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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010


Chapter Two
CPU, Motherboard Storage & I/O

• Bits and Bytes

• Coding techniques: ASCII, ANSI, Unicode, EBCDIC
• Categories of Machines: Supercomputers, Mainframes, Workstations,
Microcomputers, Microcontrollers
• Basic functions of Computers: Input, Processing, Storage, Data movement,
• System Unit
Ø CPU: ALU and Control Unit
Ø System Bus
Ø CPU registers: Special purpose and general purpose registers
Ø Instruction Cycle: Fetch, Decode, Execute and Write back
• Expandability:
Ø Expansion slots and Expansion buses: ISA, PCI, AGP
Ø Expansion Cards: Audio card, video card, Modem card, LAN card, PC
• I/O ports: Serial Port, Parallel Port, SCSI Port, USB Port, Dedicated Port,
wireless Port

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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010
Bit: Binary Digit: ‘0’ or ‘1’
Nibble: 4 bits comprise together to form a Nibble.
Byte: 8 bits à 1 byte
2 nibbles à 1 byte
1 Alphanumeric character à 1 byte
(e.g. A, H, J, R, L, !, 5, 9)
Kilobyte (KB):
1024= 210 Bytes/characters à 1 KB
(Approx half page of text)
Megabyte (MB):
1024 KB= 220 Bytes/characters à 1 MB
(Approx. 500 pages of text)
More than one million characters
Gigabyte (GB):
1024 MB= 230 Bytes à 1 GB
More than one billion characters
(Approx. 500,000 pages of text)
Terabyte (TB):
1024 GB= 240 Bytes à 1 TB
More than one trillion characters
(Approx. 500.000,000 pages of text)
Pita Byte (PB):
1024 TB= 250 Bytes à 1 PB
More than one quadrillion characters
(Approx. 500,000,000,000 pages of text)
Coding Techniques:
Ø ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
Ø It is generally pronounced as æski.
Ø It is a character encoding based on the English alphabet.
Ø ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that work with text.
Ø It is a 7 bit code and the seven bits combination can have 128 different characters.
Ø It currently defines 33 non-printing codes e.g. ESC, space, backspace etc. Mostly obsolete control characters
that affect how text is processed, plus the following 95 printable characters (starting with the space character):
! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . / 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9:; < = > ?
` Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz {|} ~
ANSI stands for American National Standard Institute. It is an 8 bit code. The 8 different combinations can
have 256 different characters and symbols. The initial 128 characters are the same as that of the ASCII code; therefore it
is also termed as extended ASCII. The remaining 128 characters have been specified for foreign languages.

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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010
Unicode stands for Uniform code. Unicode is an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all
of the writing systems of the world i.e. Universal Character Set, to be consistently represented and manipulated by
computers. Unicode consumes memory twice as compared to that of ANSI and ASCII. It uses two bytes for each
character rather than 1 byte.
It is a sixteen bit code and 16 different combinations can have 65536 different characters. Unicode is being used in
Windows NT and its descendants, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The Java and .NET byte code environments also
use it. Initially it was proposed to be used as standard code initially but was then rejected due to its high cost and space
and time consuming characteristics.
Ø EBCDIC stands for extended binary coded decimal interchange code.
Ø A single EBCDIC byte occupies 8 bits.
Ø It is descendant from punched cards and the corresponding 6 bit binary coded decimal that most of IBM’s
computer peripherals of the late 1950s and early 1960s used. It is used on IBM mainframe operating systems
like z/OS, OS/390, VM and VSE, as well as IBM minicomputer operating systems like OS/400 and i5/OS.
Categories of Machines
Supercomputers :
The fastest available computer in the world at this moment. Supercomputers are high-capacity machines with hundreds
of thousands of processors that can perform over 1 trillion calculations per second.
Example: IBM ASCI White (Accelerated Strategies Computing Initiative White)
Ø 8192 processors
Ø 12.3 trillion instructions per second
Ø 12,000 sq.feet (size) occupies
Ø 106 tons (weight)
Ø 97,000 times memory of 64MB microcomputer
Ø 16,000 times secondary memory of 10GB microcomputer.
Ø 83 miles wires
Example: RoadRunner Supercomputer (Task assigned to the students)
Mainframe computers :
A large and fast central computer which offers superior data management and processing. Usually used in very
large organizations such as banks, airlines, insurance companies and colleges for processing millions of transactions.
Often users access a mainframe by means of a terminal which has a display screen and a keyboard and can input and
output data but cannot by itself process data. Mainframes are water- or air-cooled computers. Small mainframes are
often called midsize computers or minicomputers.

