Define Computer Hardware

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It is quite well known that the working of the computer is pulled by hardware and software. One can define computer hardware as the electronic, magnetic, and electric devices that carry out the computing functions. Hardware is the physical components of the computer like microprocessor, hard disks, RAM, and motherboard. The peripheral devices such as monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, and speakers can also be included in the list of hardware parts. The programs that run on the computers like Windows, C ++, and Photoshop are the software parts of the computer. A good example for an easy understanding of hardware-software definition is music CDs. The actual compact disk is the hardware, while the songs and music in the CD are the software parts.

There is another way to define computer hardware. Hardware devices are the executors of the commands provided by software applications. For example, let us see what happens when you click the print button of the web browsing software. The software application provides a command to the processor, which is the central part of all computer hardware. Processor in turn checks for an attached printer. If the printer is ready, the software will get a positive response from the processor. Then the software application provides instruction to the printer via the processor to print the web page. In that sense, hardware parts are the foot soldiers and software applications are the commanders in the digital operation that takes place within a computer.

The main player of computer hardware is undoubtedly the microprocessor. It is the sun in the solar system of computer hardware devices. It is the central component and all other components work around it. It is an integrated chip on which a number of functions are incorporated. Two specifications determine its efficiency. One is its processing speed, which is measured in gigahertz. The other is its bit rate. Commonly available processors are 32 bit and 64 bit. The bit rate is a measure of the efficiency of a processor to carry out multiple operations at the same time.

One can not define computer hardware without mentioning the two types of memory used in computers. One is permanent memory. It refers to the magnetic storage capacity of hard disk. It is measured in gigabytes. The second is RAM or random access memory. This memory is able to store data only when the computer is switched on. The memory will lose all the data when the computer is switched off.

Another important product that one should mention when one defines computer hardware is motherboard. It is the electric and electronic circuit board on which all the other components are inserted. There are several other kinds of products such as sound card, video card, network card, and modem that complete the hardware spectrum.

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Source by Candis Reade

What Are the Components of a Server?

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Since most businesses use servers in a variety of different roles, it's a good idea to see just exactly what's inside. You will notice that server components are very similar to personal computer components. The major differences are the speed and the storage capacity of servers.

Motherboard. The motherboard of a server is similar to a PC's motherboard. As in a PC, the motherboard is what brings many of the other components together. Think of it as the body of the server. Most of the other components and electronic circuitry attach to the motherboard. Memory, a hard drive controller, input / output ports, and the chipset is all part of the server motherboard. Motherboards can also provide housing for components such graphic adapter and a network interface. Many of today's modern computers come with this circuitry built-in to the motherboard. When a motherboard fails, the system itself will fail.

Processor. The second major component is the processor or the central processing unit (CPU). This component, oddly enough, processes the data that crosses through its componentry. Think of a processor as the brains of the server. It is the component that largely affects system performance, though there are other components that contribute to its success.

Memory. This is the component that you should always have more than enough of. In fact, it was Bill Gate who famously said that you should only need 720kb of RAM (memory). We're into gigabytes now. Put a lot of money into memory because it will be money well spent.

Hard Drive. This is where you'll store everything. Again, you should get one that will suit your needs for years to come. Hard drive memory is cheap.

Video card. This is perhaps the one component that is significantly different from the PC. Servers do not have much use for sophisticated graphics cards. Go generic on this item.

Network connections. Network adapters are often built into the motherboard. You will still need to understand this component for it is through the connections that the other PC are able to connect. Otherwise, it's an expensive box with a lot of fancy components and gadgetry inside.

Power Supply This is mentioned (whereas wiring or soldering is not) because you will be using significantly more power than you would normally use with a PC. The number of hard drives that are housed inside the box will determine how large your power supply should be.

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Source by Mort Greenwood

History and Components of a Modern Mainframe Computer

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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.

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Source by Nate Rodnay

Understanding Motherboard Types: How to Choose the Right One

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Knowing different motherboard types is important if you want to assemble your own computer. It is also useful for troubleshooting computer problems easily. Over the years, lots of motherboards have been out in the market and most of the time there are new models released each year. To get familiar with the different types of motherboards especially in choosing one, check the following listed classifications of motherboards:

Based On Dimension:

Baby AT Motherboard

This motherboard is 8.5 inches wide and 10 inches long. Usually, it is easily recognized as the DIN keyboard connector is placed on the top right corner of the motherboard. In general, it is made for classic Pentium processors as it has a socket 7 ZIF slot. It is also called Baby AT since its overall size is just two thirds of a regular AT motherboard.

Full AT Motherboard

This is the very first type of motherboard made and it measures 12 inches wide and 11 inches long. It suffered lots of problems in peripheral installation and troubleshooting as the overall design is not so good. Its accessibility is poor as well since the drive bays are installed above the motherboard. Also, the expansion cards cover the processors leading to poor system ventilation and high risk of overheating.

ATX Motherboard

ATX is 7.5 inches in width and 12 inches in length. It is generally made for Intel processors. Its bus speed is around 100 MHz and it has a soft power support which only means that the operating system can shut it down. The USB ports and I / O ports are also integrated directly. The best thing about it is the way everything is positioned; the Baby AT parts within is rotated in 90 degrees so the cards in the bus architectures will not cover the processor, thus aiding in efficient system ventilation.

Based on the Type of Processor:

Socket A Motherboard

Otherwise known as Socket 464, this motherboard is made for Durons and AMD processors. It is made in Pin Grid Array with 462 pins and the bus speed is around 100 to 200 MHz.

Socket 370 Motherboard

This is made for Celeron, Pentium III, VIA C3 and VIA Cyrix III processors. It is in PGA package with 370 pins and the bus speed runs around 66 to 133 MHz.

Socket 378 Motherboard

Also known as Socket N, this motherboard is made for Pentium 4, Pentium 4EE and Intel Pentium M processors. It is built in PGA package with 478 pins. In average, the bus speed runs around 100 to 200 MHz.

Socket T Motherboard

It is also termed as LGA 775. This motherboard type is made for Intel Xeon, Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and many more similar processors. It is built in PGA with 775 pins. Its bus speed is high as well at 1600 MHz.

Socket 939 Motherboard

This type of motherboard is made for AMD processors. Made in PGA package as well with 939 pins, its bus speed is fast at 200 to 1000 MHz.

Socket AM3 Motherboard

This is made for AMD Athlon II and AMD Phenom II processors. It is also built in PGA with 941 pins and bus speed rate at 200 – 3200 MHz.

Socket H Motherboard

The other term for this is LGA 1156 and it comes in LGA format with 1156 pins. It is initially made to support IntelCore i3, Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors.

Since there are lots of motherboard classifications and types, it is important to consider these details when repairing computers, especially if one specific part should be replaced, or whenever a new one should be chosen. Pay attention to compatibilities and make sure to know your computer's motherboard thoroughly upon buying a new unit.

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Source by James Hamby