storage  space - Is an example of volatile storage - Only functions when the computer is on - When computer is turned off the RAM is cleared out Non-volatile storage is for permanent storage of instructions and data when the computer is powered off Why not use a hard drive to store the data and instructions? It’s  about  1 million time faster for the CPU to retrieve a piece of information from RAM (nanoseconds) than from a hard drive (milliseconds) Are there different types of RAM? RAM used most comes in form of double data rate 2 (DDR2) memory modules RAM used in high performance systems is double data rate 3 (DDR3) memory Other types: dynamic RAM (DRAM), static RAM (SRAM), synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) RAM appears in the system as memory modules or memory cards: a small circuit board that holds a series of RAM chips and fit into special slots on the motherboard - Most are called dual inline memory modules (DIMMS) How can I tell how much RAM is installed in my computer and how its being used? Physical memory; the amount of RAM is sitting on memory modules in computer To see how much RAM you have, look on System Properties window RAM capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) How much memory does the operating system need to run? Kernel memory is the memory that your operating system uses How much RAM do I need? Quite a lot because it is the temporary holding space for all data while  computer’s  on   Adding R
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