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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010

Workstations :
Expensive powerful computers, usually used for scientific, mathematical and engineering calculations for CAD
(Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing).Workstations look like a PC but they are
different from it. Speed is one of the distinguishing characteristics of workstation from a PC. The workstation I/O
devices also set it apart from a PC.A typical workstation will support a large screen color monitor capable of displaying
higher resolution graphics (resolution refers to the clarity of the image) .The capabilities of today’s high-end PCs are
very similar to those of low-end workstations. In a few years the average PC will have the capabilities of the
workstation. Time will tell whether we call it a PC or a workstation or something else.
Personal Computers (Microcomputers):
Microcomputers are also called PCs. In 1981 IBM (International Business Machine) introduced its IBM PC as
business tool. Conventional PCs can have keyboard, a mouse, a monitor or several other devices and can function as
stand alone computer. They are further categorized as:
Ø Desktop PCs
Ø Tower PCS
Ø Laptop PCs
Ø Pocket PCs
Microcontrollers :
Microcontrollers are also called embedded computers or the tiny specialized microprocessors installed in
several appliances and automobiles. In microwave ovens for instance, these microcontrollers store data about how long
to cook and at what temperature. Microcontrollers are used in several electronic appliances (e-pliances) such as washing
machines, microwave ovens, traffic -controlled system, and blood-pressure monitors.
Basic functions/operations of computers:
Input operation:
Input is whatever is put in to a computer system. Input can nearly be any kind of data –letters, numbers,
symbols, shapes, colors, temperatures, sounds, or whatever raw material needs processing. When you type some words
or numbers on a keyboard, those words are also considered as input data.

Processing operation:
Processing is the manipulation or execution of the data into information. The processing is done by the central
processing unit frequently called C.P.U. or Processor in short.
Storage operation:
The data or information needs to be stored in the storage media. There are two types of storage:
Primary storage: It is also called temporary storage or main memory that is directly accessed by the CPU. Usually
RAM, ROM, Cache and CPU registers can be considered as the primary storage.

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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010
Secondary storage: This storage is used to hold the data permanently. A floppy disk, hard disk or CD is an example of
secondary storage.
Output operation:
Output is whatever is received out of the computer system, the results of processing, usually information.
Examples of output are numbers or pictures displayed on a screen, words printed out on paper through printer, or music
played over some loudspeakers.
Communication operation:
There are several different components in the computer systems which may perform their respective functions
simultaneously in processing or calculating the current operations. For the very reason they must also be able to share
the data and interact with each other so as to come with good and accurate results, they need to communicate with each
other. The computer systems must be able to provide mechanism for communication between the interacting
components through cables, wires or even wireless.
System Unit:

Though there are several components that ALU

comprise the system unit of a computer. But in the

course we will discuss the major components of the
system. The major components of the system are I/O
shown below and discussed ahead.


Ø C.P.U or Central Processing Unit is the brain of computer.
Ø It is basically a “Microprocessor chip”, which is a tiny piece of silicon that contains millions of miniature
electronic circuits.
Ø Microprocessor follows the instructions of the software (program) and processes/manipulates/calculates data
into information.
Ø Microprocessors are known as Microcontrollers or Embedded Computers when modified for use in machines
other then computer.
Major components of C.P.U:
Control Unit (C.U):
Ø A Control Unit is the part of C.P.U that directs its operations. The Control Unit fetches instructions from main
memory one at a time, decodes them and executes them, calling on the A.L.U where necessary.
Ø Control Unit after decoding the instructions generates control signals which enable or disable the functional
units in the system that may be required to in executing the instructions. e.g. ADD instruction may require the

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adder circuit to process the instruction. In this instruction adder circuit must be enabled through control signals
generated by CU.
Arithmetic Logic Unit (A.L.U):
Ø A.L.U performs all the mathematical operations on an instruction i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication,

