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Fundamentals of Computer and programming in C (CMP 101 )

Main memory consists of a number of storage locations, each of which is identified by a unique address The ability of the CPU to identify each location is known as its addressability Each location stores a word i.e. the number of bits that can be processed by the CPU in a single operation. Word length may be typically 16, 24, 32 or as many as 64 bits. A large word length improves system performance, though may be less efficient on occasions when the full word length is not used

Main Memory
Main memory, primary memory or simply memory is used by CPU to store/retrieve data and instructions temporarily.
Storage Evaluation Criteria Storage capacity Access time Cost per bit of storage Volatile/Nonvolatile Explanation Maximum number of bytes/words. Time required to locate and retrieved stored data. Cost of a memory unit of a desired capacity. Volatile memory looses data when power source is turned off or interrupted. Nonvolatile memory retains data when power is turned off or interrupted. In random access memory (RAM) every data item can be accessed independently at any instance of time.

Random access

Address buss: Sends the memory address of the data.

Why more bits? Larger numbers and address space

Addresses 0
1 3 4 Main memory 1 2 n Bits 2


Address space: Number of memory byte or words Address space = 2n where n is the number of bits in address bus.

Interfacing device requests to read or write contents


5 -

Data buss

Fixed and variable length memory

Word addressable memory: Where each word is of fixed size 16-bits, 32-bits or 64-bit words. They can store 2, 4 or 8 characters (or bits). Such memory is viewed as fixed length memory.

Character (or byte) addressable memory is viewed as variable length memory.

Types of main memory

There are two types of main memory, Random Access Memory (RAM) and Read Only Memory (ROM)

Random Access Memory (RAM)

holds its data as long as the computer is switched on All data in RAM is lost when the computer is switched off Described as being volatile

It is direct access as it can be both written to or read from in any order

Its purpose is to temporarily hold programs and data for processing. In modern computers it also holds the operating system

Types of RAM
1. Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Contents are constantly refreshed 1000 times per second Access time 60 70 nanoseconds

Note: a nanosecond is one billionth of a second! 2. Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM)
Quicker than DRAM Access time less than 60 nanoseconds 3. Direct Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRDRAM) New type of RAM architecture Access time 20 times faster than DRAM More expensive

Types of RAM
4. Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) Doesnt need refreshing Retains contents as long as power applied to the chip

Access time around 10 nanoseconds

Used for cache memory Also for date and time settings as powered by small battery 5. Cache memory Small amount of memory typically 256 or 512 kilobytes Temporary store for often used instructions Level 1 cache is built within the CPU (internal) Level 2 cache may be on chip or nearby (external) Faster for CPU to access than main memory

The operation of cache memory

1. Cache fetches data from next to current addresses in main memory 2. CPU checks to see whether the next instruction it requires is in cache

Main Memory (DRAM)




4. If not, the CPU has to fetch next instruction from main memory - a much slower process

3. If it is, then the instruction is fetched from the cache a very fast position

= Bus connections

Types of RAM
6. Video Random Access memory Holds data to be displayed on computer screen Has two data paths allowing READ and WRITE to occur at the same time

A systems amount of VRAM relates to the number of colours and resolution

A graphics card may have its own VRAM chip on board 7. Virtual memory Uses backing storage e.g. hard disk as a temporary location for programs and data where insufficient RAM available Swaps programs and data between the hard-disk and RAM as the CPU requires them for processing

A cheap method of running large or many programs on a computer system

Cost is speed: the CPU can access RAM in nanoseconds but hard-disk in milliseconds (Note: a millisecond is a thousandth of a second) Virtual memory is much slower than RAM

Read only memory (ROM)

ROM holds programs and data permanently even when computer is switched off
Data can be read by the CPU in any order so ROM is also direct access

The contents of ROM are fixed at the time of manufacture

Stores a program called the bootstrap loader that helps start up the computer Access time of between 10 and 50 nanoseconds

Types of ROM
1. Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) Empty of data when manufactured May be permanently programmed by the user 2. Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM)

Can be programmed, erased and reprogrammed

The EPROM chip has a small window on top allowing it to be erased by shining ultra-violet light on it After reprogramming the window is covered to prevent new contents being erased Access time is around 45 90 nanoseconds

Types of ROM
3. Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) Reprogrammed electrically without using ultraviolet light Must be removed from the computer and placed in a special machine to do this

Access times between 45 and 200 nanoseconds

4. Flash ROM Similar to EEPROM However, can be reprogrammed while still in the computer Easier to upgrade programs stored in Flash ROM Used to store programs in devices e.g. modems Access time is around 45 90 nanoseconds 5. ROM cartridges Commonly used in games machines Prevents software from being easily copied

Memory configurations for Intel CPUs

Read about the following Computer Memory Types

L1 cache L2 cache RAM - the Main Memory DRAM Fast Page Mode DRAM EDO DRAM SDRAM PC133 SDRAM DDR SDRAM DDR2 SDRAM Dual-channel DDR 1T-SRAM Direct RDRAM SIMMs DIMMs RIMMs Presence detect Parity memory ECC memory Memory upgrades Evolution Flash memory Magnetic RAM

The basic rule--which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 24 months--has been the guiding principle of the high-tech industry since it was coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965.

