Computer Components and the Importance of the Case

For those who prefer to design and build their own computers from scratch, the internal features that comprise the system’s operating power are but one of the considerations that go into the design and planning process. The casing is another of the important computer components that cannot be overlooked. Not only does it cover your CPU, motherboard, and other essential elements – it also provides protection and aesthetics for what would otherwise be an open collection of sensitive parts.

There are a wide variety of cases available to house your computer components, most of which are based on the industry’s ATX standard for size and layout for housing motherboards. Since all of your computer components will be housed within the casing, it can easily be considered the backbone of your computer system. When choosing a case, there are some important considerations you need to make.

Those considerations include the number of expansion bays, and ease of access. Expansion bays are the slots in the front of the casing through which you can access various removable drives like a DVD or DC-Rom drive. If you plan on upgrading your system throughout its life, you will want to ensure that you have an excess of expansion bays to accommodate future drive additions. The ease with which you can access the internal components is an important factor, as it will determine how easily you can perform anticipated upgrades, as well as perform regular cleaning to remove dust and dirt.

How your casing is laid out will indicate how efficient your computer’s fans are at keeping the internal computer components cool – thus reducing or eliminating the cause of most computer freezes and crashes. In addition, casings with quality filters over the fan area can help to eliminate dust and other particles that can contribute to excessive heat.

As you can see, the casing for your computer is one of the most critical computer components you can buy. Taking the time to choose the right case can go a long way toward ensuring that your custom designed computer has a long and efficient life.

Computer Components for Idiots

There are many fancy add-ons for computers, but the basic components of the computer are simple and universal. If 1 of these main components is missing, it’s not a computer.

The 4 essentials of every computer system are: a motherboard, a Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, and a hard drive. These components are installed in a case to which are attached a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. That’s your basic computer.

Mother WHAT?

The motherboard (“mobo” for short) is the foundation. Everything attaches to the mobo — the CPU, memory, hard drive, monitor, mouse, keyboard, add-on cards, even additional peripherals like printers, scanners, and speakers. The motherboard is like the nervous system and skeleton of the human body — it provides support for the internal components and also passes information between the computer parts.

CPU

If the motherboard is the nervous system, then the CPU is the brain. Most of the mathematical manipulations that make computers operate are done by the CPU. Other components may also have their own processors, but their results still have to be passed through the CPU.

The speed of the computer is usually measured by the speed of the CPU. Even though other factors also affect overall speed, the CPU rating is generally seen as the single most important measure of performance.

Modern CPUs are usually rated between 2.0 GHz and 3.0 GHz, although each passing month will see increasing performance. This measurement refer to the number of calculations the processor can make in 1 second. The higher the number, the faster (better) the computer.

CPUs generate a lot of heat doing this work, so they need a heat sink and fan to keep them from overheating. Heat is a major enemy of the computer and directly affects its life span.

Computer Memory

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the part of the computer that stores information the computer needs while it is operating. It is Random Access because the computer can get the data in any order, not necessarily the order in which it is stored. Generally speaking, the more RAM the better. 512 to 1024 megabytes is common for memory.

The most common type of RAM these days is DDR-SDRAM, which stands for double-data-rate synchronous dynamic random access memory. We already know what the RAM part means. DDR means that the data is accessed twice as fast as ordinary RAM.

The latest type of RAM is DDR2. It offers even faster access rates and is quickly becoming the standard for computer memory.

Hard Drive

All the data contained in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off, so there has to be a place to store it permanently. This is what the hard disk is for.

It holds the computer’s operating system. An operating system like Windows uses around 4 gigabytes of hard drive space. The extra space is used to install computer programs and to store your personal data.

80 gigabyte hard drives are common, but 400 GB units are available. Furthermore, you can install more than 1 in a computer case for added security and convenience.

Peripherals

All you need to complete the basic computer system is a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Accessories like a printer or scanner are useful for office work, and gamers will probably want to add speakers and joystick controls.

So there you have it. The basic computer needs just 7 major components. For the best performance, these components must integrate well. The motherboard is the most important component for determining the type and specification of the other parts. Choosing an appropriate mobo for your computer needs is the first step and may require a quick call to your local geek.

Soon YOU will be considered the local geek!

History and Components of a Modern Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are crucial for some of the largest corporations in the world. Each mainframe has more than one modern processor, RAM ranging from a few megabytes to several-score gigabytes, and disk space and other storage beyond anything on a microcomputer. A mainframe can control multiple tasks and serve thousands of users every second without downtime.

The chief difference between mainframes and other computing systems is the level of processing that takes place. Mainframes are also different in terms of data bandwidth, organization, reliability, and control. Big organizations-banking, healthcare, insurance, and telecom companies, etc.-use mainframes for processing critical commercial data.

In this article, we discuss the evolution of mainframe computers and their components.

History of mainframe computers

IBM developed a crucial part of mainframe computing, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) for arithmetic operations, in 1944. From the late 1950s through the 1970s, several companies manufactured mainframes: IBM, Burroughs, RCA, NCR, General Electric, and Sperry Rand, for example. Since then, System/390 by IBM is the only kind of mainframe in use. It evolved from IBM’s System/360 in 1960.

An Early mainframe occupied a huge space. New technologies have drastically reduced the size and cost of the hardware. A current-generation mainframe can fit in a small closet.

Components of a modern mainframe computer

Like a PC, a mainframe has many components for processing data: operating system, motherboard or main board, processor, controllers, storage devices, and channels.

• Motherboard: The motherboard of a mainframe computer consists of a printed circuit that allows CPU, RAM, and other hardware components to function together through a concept called “Bus architecture”. The motherboard has device slots for input cards and cable interfaces for various external devices. Where PC motherboards use 32- or 64-bit buses, mainframes use 128-bit buses. General instructions regarding the internal architecture help the motherboard connect to the other devices and retrieve data using binary computation.

• Processor: A CPU acts as the central processing point in mainframe architecture and includes an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) for performing arithmetic calculations. It also works as a controller for the bus architecture and handles traffic and data requests. The processing power of mainframes is much higher compared to PCs, so that they can handle huge amounts of data.

• Storage devices: Storage devices are for entering, retrieving, storing, and recording data. Many are external devices, such as hard drives, tape drives, and punch card readers, all connected to terminals of the mainframe and controlled by the CPU. Their capacity for data storage can be hundred or even thousands of times that of a PC.

• Communication controllers: Communication controllers allow remote computers to access a mainframe. With the help of networks, LAN or WAN, communication controllers establish connections with various devices, perform data transmission over communication channels, and keep track of users at terminals.

• Channels: The “channels” are the cables used to connect the CPU and the main storage to other parts of the system and make sure that data is moved in a systematic way without losing its integrity.

Modern mainframes have advanced features such as expanded service management capabilities, cross-platform integration facilities, etc. and thus are suitable for critical data center operations. The cost of maintaining modern mainframes is much less compared to older models.