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Understanding the Components of Computer

Systems
In this task I will produce evidence of what internal components of a computer
system are; their purpose and how they communicate with each other. I will also
produce a basic outline of the basic functions of operating systems in general, and
explain how they are used to facilitate users. Alongside I will be explain the purpose
of different software utilities.
There are many components of internal systems some of which include:
Processor
The processor is the artificial brain of the computer, the processor also called a
CPU or Central Processing Unit, deciphers information from the hardware and
makes the relevant supplies accessible. Everything which takes place on the
computer goes through the processor first, by turning the information into binary
code and "processing" it. For example moving the cursor, typing a sentence, etc.
The processor is covered by a heat sink and fan.

Heatsink and Fan


The heat sink is a very important unit in the computer as it stops your computer
from overheating. It transfers heat which is generated by the processor and
turns it into the coolant medium surrounding it such as the air. Without the
heatsink your computer would not be able to work at the speed it does, just as
the human body cools down after exercise with a cold bottle of water, the heat
sink cools the computer's processor down so it doesn't heat up too much, which
can cause the computer to permanently shut down costing hundreds or even
thousands of pounds.
BIOS
Bios stands for Basic input/output system. the BIOS is a ROM (read-only memory)
chip which enables you to connect and organize your computer system at the
most essential stage, it is your computer's own microprocessor. It handles
flowing data between the computer's OS and devices such as the keyboard,
mouse, printer, etc. With BIOS, your operating system and the applications on
the computer are free from needing to understand details, e.g. hardware
addresses about the devices which are attached such as in slave ports, because
when the computer turns on the microprocessor passes all control to BIOS.
Motherboard

A motherboard; also known as a logic board in a Macintosh, is the main control


system of the computer. This is where the peripherals of the computer are all
connected together. The components contained in a motherboard are RAM, CPU,
and the heat sink.
Master Slave port
USB connection uses a master/slave relationship which means the computer
device acts a master by controlling information which goes in and comes out of a
USB port, the USB being the slave can only be operated by the master. Which is
why most USB slaves are useless unless in connection with a master unit.
Power supply
The power supply or PSU (power supply unit) is an internal system unit
component, which converts one form of energy into another type of energy by
converting the alternating current (AC) into a steady direct current (DC) which
the computer requires and allow it to run without making the computer
overheat.

Peripherals
A peripheral device is a device which is not an essential part of the PC, peripheral
devices can be internal or external, some examples of peripheral devices are
explained below.
Printer
A printer is a external peripheral device which translates digitized pixels to ink and
prints what the user wishes to print, from the monitor. Laser and InkJet printers are
the most widely used printers, and can be hooked to PC's.
Speaker
Another peripheral device is the speaker. Peripherals come in several shapes and
sizes, and can either be internal or external. Once plugged in, the speaker connects
to the computer's sound card and amplifies all sounds made by the computer.
Camera
A camera which connects to a computer, or more widely known as a webcam, is a
digital camera which works quite similar to normal camera's. Yet with a webcam,
you can stream live videos, take pictures, take videos, and many more. A camera
which is connected to a computer can be internal or external; internal being a
camera which can be connected through the USB ports of the computer/laptop, and
internal being a built-in camera which are very widely common in modern
technologies.

Microphone
A microphone or mic, is a peripheral device which can be connected to the sound
card, and is basically the same thing as a camera, yet without the visual tendencies
and more of the audio recording. With a mic, one can use the computer as a phone
using softwares to ring internationally, and talk through the computer. Mics are
highly used in video gaming, as you can communicate with one another by talking.
Computers also use mics to record audio. A mic can be a internal or external device;
many new laptops usually have a built in camera and microphone.

Backing Storage
Backing storage is a device in which computer data can be stored. Many backing
storage devices have been used over the years, such as floppy disks, hard drives,
CD and DVD's, USB or memory sticks, and many more. I will be explaining a few and
how they work below.
Floppy Disk
Early computers did not have CD drives or USB ports, thus a device called the
floppy disk used to be used. A floppy disk was a flexible removable magnetic disk,
encased in a hard plastic shell. Created in 1967, there were various sizes, yet due to
the size of the storage they are not used anymore, the most commonly used floppy
disk size was 3.5inch floppy disk; yet the problem with this was, the maximum
storage was only 1.44MB; compared to the 21st century where you can buy USB
sticks ranging from 2GB to 1TB and more.
Pen Drive
The most commonly used storage device is the USB (Universal Serial Bus) Drive.
USB drives are small storage devices which can fit into any USB ports which are
built-in to computers, laptops, game consoles, etc. USB drives range from small
capacity storages to high storages, and till today are evolving. USB drives are also
the easiest to use, as they do not require burning of CDs or any softwares (except
drivers) to store anything. It is a simple drag and drop.
CD
CD, or compact disk is a small round plastic portable disk, around the same size as
a floppy disk. A CD is used for storing virtually the same things as a USB stick, CD's
overtook vinyls and started being more widely known and used. CD drives started
appearing more in technology such as modern computers and laptops and still
remain. All videogame developing industries release video games which are played
on CD's. Most singers, rappers, etc, release music which is on CD's rather than
USB's or floppy disks; for the simple fact that CD's are much more portable, delicate
and less expensive than USB sticks, also they are more modernized and mainly
every device such as Playstations, Xbox's, Computers, Laptop, etc support CD's and
DVDs.