Limitations of Primary Storage

Limited Capacity: It cannot be used to store the large volumes of data items. Volatility: Looses data when electric power is turned off or interrupted. Data Portability: It cannot be used to port the data from one place to other.

These limitations lead to the development of auxiliary memory or secondary storage devices.

Secondary Storage Devices Sequential Access Devices Direct Access Devices

Magnetic Tape

Magnetic Disk

Optical Disk

Floppy Disk

Hard Disk



ZIP Disk

Disk Pack

Winchester Disk

Magnetic Tape
The first truly mass auxiliary storage device was the magnetic tape drive Tape drives have a major problem; can you describe it?

7 Track;6-bit BCD; Even parity (all tracks must have even number of 1)
Track/Channel numbers Parity bit 7 6

A frame

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F G H I J K L MN O P 1 1
1 0 0 0 1 6-bit BCD for letter A (Table 4.2 page 36 Even parity (all tracks must have even number of 1)


4 Numeric 3 2 1

Error Checking

9 Track;8-bit EBCDIC; Even parity (all tracks must have even number of 1)
EBCDIC for the letter A Track/Channel numbers 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A frame 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F G H I J K L MN O P
3s digit 2s digit Added Zone Added Zone Zone Parity bit Zone Units digit 4s digit

0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 Error Checking Odd parity (all tracks must have odd number of 1) 8-bit EBCDIC for letter A (Table 4.3 page 8

Record: Group of characters separated by blank Inter record gap (IRG) Blocks: Records are grouped into blocks Blocking factor: # of records perblocks Inter Block gap (IBG) Storage capacity of tape= Data recording density x Length Data transfer rate (bytes/second to main memory Tape drive Tape controller Tape Types (Half-inch tape reel, Half-inch tape cartridge, Quarter-inch streamer tape and 4mm Digital Audio Tape (DAT)

Advantages & Limitations of Magnetic Tape

Virtually unlimited storage capacity. Low cost. Easy to handle and store. Easy to port.

The are not suitably for frequent data access. Must be operated in dustless environment. Must be operated in controlled environment. Must have proper identification labels

Uses of Magnetic Tape

Good for applications that require sequential data processing. Data backup. Data archiving. Physically large data transfer Software distribution

Magnetic Disks
Generally 8 bit EBCDIC code is used to record the data items. Surface: 2 surfaces per disk. Tracks: 000-199. Sectors: 8 sectors per track. Disk pack: 200 disks. Cylinder: Each track from all recording surfaces in a disk pack form a cylinder. Storage capacity = # of surfaces # of tracks per surface x # of sectors per track x # of bytes per sector. Access mechanism: Read/write head moves to an address by specifying the (disk #, track #, sector #, byte #)

A platter coated with iron oxide: A magnetizable material

Magnetic Disks
Seek Time: Time to move the R/W head to the desired track. Latency or Rotational Delay Time: Time to rotate the disk to the desired sector of a track. Average Latency Time? Transfer Rate: Rate at which data to be written/read. Transfer rate = n x r /60 where n is the # of bytes per track and r is the revolution per second. Disk Formatting: Formatting prepares a disk to be used by different disk drives. Formatting creates file allocation table (FAT) that specifies the track and sector of the data items. Important: Magnetic Disks are direct or random access device because data items can be accessed by specifying its address. Disk drives with interchangeable disks. Disk drives with fixed disks. Disk Controller: Controls the movement of R/W heads, and disk rotation.

Magnetic Disk Type

Magnetic Disk

Floppy Disk (1.4 MB)

Hard Disk

Zip Bernoulli Disk (Portable/Fixed)

Disk Packs

Winchester Disk

Advantages & Limitations

Direct Access. Simultaneous sharing. On-line/Off-line access. Unlimited disk may be added. Low cost. Portable Fast

Inefficient for sequential data processing. Sharing make data unsecured Disk failure. Cost of magnetic tape is lower Must be operated in dustless environment

Uses of Magnetic Drives

Random access applications Shared on-line secondary storage. Data backup. Data archiving Data and software transportation. Software distribution.

In the optic readable CD-ROM, the data storage consists of millions of indentations burnt into light reflecting silver surface. The burnt dents reflect less light than the shiny surface.

The CD-ROM has only one track, a spiral winding its way from the center to the outer edge. The spiral track is ideal for reading large block of serial data.

Access MEchanism
A weak laser beam is sent to the disk through a two-way mirror and the sensor registers the difference in light reflection from the burnt and shiny areas as zeros and ones. Access time: 100-300 millisecond. CD-ROM (Compact disk read only memory). WORM (Write once read memory) R/W CD (Read/Write compact disk)

Advantages & Limitations

Low cost Ideal for reading large volumes of data. No mechanical R/W heads. Long life data storage. Easy to handle, store and port.

Slower than magnetic disk. Complicated drive than magnetic disk.

Uses of optical disk

Distribution of large amount of data and Mulltimedia.

Mass Storage
Disk Array: It uses a set of magnetic disks. Automated tape library: Uses a set of magnetic tapes. CD-ROM jukebox: Uses a set of CDROM

Cache Memory Main Memory Hard Disk Magnetic tape, Floppy, Mass Storage

Memory Hierarchy