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The Components of the System Unit by Mind Map: The Components of the System Unit
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The Components of the System Unit

Objectives Overview

Differentiate among various styles of system units on desktop computers, notebook computers, and mobile devices

Identify chips, adapter cards, and other components of a motherboard

Describe the control unit and arithmetic logic unit components of a processor, and explain the four steps in a machine cycle

Identify characteristics of various personal computer processors on the market today, and describe the ways processors are cooled

Define a bit and describe how a series of bits represents data

Explain how program instructions transfer in and out of memory

Differentiate among the various types of memory

Describe the purpose and types of expansion slots and adapter cards, and differentiate among slots for various removable flash memory devices

Differentiate between a port and a connector, and explain the differences among a USB port, FireWire port, Bluetooth port, SCSI port, eSATAport, IrDA port, serial port, and MIDI port

Describe the types of buses in a computer

Explain the purpose of a power supply and describe how it keeps cool

Understand how to clean a system unit on a computer or mobile device

The System Unit

The system unitis a case that contains electronic components of the computer used to process data

The inside of the system unit on a desktop personal computer includes:

The motherboardis the main circuit board of the system unit


The processor, also called the central processing unit (CPU), interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate a computer

The control unitis the component of the processor that directs and coordinates most of the operations in the computer

The arithmetic logic unit(ALU) performs arithmetic, comparison, and other operations

For every instruction, a processor repeats a set of four basic operations, which comprise a machine cycle

Most current personal computers support pipelining

The pace of the system clock is called the clock speed, and is measured in gigahertz(GHz)

The leading manufacturers of personal computer processor chips are Intel and AMD

Determine how you plan to use a new computer before selecting a processor

A processor chip generates heat that could cause the chip to burn up

Require additional cooling

Parallel processing uses multiple processors simultaneously to execute a single program or task

Data Representation

Analogsignals are continuous and vary in strength and quality

Digital signals are in one of two states: on or off


Memoryconsists of electronic components that store instructions waiting to be executed by the processor, data needed by those instructions, and the results of processing the data

Memory size is measured in kilobytes(KBor K), megabytes(MB), gigabytes(GB), orterabytes(TB)

The system unit contains two types of memory:

Flash memorycan be erased electronically and rewritten

Access timeis the amount of time it takes the processor to read from memory

Expansion Slots and Adapter Cards

An expansion slotis a socket on the motherboard that can hold an adapter card

An adapter cardenhances functions of a component of the system unit and/or provides connections to peripherals

With Plug and Play, the computer automatically can configure adapter cards and other peripherals as you install them

Removable flash memory includes:

Ports and Connectors

A portis the point at which a peripheral attaches to or communicates with a system unit (sometimes referred to as a jack)

A connectorjoins a cable to a port

On a notebook computer, the ports are on the back, front, and/or sides

A USB portcan connect up to 127 different peripherals together with a single connector

A port replicator is an external device that provides connections to peripherals through ports built into the device

A docking station is an external device that attaches to a mobile computer or device


A busallows the various devices both inside and attached to the system unit to communicate with each other

Word sizeis the number of bits the processor can interpret and execute at a given time

Expansion slots connect to expansion buses


A bayis an opening inside the system unit in which you can install additional equipment

Power Supply

The power supplyconverts the wall outlet AC power into DC power

Some external peripherals have an AC adapter, which is an external power supply

Putting It All Together

HomeIntel Core 2 Duo or Intel Celeron Dual Core or AMD SempronMinimum RAM: 2 GB

MobileIntel Core 2 Extreme or AMD TurionX2Minimum RAM: 2 GB

EnterpriseIntel Core 2 Quad or Intel Core 2 Extreme or AMD AthlonFX or AMD AthlonX2 Dual‐CoreMinimum RAM: 4 GB

Keeping Your Computer or Mobile Device Clean

Clean your computer or mobile device once or twice a year

Turn off and unplug your computer or mobile device before cleaning it

Use compressed air to blow away dust

Use an antistatic wipe to clean the exterior of the case and a cleaning solution and soft cloth to clean the screen