Operating Systems
Operating Systems have a huge purpose in computer systems, the first thing they
do is boot the hardware up; as without the hardware, the software would be
rendered useless. OS also organise memory use between programs, organise
processing time, deal with errors etc. Operating Systems provide interfaces which
make the computer easier to use.
There are two types of interfaces, which are explained below:
GUI
GUI or Graphical User Interface is the the type of interface most people use, it is
easy to look at, a lot easier to use than CLI, you can easily install and use softwares,
the Graphical User Interface doesnt take too long to master and simply cannot get
too complicated. The disadvantage of GUI is that, it requires a lot more memory
than CLI therefore it reduces the performance of the computer, depending on the
programmer it may take more time to be implemented, With a GUI there is no
possible way to make a chain of computer events to happen at the same time, you
cannot make system events, etc. Common interfaces used globally are Linux,
Windows, iOS, etc.
CLI
The Command Line Interface or CLI is more about the inside code which starts your
computer up rather than the looks therefore, it is not as good looking as the GUI,
but it is a lot faster than the GUI, and doesnt require an Operating System, and also
doesnt require a high specification computer. Yet the reason why CLI is not used as
widely as GUI is because CLI is used for more complex actions, and you need to
know what you're doing before you do it; As one mistake can take your right back to
step 1.
Overall throughout this task I have explained the components of a computer system
and how they work, in detail; their purpose and how they communicate with each
other. The basic functions of an operating system has also been outlined, with an
explanation of how they facilitate their users. Finally, I have explained the purpose
of different software utilities in depth.

Recommending Computer Systems


In this report I will be recommending a computer system which will meet some requirements;
which will be later stated. I will be sharing my views on my choice of components, alongside
specifying all the necessary hardware and software, for the system to work. My
recommendation of a computer system to a marketing department will include the
following criteria:

Designs media rich interactive web pages


DVDs
Paper based advertisements

This is the Lenovo ThinkCentre M73 Mini Tower.


Processor - Intel Pentium G3240 Processor (3M Cache,3.1GHz)
Operating System - Windows 10 Home 64
Form Factor - Tower 85% Power 280WTower 85% Power 280W
Additional I/O Ports - 2 x Rear USB2.0 ports
Total Memory - 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz UDIMM (8GBx2)
Video Adapter - AMD Radeon HD8570 2GB HDMI High Profile
Display Support - DisplayPort to DVI Video Adapter Converter
First Hard Drive - 500GB Hard Drive, 7200RPM, 3.5", SATA III
Optical Device - DVD Burner/CD-RW, SATA
Networking - Integrated Intel Gigabit Ethernet
851.39p

Screen Size - 28"


Resolution - 3840 x 2160
Dynamic Contrast Ratio - Mega DCR
AMD Freesync - Yes
Product Dimensions Without Stand - 26.01" x 15.01" x 2.89"
350.95

Ultra thin and modern look. Wireless. Connecting without wires or dongles to
manage. Full sized keyboard with number pad and mouse. Media keys included, so
you can easily control music and videos.
99.99
In this task I have chose a computer system, whole, with keyboard, mouse, monitor
and tower fitted for a marketing department purpose. Each and every feature about
the above makes it easier for the person making designs, it also gives them an
advantage which they wouldnt have with normal PCs. For example, the M73 tower
only has one CD/DVD drive yet can be extended, which was asked in the
requirements. Every device fits in with the criteria which was asked for.

Setting up a standalone computer


In this task I will be explaining how to set up a standalone computer, and install software and
hardware components, in a step by step guide format with pictures.

The very first thing you should do is carefully remove the packaging from all components.

Secondly, open up the latches on the processor socket, and remove the small pieces of plastic
which protect the pins.

You then place the processor aligning it correctly with the notches, and then close the hatch
when it is placed.

Before placing the motherboard, you should put in the small metal cover where the ports go.

