The architecture of a workstation| Types of computers

The architecture of a workstation

The architecture of a workstation

Introduction :

A computer is a set of electronic circuits making it possible to manipulate data in binary form, which is to say in the form of bits. The word “computer” comes from the company IBM France. François Girard, then responsible for the general advertising promotion department of the company IBM France, had the idea of ​​consulting his former professor of letters in Paris, to ask him to suggest a word characterizing as best as possible what was commonly called a “calculator” (literal translation of the English word “computer”).

Thus, Jaques Perret, aggregator of letters, then professor of Latin philology at the Sorbonne, proposed on April 16, 1955, the word “Computer” while specifying that the word “Computer” was an adjective coming from the Littré meaning “Gods putting the order in the world “. Thus, he explained that the concept of “ordering” was entirely appropriate.

Types of computers:

Any machine capable of handling binary information can be qualified as a computer, however, the term “computer” is sometimes confused with the concept of the personal computer (PC, an abbreviation of a personal computer),

the most common type of computer on the market. However, there are many other types of computers (the following list is not exhaustive):

  • Amiga
  • Atari
  • Apple Macintosh
  • Alpha Stations
  • SUN stations
  • Silicon Graphics Stations

The rest of this file, as generic as it is, thus applies more particularly to PC-type computers, also called IBM compatible computers, because IBM is the company that created the first computers of this type and has long (until in 1987) was the leader in this field, so much so that it controlled the standards, copied by other manufacturers.

Computer constitution:

A computer is a set of modular electronic components, that is to say, components that can be replaced by other components possibly having different characteristics, and capable of operating computer programs. We thus speak of “hardware” to designate all of the hardware elements of the computer and of “software” to designate the software part.

The hardware components of the computer are structured around the main board comprising a few integrated circuits and many electronic components such as capacitors, resistors, etc. All these components are soldered to the card and are connected by the printed circuit connections and by a large number of connectors: this card is called the motherboard.

The motherboard is housed in a case (or chassis), with slots for storage devices on the front, as well as buttons to control the power of the computer and several lights to check the working condition of the device and the activity of the hard disks. On the rear side, the box has openings facing the expansion cards and the input-output interfaces connected to the motherboard.

Finally, the box houses a power supply unit (commonly called a power supply), responsible for supplying a stable and continuous electric current to all of the computer’s components. The power supply is therefore used to convert the alternating current from the electrical network (220 or 110 Volts) into a DC voltage of 5 Volts for computer components and 12 Volts for certain internal peripherals (disks, CD-ROM drives, …). The power supply is characterized by its power, which conditions the number of peripherals that the computer is capable of supplying. 

We call the “central unit”, the assembly consisting of the housing and the elements it contains. Elements external to the central unit are called peripherals.

The central unit must be connected to a set of external devices. A computer is generally composed of at least a central unit, a screen (monitor) a keyboard, and a mouse, but it is possible to connect a wide variety of peripherals on the input-output interfaces. (serial ports, parallel ports, USB ports, firewire ports, etc.):

  • Printer,
  • To scan,
  • External Sound Card,
  • External hard drive,
  • External Storage Device,
  • Camera or digital camera,
  • Personal Assistant (PDA), etc.
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