external image international-lg.jpg new-1.jpg

Lets talk about how a computer actually works...oh and by the way...it was I, James aka international who actually wrote all this shizzle...BOOYA WATT

Anyways there are the three main function of a computer which are


-Input
-Output
-Processing


Input is like some some veges and we put the veggies into the processing machine where it is being processed...the output is like the processed food out of the processor...pretty mushy...usually not pleasant to eat but in our case...usually the output or outcome is usually nice...unless you have a slow computer or only half a computer...

umm so lets have a look at what these bits are...



Input:

-Keyboard because you type letters into it...
-Mouse because you give command to the computer
-Tablet? if you have one...just like mouse but controlled by pen rather than mouse
-Microphone...because you can speak into it

Output:

-Screen...regardless of it being LCD or CRT they all show the UI (user interface)
-Speakers because sound come out of it for you to hear
-Printer because it turns soft copy into hard copy...on a piece of paper

Processing:

-Central Processing Unit aka CPU which is the brain of the computer
-Graphical Processing Unit aka GPU which is the graphical brain of the computer


Hardware:


Thats pretty much some of the basic...so you might be thinking...yea yea...Mr C might have already told us about this old stuff...so whats more to tell?

Lets get right down to the real shizzle...the real hardcore stuff...When you do get the chance of taking a computer apart...just the computer...I mean the box...you should find these parts:

-Central Processing Unit...CPU just sounds better
-Motherboard/Mainboard...most people call it motherboard
-Random Access Memory is RAM...not the RAMs in the wild, the RAMs in the computer
-Graphics/VGA...usually referred as Graphics Card or Onboard Graphics/VGA
-Audio/Sound is either a onboard device or an individual Sound Card
-Hard Disk Drive...which we usually referred to as HDD...just for the sake of typing Hard Disk Drive out...
-Optical Drive is what we use to read CDs, DVDs and maybe Blu-Ray or HD-DVD if you have a couple of spare grand...
-Power Supply Unit just simply known as PSU...because its full name is just too long to type...
-Case...also known as the "box" to the noobs...its more than a box...
-Cables...obviously



Central Processing Unit:

This is the brain of a computer, all data incoming and outgoing will pass through the CPU to be processed. The CPU is connected onto the motherboard, I will talk about this more in detail when we get to Motherboard section. So how do we know how fast our CPUs are? Its really simple but most people only see one side of the story...CPUs have a Core Speed or Core Clock, which is the speed of the CPU we often refer to. The higher the Core, the faster the CPU is. On the other hand, there is something known as Cache, which is often referred to as "quick memory"...Cache is used to store very vital data is a very small amount of time, which is commonly required for today's applications...once again, the larger the cache, the more potential it has to be a fast CPU...So on the functional side of things? Really what it does is FETCH, DECODE, EXECUTE...on a diagram below shows how it actually works...

So who are the big players in this CPU business? Intel obviously and you've got Advanced Micro Device (AMD)...thats all you really need to know...there are small other wannabes like Via...but don't worry too much about them.


Fetch.gif
Model
Core Speed
Cache Size
Core Count
Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700
2.66Ghz
8MB
4
$1600
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
2.67Ghz
4MB
2
$540
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
2.40Ghz
4MB
2
$360
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
1.86Ghz
2MB
2
$260
Intel Pentium D 925
3.0Ghz
4MB
2
$120
Intel Pentium 4 631
3.0Ghz
2MB
1
$100
As you can see...Core Speed isnt everything...look at the Intel Pentium 4 631...despite having a 3.0Ghz clock compare it to a Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 with only a mere 1.86Ghz...with the price of Intel Core 2 Duo E6300...you could bang yourself 2 Intel Pentium 4 631...both have same Cache Size however Intel Pentium 4 631 is a single core CPU where as Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 is a dual core...and yes from my experience, the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 does own the Intel Pentium 4 631 badly...very badly...You can see that on the top...the price is damn high...you way a premium for top end stuff...really worth it? Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 should be the best value for money option...

athlon64fx-60.jpg
AMD Athlon FX55



Motherboard:

What does the word mother come to mind? caring? or annoying? ok nevermind...the motherboard you could say takes care of all the other bits and pieces on the computer...lets have a look at whats those bits and pieces are:

