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Characteristics of a computer

There is not a corner in the world where  a computer is not taking care of any task or is used as the main support of the activities that take place there daily, this is due to the tremendous capacity they offer to assist us in any of the areas in which we operate, which has achieved that over the years they have become absolutely indispensable, and it is practically  impossible to try any activity without the help of a computer, in any of its forms.

Currently  computers are used in hundreds of thousands of different tasks and jobs,  including obtaining information from the Internet, communicating with family members, controlling manufacturing processes, graphic design, architecture and thousands of other activities, such is the penetration that The computer has had in our culture, which could even be considered that in a certain way we are slaves of its capacities.

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Despite these thoughts,  without computers it would be impossible to do all of those amazing things that we are used to today.  Without these devices, everything would be heavier and slower. As we see computers today occupy a very important place in our lives, but  do we really know what computers are or how they work?  In this post we will get the answers to these questions.

What is a computer?

Basically, a computer, computer or computer, as it is known in different parts of the world,  is an electronic device that was designed with the purpose of processing the information that the user enters through different methods  and returning it converted into the useful data that the operator needs to. To do this, it uses so-called programs,  that is, software or applications.

Physically,  a computer is a device made up of different electronic circuits,  all of them housed in a box or cabinet, as we will see later in the article. For data entry to the computer, so-called input peripherals are used ,  which include the keyboard, mouse, and microphone among others.

Now, to visualize the data or results that the computer returns to us, so-called output peripherals are used ,  which include the monitor and the printer. Speakers also fall into this group.

All this impressive flow of data is controlled, in addition to by the processor, by the operating system,  which is responsible for translating into machine language,  which is what the CPU understands, the instructions that we request from the computer through the user applications such as Word, Photoshop or Spotify.

What types of computers are there?

At present  there are many types of computers,  adapted to the most diverse modes of use and tasks. The most common type of computer today is the desktop computer,  however the Desktop PC is being replaced by the so-called notebooks, a type of computer whose main advantage is to be able to be used in any situation and place where we are. , fundamentally due to the fact that its components are integrated and it does not need to be plugged into the electrical network, since its energy is provided by internal batteries.

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Main characteristics of a computer

In the case of having a computer, it  is extremely important that we know its operation and basic characteristics,  since this will allow us to get the best possible use of it. The same happens if we plan to acquire a computer.

At this point, knowing a little more about computers will prevent us from being fooled into  trying to sell us a computer that is not up to our present or future needs.

It is for all this that from this point on, we will  detail the most important components of the computer,  and what is the function that each one of them fulfills.

The main component of the computer is the CPU or processor, which is in charge of processing and executing all the instructions sent to it by the different components, all simultaneously and incredibly fast.

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Also of great importance is the RAM memory,  since in it the applications or programs store the data with which we are working. In this sense, another component for storing information is the hard disk, which ,  unlike RAM, is not volatile, that is, when we turn off the computer,  the data that we write on it will continue to be there.

Another very important component of the computer is the video card, since it is connected to the monitor to show the operations we are performing,  that is, how we are interacting with the operating system and applications.

Likewise, the audio card plays a quite important role in the operation of the computer,  since it is in charge of processing all aspects of the audio,  that is, what we enter through the microphone or what we hear through the speakers or headphones.

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On the other hand,  the network card, which can be of the wired or Wi-FI type with an antenna, is currently one of the most important components of the computer,  since it allows us to connect to the Internet or share physical resources such as printers. or hard drives, in addition to information, with other computers on the network.

However, all these components are useless  if they are not mounted on the motherboard or motherboard of the computer , the main circuit in charge of interconnecting the different boards and making them work as a whole.

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Motherboards include both the slots to connect the audio, video, RAM , processor and other cards as well as the connectors to plug in the hard drives, CD players, USB ports and all the other elements that make up a complete computer.

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It should be noted that  notebooks also have a motherboard,  but all the components and boards are already integrated into it, so despite having the advantage of being transportable, it  has the disadvantage that it cannot be updated, unlike computers. desk,  which we can always expand and modernize according to our tastes and needs.

The main threats of the computer

As all of us who use a computer on a daily basis know, the risks and dangers that threaten the security of a PC are various, including power surges, falls and other accidents.

However, computer viruses are the biggest threat that can exist. These viruses emerged approximately 25 years ago, and although technological advances allow us to be more protected, they continue to be a threat capable of wreaking havoc on computers and technological equipment.

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There are currently several types of threats, these are:

Viruses: A virus is a program that infects other programs or systems in order to multiply and spread.

Worm: Worm type viruses (worm) is a program that reaches the computer through the web and has the ability to multiply.

Rootkit: It is a malicious program that is installed in the root of the operating system. The Rootkit hides files, processes and information, making it difficult for the operating system to detect them. It is generally used to allow remote control of a machine by an unauthorized user.

Spyware: A Spyware is a program that is installed without the user knowing it, and aims to send information from the infected machine to other machines. There are spywares that only monitor the user’s online activity, even those that steal passwords and personal information.

