Childrens Charitable Foundation
PO Box 4481, Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana tel: 00233268330902 email:
What can you do with a computers ?
Some of the things you can do with computers include:
Social functions - maintaining contact through Facebook and Email
Office and administration - using a word processor and databases
Education -various programs can teach skills such as Mavis Beacon Typing Course, and for children gComprise
Entertainment - playing of music and games
Business marketing - through web site
The photograph left shows a standard size (ATX) tower , and houses the motherboard and other components such as a floppy disc drive and CD/DVD. The screen, mouse, keyboard and tower is a normal computer set up and necessary for normal functioning.
The printer and other devices such as a digital camera which can be attached the computer but are not required by the computer for normal functioning are known as "Peripherals". Other computer shapes exist such as a "flat" type like a fat book on its side. In these cases the CRT was stacked on top of the computer box and this set up was known as a "desk top" because the whole thing could be placed on a desk. Normally with a tower it was and still is usually placed on the floor or on the base of a computer stand. To distinguish from notebooks and laptops computers described above are both usually referred to as "desk tops".
Looking in more detail inside a tower the main component is the motherboard, which is basically a circuit board with computers chips, and is the heart of the computer system.
Motherboards come in standard size called ATX standard, and ATX micro this is so they can fit into standard size towers without a problem. The motherboard is attached by special screws, holes in the motherboard align with holes in the casing of the tower.
The other main pieces of "hardware" are the power supply unit(PSU) and hard drive ; they are called hardware because they are physical and can be touched. The operating system which we will look at later is known as software.
The PSU which has inside it a fan is usually around 500 watts and its function is to convert 230V to 12 DC. The hard drive is for storing data. Data (which is another word for digital information) which is being used by a program say a photographic editing programs is held in RAM. RAM (random access memory) are thin strips of circuit board with magnets on them. The data is encoded in 1 and 0 's the language of computers and stored on the strips.
Strip of RAM
They are shaped so they can fit in slots on the motherboard; the DDR1 and DDR2 marked is where the RAM strips would fit ,with the copper metal on the RAM going into the slot. Different RAM has different shapes and pins common types being 184, 232 and 316 pins. RAM is only used to store data which is currently beginning used for a program ; once the computer is switched off data is lost in the RAM. Permanent data storage is held on the hard drive.
Also can be seen on the board are PCI ( peripheral component interconnect) slots; these are often empty when you buy a computer, they are there if you want to add additional circuit boards such as a TV tuner. PCI slots are now being superseded by PCI express.
The commonly brown in colour AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) is where graphic cards where slotted. Motherboards have basic graphic functionality built in. Sometimes the graphics don't display well with demanding graphic programs such as games. In these cases people who know they are going to run video games put a graphic card in the AGP slot. The graphic card has the circuitry on it to handle advanced graphics.