Characteristics of a computer

There is no corner in the world where  a computer is not taking care of any task or is used as the main support for the activities that are carried out there daily, this is due to the tremendous capacity they offer to assist us in any of the areas in which we operate, which has made them over the years have become absolutely essential, and it is practically  impossible to try any activity without the help of a computer, in any form.

Today  computers are used in hundreds of thousands of different tasks and jobs,  including obtaining information from the Internet, communicating with family members, control of manufacturing processes, graphic design, architecture and thousands of other activities, such is the penetration that The computer has had in our culture, which could even be considered that in a certain way we are slaves to its capabilities.

Despite these thoughts,  without computers it would be impossible to do all those amazing things that we are used to today.  Without these devices, everything would be heavier and slower. As we see computers occupy a very important place in our lives today, but  do we really know what computers are or how they work?  In this post we will get the answers to these questions.

What is a computer?

Basically, a computer, computer or computer, as it is known in different parts of the world,  is an electronic device that was designed with the purpose of processing the information that the user enters through different methods  and returning it converted into useful data that the operator needs to. For this it uses the so-called programs,  that is, the software or applications.

Physically,  a computer is a device made up of different electronic circuits,  all of them housed in a box or cabinet, as we will see later in the article. For data input to the computer, so-called input peripherals are used ,  which include the keyboard, mouse, and microphone, among others.

Now, to visualize the data or results that the computer returns, the so-called output peripherals are used  which include the monitor and the printer. Speakers also fall into this group.

All this impressive data flow is controlled, in addition to the processor, by the operating system,  which is responsible for translating into machine language,  which is what the CPU understands, the instructions that we request from the computer through the user applications such as Word, Photoshop or Spotify.

What types of computers are there?

Today  there are many types of computers,  adapted to the most diverse modes of use and tasks. The most common type of computer today is the desktop computer,  however the Desktop PC is being replaced by so-called notebooks, a type of computer whose main advantage is that it can be used in any situation and place where we are. , fundamentally because its components are integrated and does not require being plugged into the electrical network, since its energy is provided by internal batteries.

Main characteristics of a computer

In the case of having a computer, it  is of utmost importance that we know its operation and basic characteristics,  since this will allow us to obtain the best possible benefit from it. The same is true if we plan to purchase a computer.

At this point, knowing a little more about computers will prevent us from being misled,  and trying to sell us a computer that doesn’t measure up to our present or future needs.

It is for all this that from this point, we will  detail the most important components of the computer,  and what is the function that each of them performs.

The main component of the computer is the CPU or processor,  which is in charge of processing and executing all the instructions sent by the different components, all simultaneously and incredibly fast.

Also of great importance is RAM memory,  since in it the applications or programs store the data with which we are working. In this sense, another component to store information is the hard disk, which ,  unlike RAM, is not volatile, that is, when we turn off the computer,  the data we write to it will continue to be.

Another very important component of the computer is the video card, since it is connected to the monitor to show the operations that we are performing,  that is, how we are interacting with the operating system and applications.

Likewise, the audio card plays a very important role in the operation of the computer,  since it is in charge of processing all aspects of the audio,  that is, what we enter through the microphone or what we hear through the speakers or headphones.

On the other hand,  the network card, which can be of the type with cable or Wi-FI with an antenna, is currently one of the most important components of the computer,  since it allows us to connect to the Internet or share physical resources such as printers. or hard drives, in addition to information, with other networked computers.

However, all these components are useless  if they are not mounted on the motherboard or computer motherboard , the main circuit responsible for interconnecting the different boards and making them work as a whole.

Motherboards include both the slots where you can connect the audio, video, RAM , processor and other boards, as well as the connectors to connect the hard drives, CD players, USB ports and all the other elements that make up a complete computer.

It should be noted that  notebooks also have a motherboard,  but all the components and boards are already integrated into it, so despite having the advantage of being portable, it  has the disadvantage that it cannot be updated, unlike computers desktop,  which we can always expand and modernize according to our tastes and needs.

The main computer threats

As all of us who use a computer on a daily basis know, the risks and dangers that threaten the safety of a PC are many, including power surges, falls and other accidents.

However, computer viruses are the greatest threat that can exist. These viruses emerged approximately 25 years ago, and although technological advancement allows us to be more protected, they remain a threat capable of wreaking havoc on computers and technological equipment.

There are several types of threats currently, these are:

Viruses: A virus is a program that infects other programs or systems in order to multiply and expand.

Worm: Worm type viruses (worm) is a program that reaches the computer through the web and has the ability to multiply.

Rootkit: It is a malicious program that is installed at the root of the operating system. The Rootkit hides files, processes and information, making it difficult for the operating system to detect. It is generally used to allow remote control of a machine by an unauthorized user.

Spyware: A Spyware is a program that is installed without the user knowing, and its objective is to send information from the infected machine to other machines. There are spywares that only monitor user activity online, even those that steal passwords and personal information.

Trojan Horse or Trojan: A Trojan can be a virus or other mole of malware that depends on a user action to be able to install itself on the computer. They usually arrive by email disguised as something interesting or curious, such as photos, videos, and PowerPoint presentations.

