Bytes and Hertz

bits, bytes

You will not be able to get a full understanding of computer hardware basics without knowing how their capabilities are actually measured. Knowing how to tell how a piece of hardware performs when comparing it to others is very useful when buying your own or helping someone find a good deal. Thus, let us review some of the main terms used to describe the speed and capacity of pc hardware.

Byte Me and…

You many not really understand what they are all about(or you do and that’s why you’re interested in this site in the first place), but you have probably seen them before. Bits, the 1’s and 0’s running across the computer screens on movies or TV shows when a virus supposedly attacks a computer or something. Believe it or not, all of the logic behind computers revolves around these little 1’s and 0’s. These bits are the smallest unit of memory or informational storage in any computer and either have a value of 1 or 0.  1 means that the section of memory holding the bit is set to “yes” or “true”, while 0 means  that it is “no” or “false.”  A bit is “true” when an electric current passes through it; it is then on.

Bits are used when describing how much information it transferred by a piece of hardware at a single time.  You usually hear of CPU’s and how they process 32 to 64 bits at a given time nowadays. However, you usually find memory stated as kilobytes(210), megabytes(220) , gigabytes(230), and terabytes(240).  So, for example, one kilobyte is 1,024 bytes and one megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes. Many people erroneously say that a kilobyte is 1,000 bytes or a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes.  Remember, bytes measured as powers of 2, a binary system. This is different from the decimal system we use for counting, which uses powers of 10.

Examples:

Computer disk drives: Storage capacity for magnetic drives is usually between 250 gigabytes and 4 terabytes. You will not really see anything under 250 gigabytes anymore. Hard disk drives’ capacities are higher , in general, than solid-state drives’, which are available in up to 2 terabyte capacities .  Data transfer rate is also different. The current hard disk drives can transfer data at up to around 140MB(megabytes) per second. Current solid-state drives can transfer data up to around 600MB per second.

…It Hertz

The Hertz measures how many cyclical actions are completed in a second , a frequency of how much something happens. CPU’s today are usually between 1 Gigahertz(phones, netbooks, tablets) and 6 gigahertz(high-end computers). Of course the higher the rate, or clock speed, the faster the hardware processes data. In one cycle, the processor does everything needed in order to receive data and transmit commands. CPU’s and memory modules, etc, need to have a speed rating compatible with the motherboard. They must be able to operate at the speed of the motherboard.

Examples:

As previously indicated, computer processors are usually between 1Gigaherz and 6Gigahertz. The standard clock speed for DDR 3 RAM at present is between 100Megahertz and 266Megahertz. Video cards have clock speeds from around 166Megahertz to 5700Megahertz

The preceding was a general explanation of bytes and hertz. A lot more can be discussed when talking about these topics. Further your research, because they are important things to know and necessary when developing an understanding of computer hardware basics.

comments: Closed tags: , , ,

Computer Hardware… What Makes a Computer?

May 5, 2012 under Computer Hardware Basics

Computers are complex machines, some of the more complex in the world. For the most part, however, all brands of computers have the same parts. They may have different cooling systems or versions of parts, but they are all used for the same purpose. Here is a list of parts that make up these amazing machines. Get to know these parts and you will be well on your way of having a good knowledge of computer hardware basics.

Computer Case Central Processing Unit Floppy/CD/DVD/BLU Drive Monitor
Power Supply Graphics Card Fan Network Card
Motherboard Sound Card Data/Power Cables Keyboard
Hard Drive CD/DVD/Bluray Drive Mouse RAM

As you can see from this list, there are a good number of parts, but nowhere near something like a car. the complexity comes in where there are many different brands and versions of these computer components. You cannot just buy a motherboard and some RAM, for example, and expect them to work together. Certain configurations are required for these parts to be able to communicate and work together. Below is a quick list of descriptions for what each part does.:

1 )Case – Protects internal components
2 )Monitor – Output device – allows programs to be visible to the eye.
3 )Mouse – Device that controls user input to the computer.
4 )Keyboard – Another device that controls user input to the computer.
5 )Power Supply - Accepts and converts electricity from an outlet to useable power for the computer.
6 )Motherboard – Frequently referred to as the backbone of the computer. Without it, there could not be a computer.
7 )CPU(Central Processing Unit) – The brain of the computer. Processes data and issues necessary commands.
8 )Hard Drive – Stores saved memory.
9 )RAM(Random Access Memory) – Stores memory needed for software to run.
10 )Graphics Card – Processes specific data to produce visual output on through a monitor.
11 )Sound Card - Processes specific data to produce audio output through speakers.
12 )Network Card – Converts network communication signals between computers
13 )Floppy Disk Drive - Accepts floppy disks that store saved data.
14 )CD/DVD/Bluray Drive – Accepts CDs/DVDs/Blurays for reading and writing data.
15 )Power/Data Cables – Provide power to components and data transfer between components, respectively.
16 )Fan – Cool down computer components with air circulation.

So there you have a simple breakdown of standard computer hardware. Future posts will feature more in depth information on their attributes and uses. Learning computer hardware basics is not a fast process. So for now, try to memorize these components and their simple descriptions.