-CPU is connected through something known as CPU Socket...there are many many different socket names...the most common ones are...LGA775 from Intel, AM2 from AMD and Socket 939 (EOL) from AMD...EOL means "end of line" which means not in production anymore...
-RAM is also connected to the motherboard...connected onto RAM slots or more professionally known as DIMMs...DIMM1, DIMM2 and depending on how many more RAM slots you have...the list goes on...
-Quite often you will find the graphics module of the computer integrated onto the motherboard, but in other cases you will find an independent graphics card which generally provides better graphical processing required for gaming...
-Sound is also usually integrated to the motherboard but if you are hardcore music dude or just got a few hundred bucks spare...a independent sound card will provide much better sound...
-Additional hardware such as wireless cards, SCSI cards are all added on the motherboard
-Storage devices such as HDDs, Optical Drives are also connected to the motherboard via the suitable cables such as ATA, SATA, SCSI N, SCSI W etc...

There are many upgrade slots on a motherboard...not really important in their details but know them as basic knowledge...the few main ones are:
-Peripheral Component Interconnect
-Peripheral Component Interconnect Express(PCI-E)
-Peripheral Component Interconnect-Extreme (PCI-X)
-Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)

So to really sum things up for the motherboard, you could say that the motherboard takes care of all the bits and pieces of a computer, the features on a motherboard can reflect the overall potential features of the computer.

mobo.jpg
Asus A8N-SLI Premium (Nvidia nForce 4 SLI)



Random Access Memory:

More commonly known as RAM, this is where temporary data and information is stored when the computer is under use. Regardless of the type of application or usage, RAM is required. Any data that is going through the computer is either bypassed or stored in the RAM for further processing or storage. The more RAM, the more of temporary data your computer can store which means, you increase the single thread and multiple thread potential performance. Another factor in RAMs is the speed in which the RAM is rated at. All RAMs have different speed ratings depending on the generation of CPU/Motherboard.

Making this more pratical...RAM capacity will only increase as:
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 sizes with the more commonly used ones as 512MB and 1024MB.

Speed is slightly more complex...Due to the advance in technology, we have many many different types of RAM interface...The more commonly known DDR which replaces SDRAM and RDRAM...

Let me start with the less important ones out of the way first...

-RDRAM is what we also call as RAMBUS...these RamBus were fast...I mean very fast still compariable with todays DDR speeds considering that RamBus were originally released in 1999...but due its extreme cost, SDRAM and DDR over took...
-SDRAM is what is known as Single Data Rate...and faces near extinction...
-DDR is obviously Double Data Rate...in DDR, we are faced with another 3 different types of DDRs...known as DDR1, DDR2 and easily enough DDR3...

Double Data Rate means this...

If my RAMs were rated at DDR400, that means my RAMs would actually be running at 200Mhz
If my RAMs were rated at DDR333, that means my RAMs would be running at 166Mhz...

That should be easy to figure out...the 200Mhz and 166Mhz I have listed out above its the interaction speed of the RAM and CPU...so the higher the DDR or Mhz, the faster the RAM...

As previously mentioned, there are 3 types of DDR...DDR1 which was once the most dominant RAM on the markets is gradually being overtaken by DDR2, while DDR2 is currently out in full swing, DDR3 is just around the corner...the differences in these DDRs is the fact that as technology is changing developers and manufactures are able to bring out even faster RAMs, lower voltage requirements which means less heat produced, more efficient running etc...all these advanced features were included in DDR2 which as lead it to the road of taking down DDR1...DDR3 is still too soon to talk as cost could be a possible factor as in the learnly days they were very expensive to manufacture...

RAM.jpg
Kingston ValueRAM DDR2-533 1GB ECC



Graphics:

I love good graphics on computers...its just like an addiction...anyways...back to the topic, what you see right now is because your computer has a graphics processing system regardless of being onboard or independent...any graphics processing unit will do good for your computer and you...

Graphics section isnt hard unless you make it hard...

Its damn simple...lets split this shizzle into two main parts:
-Onboard
-Independent

Onboard is a graphics unit that is integrated already on the motherboard, usually these graphics are very minimal in 3D performance and just enough to handle OS user interface. A cheaper option for computers for fairly basic usages...

Independent is obvious independent which means a Graphics Card is connected onto the motherboard to work...Yes there is an additional cost as you pay a premium for the increased 3D performances, not only are these cards recommended for gamers, benchmarkers but also people who watch High Definition contents, as current onboard graphics will find the HD contents too heavy to rendor and cause "lag".

So whats on a graphics card? its damn simple...a piece PCB which is Power Circut Board with a GPU and VRAM on it...