Phishing: Phishing is a fraud in which you try to trick the user into revealing personal information and passwords. Websites or e-mails sent appearing to be from renowned companies or institutions are used to “fish” their victims.

Spam: Spam is an email generally disguised as advertisements for products and web pages containing viruses.

Dialer: Dialer is a program that is installed on the computer without the user’s knowledge and uses the modem to make calls to numbers 0-600 and the like, and obviously the account arrives in the name of the user who was infected.

If you want to know more about the danger of viruses, you can inform yourself by clicking on this link.

Evolution of Computers

As the years passed, computers have taken different forms to adapt to the needs and requirements of the users who used them. That is why in the market we can find a wide variety of computers of all sizes and shapes.

Basically, the main types of computers are:

  • Supercomputers
  • Mainframes
  • The minicomputers
  • Work stations
  • Personal computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones and tablets

If you want to know more about the different types of computers, you can do so by clicking on this link.

With respect to the evolution of personal computers, the story begins with the IBM PC, or Personal Computer, which emerged in 1981 and became the standard for microcomputers, which went on to have a very rapid evolution, and difficult to accompany, since we acquired a model that we consider the latest, and we do not realize that a newer, more modern and powerful one has already come onto the market.

Let’s see if we can follow a little of this accelerated evolution:

PC – Personal Computer

  • It allowed the inclusion of 5 expansion plates.
  • 256 kb of RAM.
  • 40 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 ″ floppy drives with 360kb write capacity.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor (green, amber or white phosphor).

PC XT – Personal Computer Extended Technology

  • It allowed the inclusion of 8 expansion plates.
  • 512 kb of RAM.
  • 40 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 ″ floppy drives with 360kb write capacity.
  • One or two 10 to 40 Mb hard drives.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor (green, amber or white phosphor) or color.
  • 8-bit isa expansion boards.

PC AT – Personal Computer Advanced Technology

  • It allowed the inclusion of 8 expansion plates.
  • 1 Mb of RAM.
  • 64 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 ″ floppy drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb write capacity.
  • One or two hard drives from 20 to 160 Mb.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor or EGA color monitor.
  • 8 and 16 bit isa type expansion boards.

AT 286

  • With clock speeds of 7 to 16 MHz.
  • 1 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor or color EGA monitor or VGA monitor.
  • One or two hard drives from 20 to 160 Mb.
  • 8 and 16 bit isa expansion boards.

386 SX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 16-20 MHz.
  • 2 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CGA or EGA or VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 40 to 200 Mb hard drives.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards.

386 DX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 33 to 40 MHz.
  • 2 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CGA or EGA or VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 40 to 200 Mb hard drives.
  • 1,200 or 2,400 kbps fax-modem board.
  • With or without mathematical co-processor.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards.

486 SLC, DLC, SX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 25 to 40 MHz.
  • 2 to 4 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 1.2Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drive with 720kb or 1.44Mb recording capacity.
  • VGA or Super VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 120 to 400 Mb hard drives.
  • With or without mathematical co-processor.
  • 2,400 or 4,800 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards.

486 DX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 40 to 50 MHz.
  • 4 to 16 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 1.2Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drive with 720kb or 1.44Mb recording capacity.
  • 2x CD ROM Drive (speeds).
  • Super VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 120 to 540 Mb hard drives.
  • 4,800 or 9,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards.

486 DX2

  • Generally with 66 MHz clock speeds.
  • 8 to 64 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drives with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 4x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 420 to 1.2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 28,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards and 32-bit local bus VESA.

486 DX4

  • Generally with clock speeds of 80 to 100 MHz.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM.
  • One or more 5 1/4 ″ drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and / or 3 1/2 ″ drives with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 8x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 33,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards, 32-bit local bus VESA or PCI.

586 (With Cyrix or AMD processor) or Pentium (Intel)

  • Generally with clock speeds of 75 to 200 MHz.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 33,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

686 (with Cyrix processor)

It should be noted that this processor model did not have much acceptance in the market.

  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 33,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium Pro

It should be noted that this processor model was widely used in the field of graphic arts, due to its power and reliability.

  • Generally with clock speeds of 166 to 200 MHz.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 3.2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 33,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium MMX

  • With MMX technology that accelerates 3D graphics.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 166 to 233 MHz.
  • 16 to 128 Mb of RAM.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x to 48x CD ROM Drive.
  • 14 ″ or 15 ″ super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 2 to 8 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 33,600 a 56,600 kbps.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium II

  • With MMX technology that accelerates 3D graphics.
  • Slot 1 processor.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 200 to 500 MHz.
  • 16 to 256 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x to 48x CD ROM Drive.
  • 14 ″ or 15 ″ super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 4 to 10 Gb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium II Celeron (Intel) or K6 II (AMD)

  • Socket processor 7.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 300 to 550 MHz.
  • 16 to 256 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 48x to 52x CD ROM Drive.
  • 14 ″ or 15 ″ super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 8-15 kb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium III (Intel) or K7 (AMD Duron)

  • Slot 1 processor.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 500 to 1 GHz.
  • 32 to 512 Mb of RAM.
  • A 3 1/2 ″ drive with a 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • DVD drive, or CD ROM or CD RW.
  • 14 ″ or 15 ″ or 17 ″ super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 10 to 36 Gb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • PCI and 16-bit isa expansion boards.

Pentium III Xeon

  • Processor for workstations and servers.
  • High process speeds.
  • Improvements in the system bus to the processor, which significantly improves performance.

The new computers

With the appearance of smaller and more modern technologies on the market, which will allow computers to perform tasks faster and more comfortably, such as USB ports for the interconnection of peripherals, SATA ports for hard drives, HDMI capable video cards , the incorporation of flat LCD or LED monitors, which allowed the user to view content with incredible quality, and other accessories and technologies such as multi-core processors, computing changed forever.

With all these new elements, an improvement in the performance of multimedia capabilities and global data processing was achieved , and computers began to dispense with certain devices such as floppy disks and some types of ports that were no longer used, being replaced by these technologies. more modern, that even come integrated into the motherboard, a scheme that is repeated until today.

In this sense, the greatest major advances have been made in processors, hard drives and RAM. But that is another story, which we can learn about in this article. For now, we invite you to continue reading the computer timeline.

Pentium 4

  • Seventh generation processor based on the x86 architecture.
  • Premiere of the NetBurst architecture, which obtained a greater number of cycles per second to improve SSE instructions.

AMD Athlon XP

  • Processor with high overclocking capacity.
  • Compatible with SSE and 3DNow! Instructions.
  • Hardware data prefetch.

Pentium 4 (Prescott)

  • Processor with a 65nm manufacturing process.
  • 1 MiB or 2 MiB of L2 cache and 16 Kb of L1 cache.
  • Execution Prevention, SpeedStep, C1E State and Improved HyperThreading.
  • SSE3 instructions, AMD64 instruction handling, 64 bit.

The AMD Athlon 64

  • 8th generation x86 processor.
  • It implements the AMD64 instruction set, introduced by the Opteron.
  • Memory controller in the microprocessor’s own integrated circuit.
  • Processor speed reduction technology called Cool’n’Quiet.

Intel Core Duo

  • Dual-core and quad-core processors with the x86-64 instruction set.
  • Manufactured from 65 to 45 nanometers.
  • Improvements in speed and energy cycles.
  • More efficient execution, cache and buses.

AMD Phenom

  • First generation of three and four core processors based on the K10 architecture.
  • Manufactured with 65nm technology.
  • Much smarter use of energy and system resources.
  • Compatible with virtualization.
  • Integrated DDR2 memory controller.
  • HyperTransport technology and 128-bit floating point units.
  • Shared L3 cache.
  • Compatibility with AM2, AM2 + and AM3 sockets.

Intel Core i7 Nehalem

  • Quad-core processor of the Intel x86-64 architecture.
  • Implementation of PCI Express ports directly.
  • Three-channel memory, or allowing each channel to support one or two DDR3 DIMMs.
  • Reimplementation of Hyperthreading technology but this time creating logical cores.
  • Manufactured with 45nm and 32nm technologies.

AMD Phenom II and Athlon II

  • Processor successor to the original Phenom.
  • Manufactured in double, quadruple and six-core versions.
  • Support for DDR3 type memories.
  • Increased the amount of L3 cache from 2 MiB of the original Phenom processor to 6 MiB in version II.
  • High process speeds.

Intel Core Sandy Bridge family

  • Processor designs to replace Nehalem chips.
  • It is the second generation of the Intel Core with new 256-bit instructions.
  • Much more efficient and faster than previous processors.
  • An instruction set called AVX and an integrated GPU of up to 12 execution units are released.

AMD Fusion

  • Processors with integrated GPU. In other words, the video card is in the same processor.
  • The Northbridge chip is also integrated into the CPU.
  • Low electrical consumption.
  • Suitable for desktop and laptop computers.

Intel Core Ivy Bridge family

  • Third generation of Intel Core processors.
  • Built with 22nm technology, which translates to a higher density of components, allowing you to perform a greater number of tasks in a smaller space.

Intel Core Haswell

  • Fourth generation of Intel Core.
  • They implement features that improve performance for games and multimedia.
  • 22nm technology.
  • Much better power consumption / performance ratio.

These processors are the ones that currently offer the best performance, and if they are expensive, the truth is that they can give us performance like never before seen in laptops . In this sense, the Intel Core i7-7920HQ, is a clear example of this. Some of its characteristics are:

  • Built with 14nm technology.
  • Able to reach up to 4.10 GHz frequency.
  • 8 Mb cache.
  • 4 cores.
  • Built-in graphics.

AMD Ryzen

  • Built with 14nm technology.
  • Wide support for automatic overclocking.
  • It includes a technology called “Pure Power”, which is capable of optimizing the performance / consumption ratio using sensors.
  • Another technology included in the Tyzen is “Precision Boost”, which allows to increase the voltage and the speed of the clock to optimize the use of energy, very useful for mobile devices.
  • It also has “Neural Net Prediction” and “Smart Prefetch”, two systems that allow the processor to optimize workflow using artificial intelligence, thus avoiding repetitive access to, for example, RAM memory.

 

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