Inside a PC
Tom Kelliher, CS14A
Feb. 21, 1997
- First paper is due in two weeks.
- Video on Monday.
- Keep up with the assigned readings.
- We'll start MS Word on Wednesday, so bring the Word
Essentials book with you.
You are responsible for being familiar with all these terms.
- Serial port --- used for connecting external modems and older mice.
A serial port has a programmable baud rate for transferring data.
- Serial data --- data that is transferred one bit at a time.
- Baud rate --- the rate at which data is transferred; bits per second.
Typical modem baud rates are 14.4K, 28.8K, and 33.6K.
- Parallel port --- used for connecting a printer. A parallel port has
a fixed rate for data transfer. Data is transferred eight bits at a time.
- Parallel data --- data that is transferred several bits at a time.
- Motherboard --- the PC's main circuit board.
- Memory SIMM --- a small circuit board which holds the PC's RAM.
Plugs into the motherboard.
- Ethernet --- Another name for the cable connecting computers into a
network. Physically, we saw two types: thinwire (like cable TV cable) and
10BaseT (like a telephone cable).
- Static discharge --- a single static discharge can destroy computer
- CPU --- central processor unit. The Pentium, Pentium Pro, 486, 386,
etc. chip. It controls the PC.
- Heat sink --- a metallic device which draws heat away from the CPU.
- Cache --- a type of very fast RAM which is connected between the CPU
and the main RAM. Its purpose is to prevent the CPU from being slowed by
the main RAM.
- Bus --- a set of wires that permit data to be transferred from one
device to another.
- ISA expansion bus --- the slower of the two expansion buses.
Expansion cards (internal modem, network, sound, etc.) plug into slots on
- PCI/VL expansion bus --- two faster expansion buses. A computer will
have one of these. New computers all use the PCI bus. Expansion cards
(video adapters, hard disk controllers, etc.) plug into slots on the bus.
- Die --- a silicon wafer holding the transistors that make-up an
- ROM BIOS --- the integrated circuit (chip) that contains the PC's
- Video adapter --- the expansion card which controls the PC's monitor.
- Sound card --- the expansion card which provides multi-media. It
controls the PC's stereo speakers (not the simple one which ``beeps'' at us
all the time) and will be connected to the CD-ROM drive.
- Hard drive --- the PC's main disk drive.
- Platter --- a disk with a iron oxide (rust) coating. The bits and
bytes of which files are composed are stored here. The platter is rigid
for a hard drive and flexible for a floppy drive.
- Read/Write head --- an arm with a sensor at the end which reads and
writes data from/to the platter. On a hard drive, the head flies above the
platter. On a floppy drive, the head contacts the platter.
- Transistor --- the simple switch from which all computer chips are
constructed. It has two states: on and off. This is why all computers use
the binary (0 and 1) number system.
Thomas P. Kelliher
Fri Feb 21 11:48:40 EST 1997