GPU as mentioned way way eariler is Graphics Processing Unit and VRAM is obviously Video Random Access Memory...The faster those two aspects are, the faster your computer will be in terms of graphics performance.

Graphics.jpg
Asus 7900GT (Nvidia 7900)



Audio/Sound:

Nowdays most of us have out music collects stored on our computers as MP3 files...I mean who really have CDs? As a result, the modern trend is to use your computer as your source of music listening. There really isnt much to talk about this as we know there are three types of Audio/Sound systems for a computer which are:
-Onboard
-Independent
-Independent Module

Onboard is similar to the graphics section where the sound features are all included with the motherboard, thus providing an cost effective solution, enough for most common users.

Independent is like an upgrade card which allows the users to have better higher quality output through the computer, these may have slightly better features not available on Onboard Sound systems.

Independent Module is mainly two pieces which include a sound card and a sound module either mounted within the case or as a stand-alone unit which allows users with a vast range of recording options not featured on the Onboard or Independent options.

Sound.jpg
Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1



Hard Disk Drive:

All the data, files, music, images and system files are all stored on your HDD...I like to call it HDD because its shorter to type...HDD is what we know as a physical drive, a storage device that remains physically in your computer.

HDD is made out of a block of metal...a solid one within that block are platters of magnetic sensitive layer which records the data as binary we know...1 or 0, 0 or 1 etc...The more platters you have, the larger the capacity the drive is, however the hotter the HDD will run...

Now thats just the "mental" side of things...get let to the physical stuff...

Your drive will come in different speed...so what are they? The most commonly used are the 7200RPM drives which are considered "value for money" and the 5200RPM which nobody seems to use anymore and then you have the uber high end like 10000RPM HDD which are not only fast but damn expensive...

So what are the capacities? Well, the fact is that, 80GB seems to be the smallest drive on sale now for a PC and with the largest HDDs rated at 1TB which is 1000GB, it really seems scary...not at how large the drive is but the cost of the drive...Currently, the 320GB~400GB drives are the most value for money, rated at under 50cent not 50Cent the rapper but 50"cent" per GB of storage space...

Now check this...there are two types of drive which we know as 2.5" (inch) and the 3.5" (inch)...2.5" is for laptops and 3.5" are for PCs...get it?

As for the connectivity, there are three main types:
-Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA)/Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE)
-Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA)
-Small Computer System Interface (SCSI)

ATA or some people like to call IDE is regarded as "slower" compared to the other two connections only pounding a 1.0Gbits. Due to the fact that you can connect two device onto a single cable, "some" users tend to like them...

SATA I would like to say is mainstream connection proving its performance and features over ATA or IDE if you like to call it...SATA has a much higher transfer rate both SATA1 and SATA2 are faster than ATA...SATA1 is rated at 1.5Gbit while SATA2 is rated at 3.0Gbits and SATA2 enables hot-swap...

SCSI is some high end stuff...really expensive stuff SCSIs are only used on Servers and barely used on your computer or mine...with over 17 minor connections variations on the list, lets skip SCSIs...by the way...you pronounce it as "scuzzy"

HDD.jpg
Maxtor (Seagate) DiamondMax 80GB 7200RPM SATA



Optical Drives:

Yea...I think we use them right? currently there are CDs and DVDs...umm and Blu-Ray but no one can afford it at 1 grand a pop...lets not go there...There really isnt much to talk about there but most Optical Drives really...DVDs got 16X and now even 20X drives are out...Blu-Ray offers 25GB for single layer and 50GB for dual layer and even a whopping 75GB for the triple layer edition...no wonder they cost a grand...thats just for the drive alone...

optical.jpg
Toshiba Slim HD DVD Optical Drive



Power Supply Unit:

This be the "box" with some power cables...this is the "heart" of your computer, pumping blood to all the bits and pieces...well not blood but currents...good heart gives you a steady flow of blood...a good PSU drives your computer a steady flow of current...the higher the wattage, the more parts the PSU can support to...just like big men have big hearts and midgets have midget hearts...

PSU.jpg
SilverStone Zeus 600W



Case:

Well, as most of us know, the use of a case is mainly to protect the hardware of a computer from dusts, static and to be able to operate the computer safely. There really isnt much for a case as much as I can remember, the fact is the more you spend on a case, the better it will look...If you dont mind spending $300 on a case like me...be my guest...

new-7.gif
Coolermaster Wavemaster



Cables:

Do I really need to go through all of them? I believe most of us know what they are...


