Computer Systems, Input/Output & Storage

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Define 'computer system'
A computer system is one that can take a set of inputs, process them and create a set of outputs. This is done by a combination of hardware and software.
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Explain how a computer receives data and how the data is prepared for processing
The input in a computer system provides it with data for processing. This is made up of data/commands which are entered through input devices (e.g. mouse or keyboard). The data is converted into digital data so that the computer can work with it.
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Explain what happens during the processing stage in a computer system
Processing is when the data is manipulated in order to produce useful information. The results of processing can be used later for output.
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Name 3 possible stages of processing
sorting, searching, calculations, graphing etc.
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Name one real world example of when processing is used
E.g. searching sales data in a shop to find which product has sold the most or sorting a list of customers into alphabetical order.
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Explain what happens during the output stage.
Output is when the information from the processing stage is presented to the user. This involves the digital data being converted into something the user can see/hear etc.
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Name one real world example of output
E.g. a printout of exam results for a class of students from highest to lowest or an alarm from a fire alarm system if smoke is detected.
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What is hardware?
A general name for any physical part of a computer. They can be internal or external.
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Give 3 examples of external hardware
Monitor, Printer, Keyboard etc.
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Give 3 examples of internal hardware
Hard Disk, CPU, Fan etc.
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What is software?
The applications and programmed instructions that tell a computer what to do. Can be system software or application software.
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Give 2 examples of system software
Operating system, utilities etc.
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Give 2 examples of application software
Word processors (e.g. Microsoft word), Spreadsheets (e.g. Microsoft excel)
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What is 'Computer Control'?
Computer control means that a computer is part of the control system, and is normally used to run the control program.
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What is a sensor?
A device which measures a particular physical quantity in its environment.
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Give 6 examples of sensors
Heat, Humidity, Light, Infrared, pH, Pressure, Smoke, Sound, Tilt, Touch etc.
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What does 'ADC' stand for?
Analogue-to-Digital Converter
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Give 4 examples of where computer control is used in the home
E.g. washing machines, microwaves, dishwashers, video recorders, remote control TV, central heating, burglar alarm
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Give 3 examples of where computer control is used outside the home
E.g. traffic light systems, car park barriers, car engines, lifts, rides at theme parks, computer controlled lighting
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Give 3 examples of where computer control is used in a factory/workplace
E.g. air conditioning, lifts, automatic doors, factory robots
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Name 5 advantages of using computer control
Can operate 24/7 without a break, no holidays or sick days, no wages, accurately repeats actions multiple times, can process data from sensors quickly, can work on hundreds of inputs at once, makes reliable decisions, used in dangerous situations.
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Name 3 disadvantages of using computer control
Specialist software (expensive to develop), system won't work if computer malfunctions, system won't work in power cut, computer can't react to unexpected events, people often want to know that an expert is in control rather than a computer.
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What is a mouse?
A pointing and clicking device
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What is a biometric scanner?
An input device used for collecting human data e.g. fingerprints
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What is another name for the dots of light on a monitor?
Pixels
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Name the two main types of printer
Laser printer and Ink-jet printer
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Which of the two types of printer produces better quality output?
Laser printer
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Which of the two types of printer is more cheap?
Ink-jet printer
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Do laser printers use ink cartridges?
No, they use toner instead
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What is a plotter used for?
Printing on large sheets, e.g. blueprints
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In storage, what is the name of the device that holds the stored data?
Storage medium
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What is the name of a device that saves data?
Storage device
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Name the two types of primary (or internal) storage
RAM (random access memory) and ROM (read-only memory)
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Which of the two primary storage media is volatile, and what does this mean?
RAM is volatile. This means that when the computer is switched off, the contents are lost.
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Name 4 examples of secondary (or external) storage media
Hard disk, memory stick, CD/DVD, magnetic tape, SD card, Cloud
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What are the 2 main ways in which data can be accessed?
Serial/sequential access and direct/random access.
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Explain serial (or sequential) access.
A serial access storage device stores the files one-by-one, and this is the order in which they can be accessed in the future. E.g. VHS videotape
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Explain direct (or random) access
Direct access storage devices are used to store files so that they can be accessed quickly and easily. E.g. DVD. Unlike a video tape, you can quickly access any point on the disc without having to look through every file.
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What is data storage capacity?
The amount of data that can be stored on a medium.
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Explain how magnetic storage devices work
Magnetic storage devices/media store data in tiny magnetised dots, which are created, read and erased using magnetic fields (electromagnets).
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Explain how magnetic tape works
On magnetic tape, the dots are along a long plastic strip which is coated in a magnetisable layer.
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Explain how magnetic disks work
In magnetic disks, the magnetised dots are arranged in circles on the surface of a disk, which can be made of either plastic, metal or glass with a magnetisable coating.
