Computer Basics/Hardware/Processing and internal memory devices

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search
OtagoPoly Logo S.png

Processing and internal memory devices

Prcessing devices

Processing devices are used to process data using program instructions.

Processing devices Function
The Motherboard

The PC‘s main printed circuit board which is located inside the System Unit.

  • The motherboard houses the processor (CPU), memory (RAM), buses (along which bits of data travel) and other components eg graphic cards, sound cards, PCI cards (used for peripherals like scanners) to plug into.

CPU - Central Processing Unit

The CPU is a silicon chip which contains thousands of electronic circuits. Has a fan to keep it cool.

The chip is also known as a microprocessor.

  • The CPU processes the data in the computer – it "does the work" or "produces information".
  • It sends messages to and from the input devices, output devices and storage devices.
  • The more Megahertz or Gigahetrz (the speed at which the processor works), the more powerful the CPU and the faster it can work.

Internal view

Internal memory devices

RAM (Random Access Memory) is an internal memory device which temporarily holds data and instructions while processing is happening. If the CPU is the “brain” of the computer, then RAM is the “working memory” or "thinking memory" used to store data just for the programmes and applications being used at that time. Once you close the program it is wiped out of the RAM, but stays on the hard drive (long-term permanent memory).

Internal memory device Function
RAM - Random Access Memory

A series of chips on the motherboard.

RAM chips

  • Holds what is currently required eg data, system software and application software commands and instructions.
  • Temporary holding area for data while processing occurs.
  • Volatile – reliant on power so if you lose the power, you lose the data!!
  • More RAM (Megabytes, Gigabytes) provides better performance as the PC can "think" faster.