Slots are an opening in a computer where a circuit board can be inserted to add new capabilities. All personal computers contain expansion slots for adding more memory, graphics capabilities, and support for special devices. Expansion slots come in different flavours, which will be described below. An alternative explanation for expansion slots can be found here.
CDs are the most common type of removable media. They are inexpensive but also have short life-span. There are a few different kinds of CDs. CD-ROM which stands for Compact Disc read-only memory are popularly used to distribute computer software although any type of data can be stored on them. CD-R is another variation which can only be written to once but can be read many times. CD-RW (rewritable) can be written to more than once as well as read more than once. Some other types of CDs which are not as popular include Super Audio CD (SACD), Video Compact Discs (VCD), Super Video Compact Discs (SVCD), PhotoCD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced CD.
There are four steps that nearly all CPUs use in their operation: fetch, decode, execute, and writeback. The first step, fetch, involves retrieving an instruction from program memory. In the decode step, the instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other portions of the CPU. During the execute step various portions of the CPU, such as the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and the floating point unit (FPU) are connected so they can perform the desired operation. The final step, writeback, simply writes back the results of the execute step to some form of memory.
Data is stored by a computer using a variety of media. Hard disk drives are found in virtually all older computers, due to their high capacity and low cost, but solid-state drives are faster and more power efficient, although currently more expensive than hard drives in terms of dollar per gigabyte, so are often found in personal computers built post-2007. Some systems may use a disk array controller for greater performance or reliability.
Software is generally created (written) in a high-level programming language, one that is (more or less) readable by people. These high-level instructions are converted into "machine language" instructions, represented in binary code, before the hardware can "run the code". When you install software, it is generally already in this machine language, binary, form.
In vehicles, servers might be rackmounted and installed in suitcase-like transit cases, but increasingly they are conduction-cooled small-form-factor (SFF) sealed chassis that are more robust and purpose-built to handle Xeon-class workloads. These systems may require new cooling technologies, such as the use of a viscous metallic bath in which the processor’s contact slug sits, creating a very low thermal path from the hot processor package to the final air-cooled heat sink. The result is less than a 10-degree heat rise from the hot die to the heat sink (Figure 3). This efficient thermal path means that more than 90 percent of the heat from the processor makes it to the heat sink and into the air stream, which makes it useful for an air-cooled server on a battlefield without air conditioning. For conduction-cooled battlefield servers, this technology moves heat directly to the box’s mounting cold plate.
A floppy disk is a removable (i.e. portable) platter made of mylar plastic that is magnetized. Bits of information are stored in concentric rings called tracks on either side of the platter. The current floppy disk standard is a 3 1/2" platter in a hard plastic case that holds 1.44 Megabytes of information. A Zip disk, on the other hand, can hold up to 250 Megabytes.
2. Active average power use comparison based on published specs of the 1TB Crucial MX300 SSD and the 1TB Western Digital® Caviar Blue™ WD10EZEX internal hard drive, which, as of January 2016, is one of the industry’s top-selling internal hard drives. All other capacities of the Crucial MX300 SSD have comparable active average power consumption specs, with the exception of the 2050GB version of the drive, which consumes 0.15W.
Now that we’ve talked about the differences between these two items, let me bring the focus back on the main purpose of them. Both of these devices are used to store information, your photos, word documents, videos, etc. that you save to your computer, all the files that appear every time you turn on computer. Hard drives come in the storage sizes of “Gigabytes”, 1024Megabytes. An example of how large a file can be, a 1080p high quality movie that is around 2-3 hours long can be 3-6Gigabytes of data. Larger storage devices would be needed for someone who works with a lot of video, gaming, or possibly sound editing. Basic word documents, power points, and images are immensely smaller than video.
As a basic rule, unless a computer is going to be used to handle 3D graphics or to undertake a significant volume of video editing or recording, today there is little point in opting for anything other than onboard graphics (not least because separate graphics cards consume quite a lot of electricity and create quite a lot of heat and noise). Adding a new graphics card to a computer with onboard graphics is also a very easy upgrade if required in the future.
There’s an easy way to find compatible upgrades: Download the Crucial® System Scanner and let it do the work for you. It displays how much memory you currently have, the maximum memory capacity of your computer, and available upgrades for your specific system. Using the System Scanner doesn’t cost a thing and guarantees compatibility of your components when you order on Crucial.com.
Many desktop motherboards have sound cards built-in, allowing for audio playback without the need for a dedicated sound card. However, the quality of these built-in sound cards is generally not on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. For tasks that require high definition audio playback, dedicated sound cards are usually better than onboard solutions.