The Concept of Hardware and Operating Systems


Who created the computer? This is a question that will not have a simple answer. The real answer is, many people have contributed to the history of this device, but the computer can be defined as the machine which is made up of many parts and each part has its uses and functions, various parts in a computer have been invented and created by different people. “Throughout history computers have undergone a big revolution with it own impacts and characteristics which had an impact in the world. The desktop computer has undergone five different developments over the years” (Goldberg, 2003).

The first revolution (generation) happened between 1940 to 1956, this type of computer was known as the vacuum computer, its main circuitry consist of vacuum tubes and a magnetic drum which acted as the memory. This type of computer relied on machine language, which is the lowest language a computer can understand to perform its various functions and operations, “it type of computer was able to perform its operations one at a time and the input was paper tapes while output was a printout” (Goldberg, 2003).

The second revolution (generation) happened between 1956-1963, the main components as it was in the first generation computer, where transistors replaced the vacuum tubes as its circuitry. This device was far better than the vacuum tube which was found in the first generation computer.

This model of the computer was smaller in size when you compare it with first-generation computers, it used to save energy. The heat was a problem in this model of a computer but it was an improvement to that of the first generation computer. This model of the second generation computer was using assembly language with the instructions being given to the computer by a person using it.

The third revolution of this model happened between the years 1964-1971, the major difference with this model of the computer, the user of this machine was able to interact with it by the use of a keyboard and monitor, and this model of the computer used to have an Operation System which enables the user to run more than one applications.

“This type of computer was produced to the members of the publics because it was cheap as you compare it to other generations of computers and it was smaller in size” (Goldberg, 2003).

The Fourth revolution of this model of the computer happened between the years 1971 to the present and with the invention of the microprocessor, this model of the computer started using microprocessor which consisted of many integrated circuits ( IC ) built on a smaller silicon chip. The first generation computer filled the whole room but with the development of Intel 4004 chip, the fourth generation computer was able to fit into the palm of the hand. “In the year 1981 the computer manufacturing company IBM introduced the first home user machine and in the year 1984 Apple computer company introduced Macintosh microprocessor which led to the development of the computer moving into other areas of life” (Goldberg, 2003).

The last revolution of computers is happening between the present and the future, this model of computer will depend on artificial intelligence which is the norm of the world today, The application of artificial intelligence has already been developed the world but its application of it is still minimal because of the cost and the technology which is being used, an example of such technology (artificial intelligence) is voice recognition, this model of computer will change the face of the world in the years to come


The motherboard is the main circuitry in the function of a computer machine, each component in a computer is connected with the motherboard. Many devices are communicating with the motherboard through the ports which are available throughout the motherboard, “the main function of the motherboard is to provide a platform for all other components inside the computer to communicate with each other” (Zimmer & Schröder-Preikschat, 1989)

Motherboard various from one machine to another, each machine has its own design of the motherboard. But you can classify motherboards by the sockets they have, for example, socket A, socket 476. The type of motherboard a person buys with a computer is very important to person specifications because when buying a motherboard it will tell you the type of socket the motherboard is coming with. “Motherboard has various components such as expansion slots (ISA, & PC) and external connectors such as USB and PS/2 ports, to be used for keyboard and the mouse” (Zimmer & Schröder-Preikschat, 1989).

The chipset is available in the motherboard, its specific function is to control the data which is being given to the motherboard. “It main functions are to control the availability of the data into the correct areas within the motherboard, into the correct components” (Zimmer & Schröder-Preikschat, 1989).

Purchasing Motherboard

If a person wants to buy a computer there are some various things he must consider with the motherboard and the components which come with it, for example if you have many components which have a PCI interface. There is no point in buying a computer which has a 3PCI slots because it will not work with equipments which have PCI interface and this will lead to wastage or resources.

The memory is another component which a person must consider when buying a computer, 10 years back many computers used to run with 128 Mb memories and this cannot take any memory that is above 2Gb memory, the person should make sure the computer has an expansion slot to upgrade the computer. A person needs to check the type of motherboard he is buying because some older components will not be supported with a new mother board. Different model of computers come with different chipsets, this difference will have different performance and also the features will be different


Memory in the computer in the compute plays a very major role, in the memory is where the computer holds it current programs and even the data that are in use. Memory in a computer can be divided into two main parts, the first part is RAM and the second part is ROM

The ROM is small but it will determine how the computer will work and it is usually found in the motherboard and it does not change. It main work in the motherboard, it gives instructions to the hardware that is found in the motherboard but the data which is found in it will remain intact even when the computer has been shut down. If the ROM is damaged then the computer will not work.

