Basic Computer Organization
- CPU OPERATION
The fundamental operation of most CPUs
To execute a sequence of stored instructions called a program.
The program is represented by a series of numbers that are kept in some kind of computer memory.
There are four steps that nearly all CPUs use in their operation: fetch, decode, execute, and write back.
- Retrieving an instruction from program memory.
- The location in program memory is determined by a program counter (PC)
- After an instruction is fetched, the PC is incremented by the length of the instruction word in terms of memory units.
- The instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other portions of the CPU.
- The way in which the numerical instruction value is interpreted is defined by the CPU’s instruction set architecture (ISA).
- Opcode, indicates which operation to perform.
- The remaining parts of the number usually provide information required for that instruction, such as operands for an addition operation.
- Such operands may be given as a constant value or as a place to locate a value: a register or a memory address, as determined by some addressing mode.
- During this step, various portions of the CPU are connected so they can perform the desired operation.
- If, for instance, an addition operation was requested, an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) will be connected to a set of inputs and a set of outputs.
- The inputs provide the numbers to be added, and the outputs will contain the final sum.
- If the addition operation produces a result too large for the CPU to handle, an arithmetic overflow flag in a flags register may also be set.
(iv) Write back
- Simply “writes back” the results of the execute step to some form of memory.
- Very often the results are written to some internal CPU register for quick access by subsequent instructions.
- In other cases results may be written to slower, but cheaper and larger, main memory.
- INPUT DEVICES
An input device is a hardware or peripheral device used to send data to a computer. An input device allows users to communicate and feed instructions and data to computers for processing, display, storage and/or transmission.
Input device enables the user to send data, information, or control signals to a computer. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer receives the input and processes it to produce the output.
Some of the popular input devices are:
- Light Pen
- Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
- Optical Character Reader (OCR)
The keyboard is a basic input device that is used to enter data into a computer or any other electronic device by pressing keys. It has different sets of keys for letters, numbers, characters, and functions. Keyboards are connected to a computer through USB or a Bluetooth device for wireless communication.
The mouse is a hand-held input device which is used to move cursor or pointer across the screen. It is designed to be used on a flat surface and generally has left and right button and a scroll wheel between them. Laptop computers come with a touchpad that works as a mouse. It lets you control the movement of cursor or pointer by moving your finger over the touchpad. Some mouse comes with integrated features such as extra buttons to perform different buttons.
The mouse was invented by Douglas C. Engelbart in 1963. Early mouse had a roller ball integrated as a movement sensor underneath the device. Modern mouse devices come with optical technology that controls cursor movements by a visible or invisible light beam.
The scanner uses the pictures and pages of text as input. It scans the picture or a document. The scanned picture or document then converted into a digital format or file and is displayed on the screen as an output. It uses optical character recognition techniques to convert images into digital ones.
A joystick is also a pointing input device like a mouse. It is made up of a stick with a spherical base. The base is fitted in a socket that allows free movement of the stick. The movement of stick controls the cursor or pointer on the screen.
The frist joystick was invented by C. B. Mirick at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. A joystick can be of different types such as displacement joysticks, finger-operated joysticks, hand operated, isometric joystick, and more. In joystick, the cursor keeps moving in the direction of the joystick unless it is upright, whereas, in mouse, the cursor moves only when the mouse moves.
(v) Light Pen
A light pen is a computer input device that looks like a pen. The tip of the light pen contains a light-sensitive detector that enables the user to point to or select objects on the display screen. Its light sensitive tip detects the object location and sends the corresponding signals to the CPU. It is not compatible with LCD screens, so it is not in use today. It also helps you draw on the screen if needed. The first light pen was invented around 1955 as a part of the Whirlwind project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Digitizer is a computer input device that has a flat surface and usually comes with a stylus. It enables the user to draw images and graphics using the stylus as we draw on paper with a pencil. The images or graphics drawn on the digitizer appear on the computer monitor or display screen. The software converts the touch inputs into lines and can also convert handwritten text to typewritten words.
It can be used to capture handwritten signatures and data or images from taped papers. Furthermore, it is also used to receive information in the form of drawings and send output to a CAD (Computer-aided design) application and software like AutoCAD. Thus, it allows you to convert hand-drawn images into a format suitable for computer processing.
The microphone is a computer input device that is used to input the sound. It receives the sound vibrations and converts them into audio signals or sends to a recording medium. The audio signals are converted into digital data and stored in the computer. The microphone also enables the user to telecommunicate with others. It is also used to add sound to presentations and with webcams for video conferencing.
(viii) Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
MICR computer input device is designed to read the text printed with magnetic ink. MICR is a character recognition technology that makes use of special magnetized ink which is sensitive to magnetic fields. It is widely used in banks to process the cheques and other organizations where security is a major concern. It can process three hundred cheques in a minute with hundred-percent accuracy. The details on the bottom of the cheque (MICR No.) are written with magnetic ink. A laser printer with MICR toner can be used to print the magnetic ink.
The device reads the details and sends to a computer for processing. A document printed in magnetic ink is required to pass through a machine which magnetizes the ink, and the magnetic information is then translated into characters.
(ix) Optical Character Reader (OCR)
OCR computer input device is designed to convert the scanned images of handwritten, typed or printed text into digital text. It is widely used in offices and libraries to convert documents and books into electronic files.
It processes and copies the physical form of a document using a scanner. After copying the documents, the OCR software converts the documents into a two-color (black and white), version called bitmap. Then it is analyzed for light and dark areas, where the dark areas are selected as characters, and the light area is identified as background. It is widely used to convert hard copy legal or historic documents into PDFs. The converted documents can be edited if required like we edit documents created in ms word.
- OUTPUT DEVICES
An output device is any device used to send data from a computer to another device or user. Most computer data output that is meant for humans is in the form of audio or video. Thus, most output devices used by humans are in these categories. Examples include monitors, projectors, speakers, headphones and printers.
Following are some of the important output devices used in a computer.
Monitors, commonly called as Visual Display Unit (VDU), are the main output device of a computer. It forms images from tiny dots, called pixels that are arranged in a rectangular form. The sharpness of the image depends upon the number of pixels.
Speakers are output devices that allow you to hear sound from your computer. Computer speakers are just like stereo speakers. There are usually two of them and they come in various sizes.
Printer is an output device, which is used to print information on paper.
There are two types of printers −
- Impact Printers
- Non-Impact Printers
- MEMORY OR PRIMARY STORAGE
Purpose of Storage
The fundamental components of a general-purpose computer are arithmetic and logic unit, control circuitry, storage space, and input/output devices. If storage was removed, the device we had would be a simple calculator instead of a computer. The ability to store instructions that form a computer program, and the information that the instructions manipulate is what makes stored program architecture computers versatile.
Primary storage is directly connected to the central processing unit of the computer. It must be present for the CPU to function correctly, just as in a biological analogy the lungs must be present (for oxygen storage) for the heart to function (to pump and oxygenate the blood). As shown in the diagram, primary storage typically consists of three kinds of storage:
It is the internal to the central processing unit. Registers contain information that the arithmetic and logic unit needs to carry out the current instruction. They are technically the fastest of all forms of computer storage.
It contains the programs that are currently being run and the data the programs are operating on. The arithmetic and logic unit can very quickly transfer information between a processor register and locations in main storage, also known as a “memory addresses”. In modern computers, electronic solid-state random access memory is used for main storage, and is directly connected to the CPU via a “memory bus” and a “data bus”.
It is a special type of internal memory used by many central processing units to increase their performance or “throughput”. Some of the information in the main memory is duplicated in the cache memory, which is slightly slower but of much greater capacity than the processor registers, and faster but much smaller than main memory.
Memory is often used as a shorter synonym for Random Access Memory (RAM). This kind of memory is located on one or more microchips that are physically close to the microprocessor in your computer. Most desktop and notebook computers sold today include at least 512 megabytes of RAM (which is really the minimum to be able to install an operating system). They are upgradeable, so you can add more when your computer runs really slowly.
The purpose of storage in a computer is to hold data or information and get that data to the CPU as quickly as possible when it is needed. Computers use disks for storage: hard disks that are located inside the computer, and floppy or compact disks that are used externally.
- Computers Method of storing data & information for long term basis i.e. even after PC is switched off.
- It is non – volatile
- Can be easily removed and moved & attached to some other device
- Memory capacity can be extended to a greater extent
- Cheaper than primary memory
Storage Involves Two Processes
- Writing data
- Reading data
(i) Floppy Disks
The floppy disk drive (FDD) was invented at IBM by Alan Shugart in 1967. The first floppy drives used an 8-inch disk (later called a “diskette” as it got smaller), which evolved into the 5.25-inch disk that was used on the first IBM Personal Computer in August 1981. The 5.25-inch disk held 360 kilobytes compared to the 1.44 megabyte capacity of today’s 3.5-inch diskette.
The 5.25-inch disks were dubbed “floppy” because the diskette packaging was a very flexible plastic envelope, unlike the rigid case used to hold today’s 3.5-inch diskettes.
(ii) Hard Disks
Your computer uses two types of memory: primary memory which is stored on chips located on the motherboard, and secondary memory that is stored in the hard drive. Primary memory holds all of the essential memory that tells your computer how to be a computer. Secondary memory holds the information that you store in the computer.