Trojan Horse or Trojan: A Trojan can be a virus or other malware that depends on a user action to be able to install itself on the computer. They usually arrive by e-mail disguised as something interesting or curious, such as photos, videos, and PowerPoint presentations.

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Phishing: Phishing is a fraud that attempts to trick the user into revealing personal information and passwords. Web pages or e-mails sent appearing to be from renowned companies or institutions are used to “fish” their victims.

Spam: Spam is an e-mail generally disguised as advertisements for products and web pages containing viruses.

Dialer: Dialer is a program that is installed on the computer without the user’s knowledge and uses the modem to make calls to numbers 0-600 and the like, and obviously the account comes under the name of the user who was infected.

If you want to know more about the danger of viruses, you can find out by clicking on this link.

Evolution of Computers

As the years have passed, computers have taken different forms to adapt to the needs and requirements of the users who used them. That is why in the market we can find a wide variety of computers of all sizes and shapes.

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Basically, the main computer types are:

  • Supercomputers
  • Mainframes
  • Minicomputers
  • Workstations
  • Personal computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones and tablets

If you want to know more about the different types of computers, you can do so by clicking on this link.

Regarding the evolution of personal computers, the story begins with the IBM PC, or Personal Computer, which emerged in 1981 and became the standard for microcomputers, which happened to have a very rapid evolution, and difficult to accompany, since we acquired a model that we consider the latest, and we do not realize that a newer, more modern and powerful one has already been launched on the market.

Let’s see if we can follow a little of this accelerated evolution:

PC – Personal Computer

  • It allowed the inclusion of 5 expansion boards.
  • 256 kb of RAM memory.
  • 40 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 “floppy drives with 360 kb recording capacity.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor (green, amber or white phosphor).

PC XT – Personal Computer Extended Technology

  • It allowed the inclusion of 8 expansion boards.
  • 512 kb of RAM memory.
  • 40 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 “floppy drives with 360 kb recording capacity.
  • One or two 10 to 40 Mb hard drives.
  • Monochrome (green, amber or white phosphor) or color CGA monitor.
  • 8-bit isa expansion boards.

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PC AT – Personal Computer Advanced Technology

  • It allowed the inclusion of 8 expansion boards.
  • 1 Mb of RAM memory.
  • 64 kb ROM memory.
  • One or two 5 1/4 “floppy drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity.
  • One or two hard drives from 20 to 160 Mb.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor or color EGA monitor.
  • 8 and 16 bit isa type expansion boards.

AT 286

  • With clock speeds of 7 to 16 MHz.
  • 1 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity.
  • Monochrome CGA monitor or color EGA monitor or VGA monitor.
  • One or two hard drives from 20 to 160 Mb.
  • Mouse.
  • 8 and 16 bit isa expansion boards.

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386 SX

  • Generally with 16 to 20 MHz clock speeds.
  • 2 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CGA or EGA or VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 40 to 200 Mb hard drives.
  • 16 bit isa expansion boards.

386 DX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 33 to 40 MHz.
  • 2 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 360 kb or 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CGA or EGA or VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 40 to 200 Mb hard drives.
  • 1,200 or 2,400 kbps fax-modem board.
  • With or without math co-processor.
  • 16 bit isa expansion boards.

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486 SLC, DLC, SX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 25 to 40 MHz.
  • 2 to 4 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • VGA or Super VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 120-400 Mb hard drives.
  • With or without math co-processor.
  • 2,400 or 4,800 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16 bit isa expansion boards.

486 DX

  • Generally with clock speeds of 40 to 50 MHz.
  • 4 to 16 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 720 kb or 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 2x CD ROM Drive (speeds).
  • Super VGA monitor (monochrome or color).
  • One or two 120 to 540 Mb hard drives.
  • 4,800 or 9,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16 bit isa expansion boards.

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486 DX2

  • Generally with 66 MHz clock speeds.
  • 8 to 64 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 4x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 420-1.2 Gb hard drives.
  • 14,400 or 28,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards and 32-bit VESA local bus.

486 DX4

  • Generally with clock speeds of 80 to 100 MHz.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM memory.
  • One or more 5 1/4 “drives with 1.2 Mb recording capacity and or 3 1/2” drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 8x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 14,400 or 33,600 kbps.
  • 16-bit isa expansion boards, 32-bit VESA local bus or PCI.

586 (With Cyrix or AMD processor) or Pentium (Intel)

  • Generally with clock speeds of 75 to 200 MHz.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 14,400 or 33,600 kbps.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

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686 (with Cyrix processor)

It should be noted that this processor model did not have much acceptance in the market.

  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 2 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 14,400 or 33,600 kbps.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

Pentium Pro

It should be noted that this processor model was widely used in the field of graphic arts, due to its power and reliability.

