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CPU
A central processing unit, or a CPU, interprets and executed most of the commands from a computer’s hardware or software. Clock speed is the number of instructions it can carry out in any given second, and it is measured in GHz. The processor takes inputs from hardware and software, carries out instructions, and outputs them. A processor core is the actual processing unit which carries this out. Computers can have multiple cores if they are used for multiple purposes.
RAM
Random Access Memory is a hardware device that allows data to be stored on a computer, where it can also be retrieved. It is more efficient and can be accessed quicker than on a hard drive or a CD. However, it also required power for it to store data, meaning that if the computer is switched off, all data is lost. The two types of RAM are Static Random Access Memory(SRAM), and Dynamic Random Access Memory(DRAM). DRAM constantly refreshes multiple times in a second, and is therefore slower than SRAM, which can operate at significantly higher speeds. However, SRAM is more expensive to manufacture because of its complicated structure, so most of the RAM on a motherboard is DRAM as a result. RAM is measured in gigabytes, and the speed is usually measured in megahertz.
Graphics card
Graphics card allows the monitor to process and display 3D graphics. They are plugged into the motherboard, through expansion slots. Some computers can have multiple graphics cards installed. Graphic cards that are built into computers are called integrated graphics cards. Multiple cards are often used in computers used specifically for gaming, because they require 3D effects to be constantly displayed. Features of a graphics card include:
• GPU clock rate
The higher the operating frequency is the more pixels can be processed per second.
• Fill rate
This shows how fast the processor can draw pixels. There are two types, pixel fill and Texel rates.
• Texture mapping units.
The number of the texture mapping units determines the texturing performance.
Digital camera
A digital camera takes pictures but also stores them, so that they can be viewed later. It can also do the same with videos. Pictures and videos can also be transferred onto a PC via a USB cord or Memory Card.
Printer
Printers take a digital copy of a document or image and reproduce it on paper. There are multiple types of printers, and the most popular are laser and ink-jet printers. Laser printers are more efficient, because one cartridge of toner-a type of ink- is able to print thousands of pages. However, ink-jet printers are able to produce better colours than laser printers, and they are less expensive.
Plotter
A specialist printer that produces large and detailed images, and is used mostly by architects and engineers. It is able to print out highly detailed drawings of A3 size, and larger. They are often used for Computer Aided Design and Manufacture, which many architects and engineers now use.
Monitor
A monitor is an electronic visual display that displays images on the screen in thousands of pixels. There are multiple types of monitors, such as newer LCDs, TFTs, and older versions, mainly Cathode Ray Tube monitors –CRT.
Hard drive
A magnetic disk which is fixed in the tower, on which data is written. All computers contain at least one hard drive, and they often
Graphics tablet
An input device that allows the user to create an image using a stylus that shows up on the computer monitor. They use pressure to change size, opacity, and other attributes of the brush. Many tablets also have handwriting recognition, which allows the user to write as if with a pen and paper, which is then translated into text on-screen.
Bitmap graphics software
Bitmap images are made up of multiple pixels per square inch. Therefore, when bitmap images are resized, they lose quality. The file size of a bitmap image is also quite large, due to every single pixel being stored on the computer. Each pixel can be edited using software such as Photoshop.
Vector graphics software
Vector images are made up of points that are connected, instead of pixels. Therefore, when a vector graphic is resized, the quality remains the same. This type of graphic is preferred for large signs, as it can be scaled without affecting quality.
Photo manipulating software
Software such as Photoshop which is used to change an image’s properties, and can be used to add filters, edit placement of objects, and completely remove aspects of an image. Photoshop is famously used in the fashion industry, and is often criticised by the media and members of the public due to the emphasizing of flawless skin, height, and other factors of models.