You should also make sure that the case has the right pegs in place where the motherboard
should stand, some cases have the pegs which are already added, but in other cases you may
have to add some. After the pegs are in place, you can put the motherboard and processor into
the case, aligning the entire the thing with the pegs, making sure the holes go into the pegs.

The ports will enter the metal sheet and will fill the entire thing with peripheral slots.

After this you can screw in the motherboard, but you should put the screws into the pegs so the
motherboard rests a little above the case, not too tight but just so the motherboard doesn't
move.

After this is done, you should start plugging in the cables. Most commonly motherboards have a
4-pin power cable which is usually plugged in near the processor.

You can now add the processor fan, by matching up the holes and carefully inserting it.

You should make sure you adjust the four fasteners of the processor fan, and position them
according the manual. Once the fan is in place you need to push down on all four of the
fasteners in a diagonal pattern.

You then want to connect the wires of the motherboard coming from the case which are used for
the power and reset buttons.

Then plug those wires into the motherboard, and also connect any peripheral cables from the
case including the motherboard power connectors.

You then slide the DVD/CD drive into place, and align it with the front panel so it has a perfect
fit, and then screw on the sides tightly, just so the drive doesn't rattle

You can now add the hard-drive to the case, and connect the SATA cables before putting it into
the case, if the four screws are not tight enough, the hard-drive can rattle around quite a lot.

Your tower should now look like this, but to prevent the cables hitting the fan and for the overall
tower to look more presentable you can zip tie or attach the cables and wires to the sides of the
case and out of the way.

You can now get to adding the memory card, you should be able to line up the notches and
push down on the memory card. The fasteners should now probably snap into place.

Finally you can add on the panels to sides of the case.

Plug in a monitor, and turn it on.

Comparison of Operating Systems


Feature

Windows

Mac OS X

Ability to customise

Windows is extremely
customizable as you can
change the windows border
glass colour, which also
includes the entire search bar
and the outside of all
openable windows. The
theme can also be changed,
amongst them consists of the
following themes:
architecture, cartoon
characters, landscapes,
nature and art scenes; the
theme can also be thoroughly
customized changing the
wallpaper from a selected
picture saved on the
computer to another with
customizable intervals, e.g.
10 seconds, 1 minute, etc.
The account picture can also
be changed, meaning the
picture which appears when
logging in. The starting up
system sound can be
changed from the default to a
collection of different sounds.
Toolbars can be added to the
windows taskbar, such as
search bar links, iTunes, and
other widgets such as:
calendar, facebook login
window, the daily weather in
your area, and many more
downloadable widgets.

Due to the simplicity of Mac


OS X and it being a
minimalistic design, it has
some customizable tools
such as a time and
date/calendar widget to your
desktop, battery capacity
widget, CPU, memory status,
a weather map, scoreboard,
and themes.

Connectivity support for


peripherals

The windows operating


system supports the
computer making it able to
connect peripheral devices,
such as explained above

Macbooks include power


ports, where a power cable is
connected, on both
Macbooks and Macs USB
ports where USB cables,

through infrared light.

keyboards, mouses, etc can


be connected. The
thunderbolt port is where
storage devices can be
connected such as video
capture devices. The HDMI
port where TV's can be
connected, and Ethernet port,
where internet can be
connected if WiFi is not
applicable, FireWire ports,
where you can use a
FireWire to Thunderbolt
adapter. Audio output and
input peripherals where
headphones or speakers can
be connected, and finally
card reader slots where SD
cards can be inserted.

Security

All windows operating


systems have a built-in
firewall which is automatically
turned on except for windows
XP without service packs,
Windows 8 and 7 both have
anti spyware technology,
whilst only Windows 8 has
antivirus technology.

There are many security


measures apple has taken to
ensure safety of products.
The first application I will be
explaining is the Gatekeeper
application, which makes it
easier for the Mac user to
have control over what
applications they install, it
prevents the user from
downloading malicious
software, this application is
called the GateKeeper.
Secondly, FileVault 2
encrypts your data and
makes it safe and secure,
even if the Mac is lost or
stolen, the entire drive is
encrypted. Apple also has
many many more security
built-in applications, which
ensure security is at the
highest.

Stability

Windows OS has many


stability problems as time
goes by the PC will suddenly
start to reboot on occasion
without warning or error
which can make it extremely

The stability of OS X is rock


solid, yet a little limited at
times, it has utilities and
applications where linux,
windows and other operating
systems are behind, not only

frustrating, another issue is


in technology but in usability.
the PC may crash with a blue
screen or "the blue screen of
death", the PC may start to
freeze and no peripherals will
respond, or a specific
program will stop working and
can't be run, installed or even
uninstalled due to freezing.
Reliability

Windows 7 offered amazing


compatibility with hardware
and software related devices,
which are commonly used
today, and offers interesting
solutions for those who want
to apply software applications
or add devices. By far
Windows 7 is the most
reliable version of windows
created yet.

