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Key Terms - 3 Computer Hardware KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS 1...

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3 Computer Hardware KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS 1. Binary representation (104): The presence or absence of electronic or magnetic “signals” in the computer’s circuitry or in the media it uses. There are only two possible states or conditions - presence or absence. 2. Central processing unit (89): The component of a computer system that includes the circuits controlling the interpretation and execution of instructions. The CPU includes the arithmetic-logic unit and the control unit. 3. Computer system (89): A computer system consists of input and output devices, primary and secondary storage devices, the central processing unit, and other peripheral devices. 4. Computer terminal (81): Any device which enables both input and output between a user and a computer via telecommunications link. 5. Cycles per second (90): Denoted as Hz, cycles per second is a measure of the number of times a CPU completes an instruction cycle in a period of one second: the higher the number, the faster the CPU. Cycles in the millions per second range are called megahertz (MHz), in the billions per second range are called gigahertz (GHz), and in the trillions per second range are called terahertz (THz). Instructor's note: cycles per second should not be confused with a processor's clock speed which does not serve as an indicator of the number of actual instructions executed in one clock cycle. 6. Direct access (105): A method of storage where each storage position has a unique address and can be individually accessed in approximately the same period of time without having to first search through preceding storage positions. Instructor's note: these storage positions are not necessarily individual bits of memory. On disk-based media, an individual memory location is called a "cluster". Clusters may vary in size between disk partitions but will remain uniform in size within a partition. Cluster size can only be set during partition formatting. 7. Graphical user interface (93): A design approach that enables users to interact with a computer by manipulating images or "icons" that represent objects or actions. 8. Information appliance (82): Hand-held microcomputer devices. Most of these devices now include wireless connectivity to the Internet and innovative I/O methods such as touch screens, pen-based handwriting recognition, and detachable keypads.
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9. Magnetic disks (108): Data storage technology that uses magnetised spots on metal or plastic disks. a. Floppy disk (108): Small, flexible, plastic disk enclosed in a protective envelope and hard plastic shell. It holds data in the form of magnetised spots. These were once widely used to provide a removable direct access storage capability for microcomputer systems.
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