division etc.
Ø It also perform all the logical comparisons such as <, >, = etc.
Ø It is controlled by the C.U by setting circuits that tell the A.L.U what operations to perform.
Ø A.L.U stores data or the result in the accumulator register or the other general purpose register.
System Bus:
Ø It is the electrical data roadways that transmit data within C.P.U, between C.P.U and main memory.
Ø Three types:
o Data Bus: Used for communicating data within the processor components or between the CPU and main
memory. Normally the data bus width is equal to the width of main memory single location. e.g. if single
location can store 16 bits of data then definitely the data bus width is 16 bits.
o Address Bus: Used for addressing the main memory location (s) from which the CPU intends to read or to
which CPU intends to write the data. Normal size of address bus is equal to the number of bits in address of
any main memory location. e.g. if there are 256 locations in main memory then address of any location will
be of 8 bits. Because 28 =256. Hence the width of address bus will be equal to 8 bits.
o Control Bus: Used by the processor to send control signals to various devices or internal components in the
system. For example it may send READ/WRITE control signals to the memory when necessary for
accessing it.
Ø Registers are high speed storage areas that temporarily stores data (not more than a few bytes) during
processing in order to speed it up.
Ø Registers handle data and instructions at a speed about 10 times faster than that of cache memory and
are used for a variety of processing functions.
Types of registers:
General-Purpose registers:
Accumulator Register: One of the most frequently used registers within ALU. Accumulator has several
functions. Amongst them two of the important functions are given below:
1. One of the operands (data) of the current instruction is usually stored in the Accumulator register.
2. The result of current operation of ALU is stored in Accumulator.
A,B,C, D, H, L registers: These general purpose registers can be used at any time for storing any general
purpose data. They may also be used by ALU in case if the number of operands in current instruction is more
than one. These registers can also be used in pairs when the size of operands extends the size of a single
register. AB, CD, HL registers are then used as pairs and are often called register pairs.

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Special-Purpose registers:
Instruction Register (IR): During the execution of program, the processor fetches instructions from main
memory one at a time. Currently fetched instruction is stored in the processor in instruction register. Where then
it is decoded and the actual execution of current instruction begins then. The instruction register is used to store
the current instruction fetched by the processor for execution.
Program Counter (PC) or Instruction Pointer: An special purpose register that always is used to store the
address of instruction in main memory that is to be executed next. In other words the program counter points to
the location in main memory where next instruction resides. That is why PC is also called instruction pointer.
Address Register (AR): Address register stores the address of one of the operands of current instruction or the
data that is to be fetched from main memory that may be needed by the current instruction to be executed.
Instruction Cycle:
The execution of any instruction is carried out in following four steps:
o This step involves retrieving information from main memory.
o As a program is executed, data flow from RAM through an interface unit of wires called the bus, which connects
the CPU to RAM.
o The location in program memory is located by a Program Counter (PC), which stores a number that identifies the
current position in the program.
o After an instruction is fetched, the PC is incremented by the length of the instruction word in terms of memory
o In this step the instruction is decoded by a processing unit called the Instruction decoder in the control unit that
interprets and implements software instructions. After decoding the instruction, the control unit generates control signals
related with current instruction to be executed to various functional units inside or out of the processor.
o After receiving the instructions or the control signals from control unit, the functional units start their respective
functions in executing the instruction.
o For instance, if an addition operation was requested, the adder circuit must be enabled through control signals to
perform the addition by forwarding the operands to be added.
Write back:
o The final step, write back, simply "writes back" the results of the execute step to some form of memory.
o Very often the results are written to some internal CPU register (usually the Accumulator register) for quick access
by subsequent instructions.
o In case if the contents of Accumulator are not further to be used, then these contents are written to slower, but
cheaper and larger, main memory or in the secondary storage as defined by the instructions so that the Accumulator
become available for next instruction operands without loss of the result of current operation.

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CS-105 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering FE (EE) Session-2010

Expandability: Buses and Cards

Expansion: Expansion is a way of increasing a computer’s capability by adding hardware, which is not part of the basic
system. Expansion of a computer depends on its architecture; closed or open.
a. Closed Architecture: Means a computer has no expansion capability i.e. Computer is designed by the
manufacturer in such a way that no further changes are possible.
b. Open Architecture: It does have expansion slots. With open architecture, the manufacturer shares specifications
with outsiders.
Expansion Slots: Expansion slots are the sockets on the motherboard into which expansion cards can be plugged.
Upgrading: Upgrading means changing to a newer, usually more powerful or sophistic ated version. e.g. upgrading the
system from Pentium-II to Pentium-III.
Expansion Cards: Expansion cards are also known as expansion boards, adapter cards, interface cards, plug-in boards,
controller cards, add-ins or add-ons are circuit boards that provide more memory or that control peripheral devices.
Expansion Buses: Buses are electrical data roadways through which bits are transmitted. The bus that connects the CPU
within itself and to main memory is the system bus also called memory bus or the front-side bus. The bus that
connects the CPU with expansion slots on the motherboard and thus with peripheral devices is the expansion bus.
Types of Expansion Cards:
Graphics Cards
Ø Used for monitors and image based devices like multimedia projectors, TV tuners, video cameras etc.
Ø Graphics cards are included in all PCs, also called a video card or video adapter.
Ø It converts signals from the computer into video signals that can be displayed as image on a monitor, e.g. 3-D