RAM main function in a computer, only holds data over a shorter period of time i.e. when the computer is on but when it has been shut down the data will disappear that why it being called “volatile”. When the computer is working it functions changes from time to time, the computer will need information’s all these time, this is where the RAM comes in it gives the computer quick information that is stored in the hard disks “At the beginning of the millennium most computers were running on 128Mb RAM but at the moment almost all the newly manufactured computers run with 512 Mb RAM and there is an expansion for that” (Goldberg, 2003).

Computer BIOS

BIOS are acronym for Basic Input/output system it plays an important role in the operations of a computer without it nothing will work in a computer. It main function in the computer is to configure the hardware that is available in the main motherboard, with this configurations the compute will be able to recognize the operating system that is installed in the computer i.e. windows or Linux..The window operating system is widely used in the world because it can be easily be used by many people and it very interactive as being compared to the computers which run on Linux Operating Systems.

Computer Processor

Processor (Central Processing Unit) this is the brain of the computer its work is to process data and information that are entered into the computer and it execute instructions that are stored in the memory of the computer. Some factors will contribute in the normal working of processor and If one of these factors is poorly designed then the performance of the computer will be affected and if any of these factors is well implemented it will be difficult to compensate for the other limitations that are found in other factors.

Cache on the processor has the same functions as those found in other parts, like on the hardware. The design of the earliest cache, was a single cache and it used to be a dominate cache but the need of speed increased in computers the cache with several layer was manufactured and is the one widely used in computers nowadays.

Computer Peripherals

Computer peripherals are any device that is not part of the computer but can be closely found near the computer but some peripherals are installed in the computer the same way the main part of the computer is mounted, for example I/O card, CD drive and network card. They are some peripherals which are found outside the computer, for example printers and scanner through a connecting cable or a wireless connection.

Mass Storage

The advantage of using mass drive is because it is portable and large information which cannot be sent through emails or internet can be accessed manually in a different place’ for example of mass storage is external hard disk and flash disk. This mass storage does not require any file system to be used. Instead a simple device is used to read and write data in it, “in the computer the mass storage is treated the same way as the hard drive and can be format the same way the hard drive can be format” (Goldberg, 2003).

Factors in buying a computer

They are various factors that a person must consider when buying a new desktop computer” (Rosenberg ,2004).”Overheating is the first factor to consider because your computer can be damaged as a result of heat, a new computer should be bought from an authorized dealer” (Rosenberg ,2004).The technology in computer is ever changing you must put into consideration the upgrading of computer once you bought it and it should be compatible to other devices and software’s that will be installed into the computer.

The last factor a person must put into consideration is, the computer can be repaired once it faulty or it parts can be replaced if the become faulty. The last factor a person must consider when buying a desktop computer is the initial price of the computer, “a person should select a computer which is between his range i.e. the price he can afford, and a person should keep in mind that the price of a laptop computer is more expensive than the normal desktop compute” (Rosenberg ,2004).

Impacts of Computer

The revolution of the computer have had an impact in our society, this machine do play an essential role in our daily life. It has made thing for human being to be easy. Employment has been created as a result of computer revolution. These machines are commonly used item in all sphere of life in human beings, nowadays anything a human being do is made up of a computer, “from the cars we use to travel with to traffic lights that are being controlled by a programs made by the computer. In hospitals computer are used to diagnosis diseases and are also being used in the treatment of some ailments like cancer” (Rosenberg ,2004).

Despite everything computers have disadvantages as well, in the world today if you don’t have any experience in the use of this machine; it will be difficult to get employment. Many manually jobs in business have been lost due to computer, for example in factories manual jobs have been replaced with machines which are being controlled by computer. “It has made accounting more easily nowadays you just input numbers in a computer and it will produce the result you wanted” (Rosenberg ,2004).

Reference List

Goldberg, H. J. L. (2003).Computer architecture: a quantitative approach. London, Publisher Morgan Kaufmann.

Rosenberg ,R. S. (2004). The social impact of computers, London, Emerald Group Publishing.

Zimmer, W., & Schröder-Preikschat, W. (1989). Progress in distributed operating systems and distributed systems management: European workshop. Berlin, Publisher Springer.

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