Answer the questions on the text.
1) What is a computer? What kind of such machines are there? Which is the most popular and useful? 2) What’s the difference between hardware and software? Can a computer function without any of these components? 3) What does the central processing unit do? 4) What is RAM? What function does it have? 5) Read-onlymemory (ROM) loses its components when power is removed, doesn’t it? 6) Does cashe constantly hold data or program instructions to improve overall computer performance? 7) What is memory capacity measured in? 8) What are all of the others internal components connect to? 9) How can all other chips attached to the motherboard access the CPU? 10) What kinds of cards make the use of a computer so exciting?
To begin with, computer is a programmable electronic machine that processes data and performs calculations and other symbol manipulation tasks. It can take information from a person through the keyboard or mouse, from a device like CD or from the network through a modem.
There are three types of machines: the digital computer, which manipulates information coded as binary numbers; the analog computer, which works with continuously varying quantities; and the hybrid computer, which has characteristics of both analog and digital computers.
The mechanical, electrical, and electronic components of a computer system are called hardware. A collection of programs and procedures for making a computer perform a specific task is called software. Softwareis created by programmers and is either distributed on a suitable medium, such as a floppy disc, or built into the computer in the form of firmware. Examples of software include operating system, compilers, and application programs.
The main component of a computer is the central processing unit(CPU). It includes the arithmetic and logic unit that carries out all calculations and logical operations, and control unit, which helps to run information around the system, since it decodes, synchronizes, and executes program instruction.
The next important component of a computer is called «random access memory» or RAM. The memory is considered «random access» because the memory locations can be accessed directly rather than requiring sequential access. It means that the data can be selected without having to skip over earlier data first. Virtual memory-space on a hard disc used to temporarily store data and swap it in and out of RAM as needed. RAM is the short-term memory of the computer. It is volatile, which means that any information stored in it will be lost if power goes out.
A permanent type of memory storage used by the computer for important data that does not change is called read-onlymemory (ROM). It does not lose its components when power is removed. ROM contains programs that are critical to the opera of the computer, for example, the instructions necessary to boot the computer when it is turned on.
BIOS(basic input/output system) is a type of ROM that used by the computer to establish basic communication when computer is turned on.
Cache is a special memory subsystem within a computer that temporarily holds data or program instructions to improve overall computer performance.
Hard disc (sometimes called Winchester) is large-capacity permanent storage used to hold information such as programs and documents. Needless to say, that memory is one of the most important components of every computer. The larger the memory is the more possibilities are available and can be realized. Memory capacity (computer memory size) is measured in bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes.
No doubt, the computer is a very complicated compound device, but nevertheless each more or less experienced user who wants to acquire a computer is always interested (besides the volume and rate of its memories) in parameters of its components, such as motherboard and video board or video adapter. Of course these parameters must depend on the purposes which his computer will be targeted to.
Motherboardis the main circuit board of the computer that all of the others internal components connect to. Typically, the motherboard contains the CPU, BIOS, memory, mass storage interfaces, serial and parallel ports expansion slots, and all the controllers required to control standard peripheral devices, such as the display screen, keyboard,anddisc drive.
Video board is located on an expansion board and inserted into a slot in the computer to provide it with the ability to display a video image. The parameters of this device are very important for the multimedia purposes. Sound card is used by the computer to record and play audio by converting analog sound into digital information and vice versa. Graphics card translates image data from the computer into a format that can be displayed by the monitor.
3. Complete the sentences on the text:
1) According to the text computer is a programmable electronic machine that …
2) There are three types of machines: …
3) CPU includes the arithmetic and logic unit that …
4) RAM means that the data …
5) ROM is a … and it does not lose its components when …
6) Motherboard contains …
7) The parameters of video board are …