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PC Hardware Cont.............

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


If we just put information into the computer and took it out again later, computers could be much simpler. Most of the time though, we want to do something with it or change it in some way. Doing something with it is called processing, or data processing. Most of this takes place in a part called the processor, or Central Processing Unit. This is usually abbreviated to CPU.

The CPU is such an important part of the computer that we often refer to a system by the type of CPU it contains. My office computer is a Pentium III but at home I have an Athlon system. Sometimes you will hear the entire computer cabinet called a CPU.

To help the CPU there is another part that takes over a lot of the arithmetic. It is called the co-processor and also the Numerical Processing Unit or NPU.

The smallest piece of data that a computer can process is called a bit, and each bit will be either a one or a zero. For the sake of efficiency, the computer normally deals with a minimum of 8 bits at a time, and 8 bits together is called a byte. This is an important word to remember, because in working with computers you will hear about bytes frequently, and also megabytes which is one million bytes. Megabyte is usually abbreviated MB.


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