CIS 1 - Kurtz  Santa Monica College 




Sometimes referred to as the brain of the computer.




The ability of a storage device to preserve and store data.




A digit with either of two values, 1 or 0.




String of bits used to represent a letter, number, or punctuation mark. 8 bits.




1,000 bytes (KB, Kbyte)




1,000 KB (MB, Mbyte)




1,000MB (GB, Gbyte)




The text encoding system used primarily with micro and minicomputers.


Sequential storage 


things are recorded one after the other.


Random Access storage 


data is recorded randomly wherever there is space available.




The electronic connections between the CPU, storage, and other peripherals inside the computer


Floppy Disks


A major advantage of floppy disks is their low cost

Can be damaged by dust, heat, fingerprints




The board that contains the CPU, primary memory (RAM), and expansion slots.




Adding expansion cards to the computer 

Replace CPU or mother board with newer model 

Adding additional output devices 

Boost speed and amount of memory




Random Access Memory

Usually refers to the computer’s primary memory

Usually volatile (contents are randomized when computer is powered down)

Read & Write 

Essential to rapid access of information 

Different from the hard drive




Read Only Memory 

Can be read but not written by the user


Magnetic Tape


Used to back up and archive data


Disk access time 


Time to begin reading data


Slow Microprocessors:


Boot slowly 

Process commands slowly 

May not run newer software


CPU speed factors 


Clock speed, clock ticks per instruction, Bus width, and Word size 

ALWAYS ‑ only one instruction can be processed at a time per CPU core!


Relative Speed Rank 


Hard Disk, 

CDs and DVDs


Tape Drive


Disk Drive 


Disks (hard or floppy) are mounted on this


Tape Drive 


Magnetic tapes are mounted on this




Special purpose microprocessor that relieves the CPU to increase speed 

Math Coprocessor (Math or Floating Point accelerator) 

Graphics Coprocessor (Graphics accelerator) 

Graphics accelerator cards are usually equipped with their own RAM


Intel CPUs 


8080, 8088, 80286 (i286), 80386 (i386), 80486 (i486), Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, III, and IV, Core 2, Core i5, Core i7, Xeon, Itanium

Optical Storage Media

Digital Video Discs (DVDs)

Compact Discs (CDs)

Written and read using a laser

Laser reflects off a land indicating a logical one

Laser is scattered by a pit indicating a logical zero

+R and –R indicate write-once media

+RW and –RW indicate read/write media

Smart Card

Looks like a magnetic strip credit card

Contains a processor and has input, process, output, and storage capabilities.

Cache Memory

May be on the CPU chip or external to the CPU
Very fast
More expensive than RAM
Used to store frequently used commands or data to accelerate performance







1394 (Firewire)


RAID Array

Redundant Array of Independent Disks

Multiple associated disks

Mirroring provides redundancy for backup

Striping provides speed

Level 5 combines redundancy and striping

Disk Partitions

Separates a hard drive into “logical” drives
Used to support multiple operating systems

Disk controllers

IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)
EIDE (Extended IDE)
SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface)