Hardware and software ICT revision notes

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This unit helps you to:

* understand ICT specifications for hardware and software

* select an ICT system and configure it to meet the needs of users

* write a program to improve efficient use of application software (macros)

* write a program to display hypertext information (html)

* understand and develop good practice in your use of ICT

The topics are:

* hardware

* software

* computer programming

* html programs

* macro programs

* standard ways of working


ICT systems are made up of hardware and software. You must learn to identify and know the purpose of the components (pieces) of hardware that make up an ICT system, including:

* input devices

* output devices

* main processing unit

* cables and connectors.

Some hardware components are inside the main processing unit.

You will need to understand the purpose of these and how they affect the ICT system

specification, including:

* disk drives (floppy, hard)

* CD ROM drive

* memory (RAM and ROM)

* ports (input and output connectors)

* motherboard

* central processing unit (CPU)

* data and software on computers can be stored in different ways. You will need to know the different types of storage used, including:

* RAM (random-access memory)

* ROM (read-only memory)

* magnetic disk (hard, floppy)

* optical storage (for example CD ROM, DVD)

You will need to be able to compare the different types of storage for:

* volatility (loss when power removed)

* storage capacity

* speed of access and retrieval

* read capability

* write capability

* cost.

You will need to know the terms used to describe the size of data or storage capacity,

including the following (but not the precise numbers):

* bit (binary digit - smallest data item)

* byte (8 bits)

* Kbyte (Kilo or 1024 bytes - 210)

* Mbyte (Mega or 1,048,576 or 220)

* Gbyte (Giga or 1,073,741,824 or 230)

* Terabyte (~1,099,000,000,000 or 240).

There are many types of input device. You need to understand their purpose and be able to select input devices to meet the needs of users, including:

* mouse

* roller ball

* keyboard

* concept pad (keyboard with symbols)

* scanner

* digital camera

* microphone

* joystick

There are different forms of output from ICT systems. You will need to understand and be able to select output devices to meet the needs of users, including:

* visual display unit

* loudspeaker

* printer

Different types of printer and visual display units are available. You must be able to identify equipment to meet user needs.

To do so you will need to understand the technical terms used in specifications, including: technical terms related to printers

* ink jet

* resolution (dpi)

* laser

* impact (for multiple forms)

Technical terms used to describe visual display units

* size (across corners)

* colour or monochrome

* resolution (pixels)

* refresh rate (interlace or not)

Additional devices are required for networks and to provide access to the Internet. These devices are needed to support communications. Examples are the 'network card' and the 'modem'. These are usually fitted inside the 'main processing unit'. You will need to understand what users want to achieve. This will help you to learn to specify suitable hardware to meet their needs.

Use the notes you made in Assignment 5 to revise the topics above


Computer systems need software to make them work. You will need to learn the purpose of different types of software, including:
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* the ROM (start up and BIOS)

* operating systems

* programming languages

* applications software


The read-only memory (ROM) chip on the motherboard contains the instructions that enable the computer to start up or boot. These instructions are permanently stored in the computer's memory. When the computer id first turned on or re-started, it reads the start-up instructions in the ROM BIOS chip. BIOS stands for basic input output system and is a set of instructions that tells the computer how to handle the flow of data between ...

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