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Sound Cards
Ø Sound card or simply audio card supports speakers, micro-phones and headsets.
Ø They are used for audio input and output.
Ø Sound cards are also used to add music and sound effects to computer video games.
Ø Sound card receives digitized signals from computer and converts them into analog form which is audible for
Modem Cards
Ø Used for remote communication via phone lines.
Ø Most of the new PCs come with internal modems, modems installed inside as circuit cards.
Ø Transmit voice and fax signals.
Ø Modem stands for Modulation and De-Modulation means converting from digital to analog signals and vice
Network Interface Cards (NIC)
Ø Used for remote communication via LAN cable.
Ø Allows the transmission of data over a cable network.
Ø Cable network may connect various computers and other devices such as printers.
Ø They are also named as network cards r Ethernet cards.
PC Cards
Ø Originally called PCMCIA cards (for the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association).
Ø PC cards are thin, credit-card size (2.1 by 3.4 inches).
Ø Specially used for notebook and laptop computers.
Ø Notebook PCs due to their compact size have fewer expansion slots than desktop PCs.
Ø At present, there are three sizes for PC cards;
o Thin: Primarily used for flash memory cards.
o Thick: Used for fax modems and network interface cards.
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o Thickest: Used for rotating disk devices such as hard-disk devices and for wireless communication devices.
Types of Expansion Buses:
ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) Bus
Ø For ordinary low-speed devices.
Ø Most widely used expansion bus.
Ø It is 8 or 16 bits wide.
Ø It is still used for mice, modem cards, low speed network cards because of the slowest transmission of data.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Bus
Ø It is a higher-speed bus.
Ø 32 or 64 bits wide and four times faster than ISA bus.
Ø It is widely used to connect graphic cards, modems and high-speed network cards.
AGP (Accelerated Graphic Port) Bus
Ø Transmit data at even higher speeds.
Ø Specially designed to support video and 3D-graphics.
Ø An AGP bus is twice as fast as PCI bus.
I/O Ports
A port is connecting socket or jack on the outside/backside of the system unit into which different kinds of
cables are plugged.
Types of Ports:
Ports are of several types. Following are six common ones:
Serial Port
Ø A line connected to a serial port will send one bit at a time, one after another e.g. cars on a one-lane highway
because individual bits must follow each other.
Ø A serial port is usually used to connect devices that do not require fast transmission of data such as keyboard,
mouse, monitors, and modems.
Ø Suitable for transmission of data over long distance.
Ø The standard for PC serial ports is the 9-pin or 25-pin RS-232c connector.
Parallel Port
Ø A line connected to a parallel port allows 8 bits (1 byte) at a time to be transmitted simultaneously like cars on
an eight-lane highway.
Ø Fast transmission of data over short distance.
Ø They can transmit information efficiently only up to 15 feet e.g. high speed printers, external disk or magnetic
tape backup units etc.
Ø Cost effective.
SCSI Ports (Small Computer System Interface)
Ø For transmitting fast data up to seven devices.

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Ø Support “daisy-chain” devices.
• Daisy chain: means that several devices are connected in series to each other, so that data for the seventh
device has to go through the other six devices first.
Ø They transmit data up to 32-bits at a time higher than those possible with serial and parallel ports.
Ø 15 peripherals can be connected.
Ø Among the devices that may be connected are external hard disks, CD-ROM devices, scanners and magnetic
tape backup units.

USB Port (Universal Serial Bus)

Ø Can theoretically connect up to 127 peripheral devices daisy-chained to one general purpose port.
Ø Useful for peripherals such as digital cameras, digital speakers, scanners, high-speed modems and joysticks.
Ø USB hot plug or hot swappable allows such devices to be connected or disconnected even while the PC is
Ø It permits plug and play which allows peripheral devices and expansion cards to be automatic ally configured
while they are being installed.
Ø Intel engineer connected 111 devices using USB port.
Dedicated Ports
Special purpose ports that are used for specific devices. For example:
Ø 5-pins or 7-pins round connector for keyboard or mouse.
Ø Jack for speakers or microphones.
Ø Modems to telephone jacks.
Ø Power plug sockets (not a port).

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Wireless Ports
Ø Allows a computer to make a cable less connection over a few feet with in limited range.
Ø Infrared (IrDa) port, Bluetooth standard, WiFi etc are the types of wireless ports.
Ø Peripherals thus used to connect with wireless ports will definitely be wireless supported devices. Such as
wireless printers, scanners, cameras etc.

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