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Explain what a fixed hard drive is
This is built into a computer. It acts as the main storage device for the computer, as it provides almost instant access to files.
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Explain what a portable hard drive is
These are placed into a case with some electronics that allow the hard drive to be accessed using a USB connection. This allows large amounts of data to be transferred from one computer to another.
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What is magnetic tape normally used for?
Data backup, because they are serial access storage media. This is only useful when you aren't using the data much, as it can take a long time to find files.
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What is a floppy disk?
Removable, portable, cheap and low capacity storage medium. Random access, usually used to transfer small amounts of data between computers. Slow access. Been replaced by newer technology e.g. CDs.
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What is a zip disk?
Removable and portable storage medium. Similar to floppy disk, but larger capacity. Random access, used for back-up or transferring large files. Were a popular replacement of floppy disks, but have been replaced by CDs.
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What is a jaz disk?
Removable and portable storage medium based on hard-drive. Large data capacity. Random access, used for backing-up and transferring large files. Expensive + unreliable. Never caught on and were quickly replaced.
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Explain how optical storage devices/media work
These save data as patterns of dots that are read using light. The light source is normally a laser beam, and the data is read by bouncing the laser beam off the surface of the medium. The laser beam can also create dots on writable media (burning)
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What is a CD-ROM?
Compact Disc - Read Only Memory. Can hold around 800MB data. Non-volatile, can't be altered or deleted. Random access.
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What is a DVD-ROM?
Digital Versatile Disc - Read Only Memory. Can hold around 4.7GB data (dual layer discs can hold double). Random access, can store high quality video because of large data capacity.
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Name 2 examples of high capacity optical discs
Blu-Ray and HD DVD
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What is Blu-Ray?
Recent replacement for DVD. Each disc holds 25 to 50GB data. Random access. Same uses as DVD-ROM but higher quality video because of higher data capacity.
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What is HD DVD?
High-Density DVD. Holds 15GB data. Random access. Used in same way as DVD-ROM but can store higher quality video because of higher data capacity.
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What is a recordable optical disc?
An optical disc that can have data written onto it by a computer using a burner.
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What are CD-R and DVD-R?
These can have data burnt onto them but not erased. You can keep adding data until the disc is full, but you can never delete anything so it can't be reused once it is full.
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What are CD-RW and DVD-RW?
Re-Writable. Data can be burnt onto them and erased. This means they can be re-used.
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What is DVD-RAM?
DVD-Random Access Memory. Re-writable. 4.7GB capacity. Random access. Used in video recording cameras. Higher quality than DVD-RW and can be reliable for 30 years. Used for backing up and archiving data.
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What is a solid state storage device?
No moving parts. Based on electrical circuits and have no reels of tape or spinning discs. Use flash memory. Non-volatile but the data can be erased.
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What is EEPROM?
Electronically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory
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What is a USB stick?
Non-volatile, random access. Has flash memory connected to a USB interface. Used to move files between computers.
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What is a memory card?
Used in cameras, mobile phones etc. Compact, non-volatile, flash memory. E.g SD card to store images from a camera or SIM card to store phone information.
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What is a smart card?
Flash memory. E.g. credit card, door entry card, satellite TV card etc
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What is backing-up data?
Taking one or more copies of your data. If you delete a file by accident, it can be helpful to have another copy.
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Name 3 ways of backing up personal files
Burning them to a CD-R, copying them to an external hard drive, copying them to another computer on the network
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Name 4 ways that businesses back up their data.
Making copies regularly, using large capacity media like magnetic tape, keeping old copies of backups, automating the system, keeping backup media off site.
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Name 2 uses of a pressure sensor
Under a door mat to sense if the door needs to be opened, by a window to sense burglars, pressure cooker - sensor stops cooker from exploding
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Name 2 uses of a light sensor
External security lights, ambience sensors in phones etc, barcode scanners, automatic lights in a house, supermarket displays
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Name 2 uses of a humidity sensor
Swimming pool, greenhouse
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Name 2 uses of a moisture sensor
Sensing moisture in soil, irrigation
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Name 2 uses of a proximity sensor
Parking sensors in cars, roller coasters, touch screens, conveyor systems
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Name 2 uses of an infrared sensor
Security alarm systems, TV remotes, game controllers, measuring heart rate in medicine, automatic doors, night vision
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Name 2 uses of a temperature sensor
Battery chargers, car radiators, hot air balloons
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Name 2 uses of a pH sensor
Regulating soil and water pH, wine making, cheese making, chemists
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Name 2 uses of a gas sensor
Carbon monoxide alarm in homes, Smoke detector.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The input in a computer system provides it with data for processing. This is made up of data/commands which are entered through input devices (e.g. mouse or keyboard). The data is converted into digital data so that the computer can work with it.

Back

Explain how a computer receives data and how the data is prepared for processing

Card 3

Front

Processing is when the data is manipulated in order to produce useful information. The results of processing can be used later for output.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

sorting, searching, calculations, graphing etc.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

E.g. searching sales data in a shop to find which product has sold the most or sorting a list of customers into alphabetical order.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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