Computer Architecture

Key terms

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  • Created by: Anil
  • Created on: 27-12-09 14:16


Electronic/electrical circuits that a computer is assembled from. The platform on which software executes.

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Main Memory

Memory that is directly adressable by the processor.

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Memory location

A seperately addressable area of main memory.

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Random access memory; volatile main memory in which the locations can be accessed directly in any order with the same access time for all writing and reading operations.

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Read-only memory; non-volatile main memory that cannot be written to once it is set up.

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Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory; it contents may be altered but writing is about 100 times slower than reading.

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Computer Bus:

A set of parallell wire connecting independent components of a computer system.

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System bus or external bus

The main highway connecting the processor, main memory and I/O controllers; it is made up of a data bus, an address bus and a control bus.

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Allows the CPU to communicate with peripherals.

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A computer device that is not part of the CPU. It can external (e.g. mouse, keyboard, printer, monitor, memory stick or scanner) or internal, such as a CD-ROM drive.

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I/O device

A hardware unit that sends or recieves data or stores data by communicating with the processor and main memory through an I/O controller.

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Secondary storage;

Permanent storage memory not directly connected to the processor; also called backing store.

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Main memory address

A unique numeric code corresponding to a location in memory

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Stored program concept

A program must be resident in the main memory to be executed; it is processed by fetching machine code instructions in sequence from main memory and executing them one at a time, in th processor.

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A very fast memory location inside the processor or I/O controller.

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General-purpose register:

A register not assigned a specific role by the processor designer. Programmer may use general-purpose registers.

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Dedicated register

A register assigned a specific role by the processor designer. Programmers may use some but not all dedicated registers.

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Clock speed

The clock speed of the processor is the frequency in megahertz or gigahertz at which the processor executes instructions.

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Word Length

The number of digits in a binary word.

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Bus width

The number of signal wires or lines allocated to the bus.

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