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An introduction to computers and computer systems
An introduction to computers and computer systems

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1 A Personal Computer

Figure 1 shows an old advertisement for a laptop from about 2010. The main features of the computer are listed in this advert. One item on the list is ‘Processor: AMD E450 1.65 GHz’. So this computer uses an AMD E450 processor, running at a speed of 1.65 GHz. A processor is an essential component of a computer; it carries out, or executes, the instructions that make up the computer program. PCs use one main processor and several other ‘supporting’ processors, and adverts for PCs often specify what main processor they use. The speed of the processor (1.65 GHz in this instance) is a measure of how fast the processor can carry out each instruction. (Don’t worry if you don’t understand the term ‘GHz’ and other specialised terms used in the advert such as ‘Ram: 6gb DDR3’. These will be explained as the course progresses.)

This is an advert for a laptop. It contains an image of an open laptop and the following text: The new K53u-Sx297v laptop. Ideal for work or play, the perfect back to school essential. The top specs: long batter life, a massive 500gb of storage, 6gb of memory, Windows 7 HP. The tech spec: Display - 15.6 inch LED HD 1080p. OS - Windows 7 Home Premium. Processor - AMD E450 1.65hz. Number of cores - 2. Hard drive - 500gb 540 Rpm. Ram - 6gb DDR3 (max 8gb). Extras - built in webcam, SD card reader, Office 2010. 1 year warranty including 5 years free support. Our price £317.
Figure 1 An old advertisement for a personal computer.