Software:

Lets see what the name software refers to...most of us regard the word soft as being physically "soft" not in this case, software refers to the fact that softwares cannot be see physically...the "stuff" you see on the screen is the software's UI which is user interface...

So what are the softwares out there? Look at it from as three different types of software...
Auxilary Software and Operating System (OS) and BIOS



Basic Input Output System:

BIOS = Basic Input Output System which is installed on all motherboards...this "basic" software enables very simple but crucial settings on your computer...things such as configuration of your drives, the time, CPU speed settings and added security options etc...without a BIOS, your computer will not work...thats a proven fact that I doubt no more...



Operating Software:

OS is what is known as the software that enables Auxilary Softwares to be loaded on...without the OS...you cant do jack on a computer really...OS could also be regarded as the platform of your computer...the commonly promoted XP is one of them...
From what I am guessing, most of us know who the big playa is in the game...MS...not middle school...Microsoft...know what you are using right the moment? its more likely to be a MS based from:

-Windows 3.1
-Windows 95
-Windows 98
-Windows 98 SE
-Windows 2000
-Windows 2000 Server
-Windows ME
-Windows 2003 Server
-Windows XP Home
-Windows XP Professional
-Windows Vista Home Basic
-Windows Vista Home Premium
-Windows Vista Business
-Windows Vista Enterprise
-Windows Vista Ultimate

new-1.gif

So there you have it...the most up to date line up of the MS OS family...

Ok ok, I know many of us are not really happy with MS because of its products and market tatics...any other options? The answer is yes and yes they are not only cheap but are actually free...or even open source...sounds good? or are you totally lost?

When your computer had its Microsoft OS installed, there was a End User Agreement...you had to accept that to continue the installation...under that agreement one of the rules was that the Microsoft Kernal cannot be modified...

So wonder what a Kernal is? Put it this way...as I mentioned before in hardware section...the CPU is the brain of a computer and the PSU was the heart of the computer? Well...Kernal is like the brain and heart of a OS...it is of a very high importance...as a result, Microsoft does want anyone to tamper with their Kernal...

Sorry for taking so long to get back to what I really wanted to tell you...about that free OS? yea yea its more famously known as Linux...what Linux is, is actually a free OS that can be downloaded or be mailed through CD...so whats open source? I mentioned Unix...? no I didnt...well the Kernal of the Linux is based on Unix...and what Unix is is a open source Kernal which means anyone including you and me can go mess the hell out of the Unix...do what you want...as a result of all this messing by other people...there are variation of these open source softwares...more choices for users and the added bonus is that most are actually free...

Whats not good about the Open Sources like Linux is that there is a lack of hardware and software support...driver support really limits the users from actually using Open Source...

To make things easy to understand...there are 2 types of OS
-Closed Source
-Open Source

Closed Source means no contents of the software can be edited...
Open Source means contents can be edited...

Most Open Source are free...most closed source will cost...

Other than the types of OS...there is also another thing to keep in mind...often refered to as 32bit or 64bit software...

32bit means that the whole system is based on a 32bit coding while 64bit is obviously the double of 32bit...There are advantages that 64bit offer over 32bit...lets take the Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Professional 64Bit for comparison...

At first there are no obvious interface changes...but what is vital with the 64bit software is that it supports much more RAM than 32bit...To my memory which should be 101% correct, XP 32bit can only accept a maximum of 2.5GB of RAM...where as 64bit should be the double of that number...however due to a lack of 2.5GB usage on a average desktop and really no obvious features, XP Professional 64bit has been left in the dark...Servers do however take advantage of a 64bit system so yes, it does depend on the usage and the target consumers...



Auxilary Software:

Auxilary Software are software that are like "add-on"s for your OS...to actually make purpose of your computer...you need Auxilary Software...yes Auxilary...

Auxilary Software is like...ummm Paint but Paint came free with XP just to spice things up a bit...well...as we know...not effectively...anyways...programs that those...

Either Freeware, Sharewear...Shareware* etc can all be inlcuded in this Auxilary Software section...

Adobe Photoshop is an Auxilary Software
StarOffice is an Auxilary Software
MSN is an Auxilary Software

and I tell you that the list goes on and on and on...Microsoft often blame the lack of regulation of Auxilary Software which causes the blame of their OS to be regarded as "unstable"...



Thats pretty much it...feeling a bit dried up...hope this gets some Hardware and Software information across into that brain of yours..."effectively" with pleasure...