Due to OS X being built from


scratch, it is incredibly stable
and reliable, as Apple
controls production of the
operating system from A to Z,
it is produced so every part of
a Mac goes with another part
of a Mac, and it all comes
together perfectly.

Ease of management

Windows has an entire library


or section for ease of access,
which can be accessed
through the control panel. In
the Ease of Access Center
there are many applicable
items to be, well applied.
They consist of a screen
reader called Narrator, Braille
output devices, the display
can be magnified; colours
can be adjusted,
unnecessary animations and
background images can be
removed; an on-screen
keyboard and speech
recognition to use the
computer without a mouse or
keyboard, the size and colour
of the cursor, the way
windows responds key
combinations making them
easier to press; text and
visual alternatives for sounds
mainly for the deaf
population; and many more.

In Mac, the ease of access


menu is named accessibility
and in this way it is quite
similar to windows. For those
with sight problems, rather
than a magnifier (if the
accessibility is turned on)
through keyboard shortcuts
or scroll gestures the user is
able to zoom in or out of the
screen. If a Mac user has
colour blindness he is able to
invert colours, use grayscale,
enhance the contrast and
more. Just like the narrator
on windows, Mac has a
VoiceOver which carries out
the same task. There are also
mouse and keyboard
preferences which can be
ticked on or off, to make it
easier to type on a Mac, such
as sticky keys, slow keys,
mouse keys and switch
control. There are sections
within accessibility to make it
easier to navigate around,
these sections include:

Vision, media, hearing and


interacting, which all include
subsets of preferences and
settings which can be
enabled or disabled.
Associated utilities

Windows has more than


several utility software which
is used to configure, analyze,
optimize and maintain
computers. The long list
includes: Anti-viruses,
Archivers (Such as Winzip
and Winrar), Backup software
as explained above,
Clipboard managers, File
synchronizer, Debuggers,
Disk checkers, cleaners,
defragmenters, and
compressors, file managers,
network utilities,
screensavers and many
many more.

A Mac comes with a more


modern interface therefore it
has newer utilities than the
Windows OS, the very first
built-in utility is photos, which
is a simple photo viewer, but
rather than only it being on
the PC, it synchronizes with
all your apple devices and
creates a large library in
which all photos from all
devices can be viewed
altogether. Another utility is
iMovie and just like the
windows movie maker, it is a
more simple application with
a modern use of colours and
layout, with iMovie you can't
only watch your films, but you
can edit them however you
like and watch them in the
iMovie theater on any apple
device. GarageBand is a
music creator, and not like
anything which was built-in
on the windows, it gives a
collection of a sound library
which you can add small
sounds to, to finally go and
make a whole track with
different instruments, sound
effects and much more.
Pages is the new and
upgraded version of Microsoft
Word, in comparison to any
built-in text based
applications on the Windows
operating system such as
wordpad, or microsoft word,
or notepad, pages is a whole
lot better, combining an only
text format document with the
layout of a presentation, it is
a huge advancement in the

field of presenting. Just as


excel to Windows, there is
Numbers to Mac, and just like
the layout of pages, Numbers
is a statistics based
document which can look alot
better than pie charts on
Microsoft Excel; it is easier to
use and couldn't have been
any more easier. Keynote is
the Powerpoint of Mac, and
rather than simple
presentations, Mac has
worked on the world of
graphic design to make sure
their applications are
simplistic, minimal, but look
amazing, and are easy to
use. In terms of associated
utilities, OS X has beaten
Windows a lot.
Cost

The latest OS which is


Windows 10 Pro would sell at
199 and Windows 10 Home
would cost 119.

After four releases of Apple


Operating Systems which
cost 129, Apple dropped the
OS's upgrade cost to 29
with 2009's OS X 10.6 Snow
Leopard, and then to 19 with
last year's OS X 10.8
Mountain Lion.

How software utilities can increase


performance.
Storage capacity
There are tools on the computer system such as disk defragmenter, disk cleaner,
disk compressor, etc. which all can improve the performance of the computer, they
don't all increase speed but the due to freeing the storage capacity the computer
will tend to run a little faster. These applications free up space through collecting
running files, and closing files which are taking up unwanted space, other than this
they can collect all files which can be erroneous, and either remove the errors or
remove the files. By removing erroneous files, it is likely they will prevent the
computer from crashing. There are also a large quantity of software utilities which

can be downloaded and could free up memory and eventually make the computer
run faster.

