Sunday, December 18, 2011

Introduction to Computer Systems

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BTEC First Diploma for IT Practitioners

Introduction to Computer Systems

Assignment No

By Pete Hill

Custom Essays on Introduction to Computer Systems

essay writing service

1.) Draw a simple block diagram of the major components of a PC system

Items written in BLUE are External

Items written in BLACK are on the Motherboard








Items written in RED are Inside the Base Unit. It should be noted that these three items can also be External.






.) Develop your description of a simple data processing operation.

In order to help explaining how the Memory and CPU are central to all PC functions let us first look briefly at what each one of these items does.

The CPU or Central Processing Unit of a PC is not generally referred to a as a CPU anymore. It is more common to hear them referred to as Processors, but even more common to hear them called Microprocessors.

A Microprocessor is the heart of a PC. Compared to a car it would be the engine, compared to the human body, the brain. All functions that are performed by the PC from the moment it is switched on to the moment it is switched off are in one way or another affected by the Microprocessor.

Microprocessors perform arithmetic and logic tasks such as adding and subtracting.. To do this they makes use of small number holding areas called Registers. These tasks are performed based on what Instructions the Microprocessor has received.

The MEMORY, or RAM (Random Access Memory), is a place your PC can store information that your Microprocessor can access quicly and easily. When you turn your PC on, the operating system and all the programs that you are using are loaded into the RAM so that they can be accessed faster than if they were being read from the Hard Disk. For a program to be stored in the RAM, you must have enough RAM for it to fit. Therefore, machines with more RAM are generally speaking able to hold more information in their temporary memory, and therefore can store more data in their RAM and can access it quicker than a machine with less RAM.

However, whilst the RAM is much faster to read and write to than the other types of storage on your PC (Hard Drive, CD-Rom etc), it is only temporary. When you turn your PC off any information that is stored in the RAM will be lost.

From what we have discussed so far we can see that the Microprocessor and RAM are integral to the running of a PC. Without either one of these two things a PC simply will not function.

All actions on a PC can be referred to as Instructions, and it is the Microprocessor that performs these instructions. Without a Microprocessor there would be nothing to perform these instructions. RAM is equally important. It stores the operating system on it once you have turned your PC on. For this reason alone RAM is essential but its influence is regularly felt whilst using a PC.

Now lets take a look at a basic Open command taking into account all that we have discussed above.

When we click on Open, when creating a new Word document for example, the Microprocessor and RAM have already been used for many many things. Firstly, once the power switch is pressed on a PC, the CPU loads the first instruction in the BIOS. It performs all of these functions sequentially and then loads the operating system. All of these instructions are loaded into the RAM of the PC so they may be accessed more efficiently. Once Open is selected, an instruction is sent to the Microprocessor. This process is speed up due to both the operating system and the Word Processing software being loaded into the RAM. This instruction is then performed by the Microprocessor sequentially.

When we consider that RAM is essentially the workspace that a computer uses to perform its functions, and that the Microprocessor is the brain of these functions, we can clearly see that both of these items are central to the running of a PC.

.) Expand on the CPU’s operation by describing its components and their function during an instruction cycle

Firstly we should describe an instruction cycle An instruction cycle is the period of time taken to Fetch an instruction and then Execute it. An Instruction Cycle typically has 4 stages. First we have 1.) Fetch. Followed by .) Decode. Then .) Execute and finally 4.) Store. Sections 1 and are the Fetch Stage, whilst and 4 are the Execute stage.

The Microprocessor consists of basic components. Firstly The ALU and the REGISTERS. These items are all governed by the 4rd component, the CONTROL.

We have already discussed the purpose of the Registers above, they are temporary storage areas that are used to provide a place for passing data from instruction to the next.

The ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) is the part of the Microprocessor that performs all Arithmetic and Logic requests. The ALU takes data as inputs and a code from the Control. The code tells the ALU which operation to perform.

The CONTROL extracts instructions from the RAM and decodes them. Once they are decoded it then executes the instruction.

Now we have described these components, lets take a look at what the CPU is doing during an Instruction (or Machine) Cycle.

Firstly the Microprocessor must Fetch the information. The Fetch process places the address of the next instruction to execute in the Address Bus. These are the connections between the CPU and RAM that carry the address from which the CPU wishes to write to or from. It then adds the necessary information to the Instruction Register.

The Decode cycle uses the information stored in the Instruction Register to determine which Gates to open, and then which functions the ALU will perform.

The Execute cycle, as the name suggests, executes the instructions that have been received so far.

The Store cycle is the result of the instruction being written to a destination. This can be either a Hard Drive or a Register.

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