Computer Upgrade With increasing popularity of computer games, and multimedia home PC users often need an unexpensive computer system upgrade. By building a custom computer one is able to combine componenets, and operating system to provide maximal gaming performance. Computers are often called number manipulators, because of their ability to run millions of mathematical operations per second (White 43). Computers use binary system of numbers, which allows them to operate system of microscopic switches called transistors found inside of computer chips. Binary system is defined as counting system that uses two digits one and zero (Gookin 49).
A transistor is a basic building block of microchips; transistors are combined in formations called logic gates (White 39). “Transistor can only create binary information: one if current passes through or zero if current does not, to work with transistors”(White 39). Computer software uses Boolean logic, which is based on selecting true or false values used in computer programming (White 39). All personal computers have BIOS, which is an acronym for Basic Input Output System. The BIOS runs every time the computer is started, and it basically tells the computer how to act (White 19). The BIOS is a part of the boot up process, or a complex set of operations checking hardware that components are working properly. Besides BIOS and several other operations there is poweron self-test – POST being ran.
POST test runs at the start up, and if it finds an error, it sends a warning message (White 5). Central processing unit CPU is the most important part of the personal computer, all other components work as a bridge to CPU (White 59). The speed of the processor is usually defined by using units called megahertz (MHz, also million frequency waves per second). CPUs are generally divided into two categories- CISC and RISC. CISC complex instruction set computing, uses many small instructions to carry out a single operations. CISC is a standard in todays processors.
RISC reduced instruction set computing, uses less complicated instructions with simpler design. RISC microprocessors are cheaper, they produce less heat, and they are generally smaller in size compared to CISC. With less heat and smaller size RISC processors have great advantage in reaching higher frequencies with less danger of overheating. The major disadvantage and also reason why RISC microprocessors are not widely used, is less compatibility with available software. The earlier programs were written for CISC chips.
In order to reach maximal speed, and compatibility the major manufacturers of microprocessors such as Intel, use some advantages of RISC technology, to improve the performance of their CISC compatible microprocessors (White 55). Computer microprocessor is the most important part of the PC, but it can not work by it self. One of the few primary components is BUS, also called a highway of the computer. BUS transports data among the processor, random access memory, and hard disk. Speed of the BUS depends on the type of motherboard where it is installed (White 119). Random access memory- RAM is also attached to the motherboard- base of all the components, but unlike BUS, RAM can be easily removed and changed. Random access memory works as a staging area for the central processing unit (White 43). Capacity of random access memory is very important for the performance of a computer.
In case there is not enough RAM the software can create space on the hard drive to be used as temporary operating memory (White 31). Random means that any part of the memory can be accessed at any time, it is not necessary to read all of the memory to find one location. RAM is usually fast, temporary memory where data is saved until removed or power is turned off on the computer (White 43). “A hard drive is the workaholic of a PC system.”(White 87)) It is based on using magnetic plates; spinning at extreme speeds up to 7,200 rotations a minute, which are 120 spins every second. Even with extreme speed and microscopic accuracy modern hard drives are unlikely to fail.
The hard disk is a combination of electronic and mechanical portions, which makes it the one of the slowest parts of the computer (White 87). A graphic card is usually plugged into one of the expansion slots, which are metallic contacts on the motherboard (White 119). One of the most common expansion slots is PCI peripheral components interconnect. PCI are most commenly white slots used to attach a graphic or sound card, also modem or network card (White 120). Latest expansion slot used for graphic cards only is AGP accelerated graphic port, which is faster than PCI (White 121).
Both PCI and AGP based adapters use SVGA super video graphics array as a modern standard, which added new capabilities, such as higher resolution and color depth to the previous VGA interface. Super VGA allows as many as 16 million colors also called 32-bit color, or true color(Stephen 1253). There are three major factors defining the speed of a graphic adapter, overall performance depends on the chipset speed, performance and capacity of graphic random access memory and the expansion slot architecture (Stephen 1258). One of the other factors defining speed of a video adapter is the software driver. “Even the finest accelerator board hardware can bog-down when run with careless, loosely written code”(Stephen 1259). Graphic cards have their own BIOS software which is firmware, or permanently recorded in a memory device such as ROM read only memory, and usually can not be modified.
Graphic card is actually a device what enables visualizing of data on the monitors screen. Graphic adapter sends signals to the monitor. The monitor uses glowing dots of red, green, and blue rays, which then blend into millions of colors. The display dots are called pixels picture element, also the smallest area of the monitors screen. Pixels are on/off to create and image, the graphic adapter sends the information about position and color of pixels in form of a bitmap.
Bitmaps are also the most common form of computer graphics (White 143). The CD-ROM compact disk read only memory became standard equipment in personal computer systems in late 1980s. Data is retrieved from a compact disk by using a laser beam without any physical contact between the disk and the drive. No physical contact makes compact disks long lasting data storage media (White 205). Since early 1990s the CD-R – compact disk recorder became more reliable for home users. CD-R allows one to record CDs on a home personal computer.
The newer technology is CD-RW compact disk rewriteable, which enables rewriting CDs after it is recorded (White 139). The latest way to store very large amount of data are DVD-digital versatile disk, which allows to store up to thirteen times more data than a CD. DVDs are usually used for movies because of their large capacity, and digital quality sound and picture(White 20 …