Security
Anti Virus

A high rated and overall good security system should be an essential for the computer, whether
that security system may be an anti virus system, it can help your computer from picking up
malicious software. These softwares defragment the RAM and allow more memory to be more
efficiently used, if the systems are not installed, if a virus attack may occur, it can completely
take hold of your computer and shut it down, or cause crash errors, and other errors. The job of
the anti-virus is to scan files, identify and if a file (with a virus) or malware is detected, to
eliminate it. The better the security system, the more viruses it will eliminate, and therefore the
faster the computer will be.
Anti Spyware

Spyware is a software which allows a user to steal information about another user's computer
by transmitting their data secretely from their hard drive. It is similar to a Trojan horse virus as it
enters the user's computer when unwillingly disguised as another software. An AntiSpyWare
software prevents you from downloading these softwares, and if downloaded it immediately
detects them or detects them during a scan, and thus eliminates the threat.

Firewalls

A firewall is another form of security which is either already built-in or can be added onto a PC.
Firewalls are technological walls which prevent destructive elements from entering a specific
network or computer, they block any unauthorised access and prevent any information from
coming through which the computer detects as unsafe. It is just like an anti-virus and protects
the computer from harmful activity or malware.

Removal of cookies
Even though cookie files are quite small, when they build up they take quite a lot of space and
can slow the computer down. If the cookies are deleted it frees up a lot of space, and therefore
makes the computer work not a lot but a little faster.

Internet History
By clearing the internet history, the performance of a computer can be increased, as the data
has been removed from the system.

Defragmentation
Due to fragmentation the computer overruns and does excess work, which can decrease the
performance. The defragmenting software utility rearranges this data to make the hard disk
work more efficiently. The defragmenter has a rota on how it works, but can be used manually,
and also changed to fit purpose, it conjoins fragmented data so it is easier to be read by the
computer.

Drive formatting
Over a length of time, a hard drive of a computer may malfunction from deterioration, viruses,
spyware, etc. to solve these problems, you usually should format the hard drive and install the
OS again, this will remove all issues and start the computer on a clean slate increasing its
performance drastically.

Explain and justify improvements that could


be made to a computer system.
Hardware Improvements
Increasing RAM Capacity

An issue with many computers is the lack of speed and performance when running several
programs at once, this is usually due to a small RAM, the computer can't process all the
programs open, and is slowed down. By adding RAM to the motherboard, the computer
capacity is also increased, as well as the speed and performance; due to this the computer is
able to run several processes at a time, without the computer slowing down.

Increasing Hard Drive Capacity

If the computer has a hard drive with not much storage, and additional hard drive
could be added to the computer and increase the capacity, and thus the user of the
computer can add more programs and files to the computer, other than having
several high definition or high performance programs open.

AntiVirus and AntiSpyware


If the computer user has the latest AntiViruses and AntiSpywares installed on the computer, it
means they will detect the latest viruses, malicious softwares and spywares and thus eliminate
the threats. If the user doesnt have the latest softwares, they may not be able to detect
something relatively new, which may be able to infect the computer and stay there whilst the
user doesnt know its there and neither does the software.

Browsers
Many browsers for computer systems, are not able to fully provide the information which is
there, nowadays most web pages are for certain browsers, and when accessed on browsers
other than the ones selected many features may not be available or visible. For example many

flash game pages which work on Firefox are not accessible through Internet Explorer as IE isnt
compatible with modern flash games, and the software that is required for it. To improve the
computer system in related to browsers, the user should download the most commonly used
and highest rated browser which is suited to your needs. As long as it isnt Internet Explorer.

Operating System
In regards to Operating Systems, Windows 10 would work at a much faster pace to Windows
95. The latest Operating Systems would work better on a computer system rather than an old
one, the latest OSs have the latest programs and utilities, which can improve usability on
computers, for example: on windows 95, to screenshot or take an image of the screen you
would have the print screen and then edit it on paint, whereas on windows 10, you only have to
use the snipping tool to select your designated area and then save it.

Keyboard and Mouse


Peripherals such as the above can be customised to your use, an example of customisable
keyboards which can improve usability for you, and your use of a computer system, are braille
or left-handed keyboards. This can improve the computer system, and suit your needs.

Disk Defragmenter
The disk defragmenter can free up unwanted space on your disk and rearrange the fragmented
data which allows the computer to use data more efficiently and thus run more efficiently, by
joining the fragmented files so they can be processed faster.

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