  • Generally with 166 to 200 MHz clock speeds.
  • 16 to 64 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • 16x CD ROM Drive.
  • Super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 1.2 to 3.2 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 14,400 or 33,600 kbps.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

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Pentium MMX

  • With MMX technology that accelerates 3D graphics.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 166 to 233 MHz.
  • 16 to 128 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CD ROM Drive 16x to 48x.
  • 14 “or 15” super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 2 to 8 Gb hard drives.
  • Fax-modem board 33,600 l to 56,600 kbps.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

Pentium II

  • With MMX technology that accelerates 3D graphics.
  • Processor slot 1.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 200 to 500 MHz.
  • 16 to 256 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CD ROM Drive 16x to 48x.
  • 14 “or 15” super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 4 to 10 Gb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

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Pentium II Celeron (Intel) or K6 II (AMD)

  • Socket 7 processor.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 300 to 550 MHz.
  • 16 to 256 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • CD ROM Drive 48x to 52x.
  • 14 “or 15” super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 8-15 kb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

Pentium III (Intel) or K7 (AMD Duron)

  • Processor slot 1.
  • Generally with clock speeds of 500 to 1 GHz.
  • 32 to 512 Mb of RAM memory.
  • A 3 1/2 “drive with 1.44 Mb recording capacity.
  • DVD drive, or CD ROM or CD RW.
  • 14 “or 15” or 17 “super VGA color monitor.
  • One or two 10-36Gb hard drives.
  • 56,600 kbps fax-modem board.
  • 16-bit isa PCI expansion boards.

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Pentium III Xeon

  • Processor for workstations and servers.
  • High process speeds.
  • Improvements in the bus from the system to the processor, which significantly improves performance.

The new computers

With the appearance on the market of more modern and smaller technologies, which will allow computers to perform tasks more quickly and more comfortably, such as USB ports for interconnecting peripherals, SATA ports for hard drives, video cards with HDMI capability, the incorporation of flat panel monitors such as LCD or LED, which allowed the user to view content with incredible quality, and other accessories and technologies such as multi-core processors, computing changed forever.

With all these new elements, an improvement in the performance of multimedia capabilities and global data processing was achieved , and computers began to dispense with certain devices such as floppy drives and some types of ports that were no longer used, being replaced by these technologies. more modern, which are even integrated into the motherboard, a pattern that is repeated to this day.

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In this sense, the greatest advances have been made in processors, hard drives and RAM. But that is another story, which we can learn about in this article. For now, we invite you to continue reading the chronology of computers.

Pentium 4

  • 7th generation processor based on the x86 architecture.
  • Premiere of the NetBurst architecture, with which a greater number of cycles per second was obtained to improve SSE instructions.

AMD Athlon XP

  • Processor with high overclocking capacity.
  • Compatible with SSE and 3DNow! Instructions.
  • Hardware Data Prefetch.

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Pentium 4 (Prescott)

  • Processor with a 65nm manufacturing process.
  • 1 MiB or 2 MiB of L2 cache and 16 Kb of L1 cache.
  • Enhanced Execution Prevention, SpeedStep, C1E State, and HyperThreading.
  • SSE3 instructions, AMD64 instruction handling, 64-bit.

The AMD Athlon 64

  • Eighth generation x86 processor.
  • Implements the AMD64 instruction set, introduced by the Opteron.
  • Memory controller on the microprocessor’s own integrated circuit.
  • Processor speed reduction technology called Cool’n’Quiet.

Intel Core Duo

  • Dual-core and quad-core processors with the x86-64 instruction set.
  • Manufactured from 65 to 45 nanometers.
  • Improvements in speed and energy cycles.
  • More efficient execution, cache and buses.

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AMD Phenom

  • First generation of three and four core processors based on the K10 architecture.
  • Manufactured with 65nm technology.
  • Much smarter use of power and system resources.
  • Compatible with virtualization.
  • Integrated DDR2 memory controller.
  • HyperTransport technology and 128-bit floating point units.
  • Shared L3 cache.
  • Compatibility with sockets AM2, AM2 + and AM3.

Intel Core i7 Nehalem

  • Quad-core Intel x86-64 architecture processor.
  • Direct implementation of PCI Express ports.
  • Three-channel memory, or allowing each channel to support one or two DDR3 DIMMs.
  • Reimplementation of Hyperthreading technology but this time creating logical cores.
  • Manufactured with 45nm and 32nm technologies.

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AMD Phenom II and Athlon II

  • Successor processor of the original Phenom.
  • Manufactured in double, quadruple and six-core versions.
  • Support for DDR3 type memories.
  • Increased the amount of L3 cache from 2 MiB in the original Phenom processor to 6 MiB in version II.
  • High process speeds.

Intel Core Sandy Bridge Family

  • Processors designs to replace Nehalem chips.
  • It is the second generation of Intel Core with new 256-bit instructions.
  • Much more efficient and faster than previous processors.
  • New instruction set called AVX and an integrated GPU of up to 12 execution units.

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AMD Fusion

  • Processors with integrated GPU. In other words, the video card is on the same processor.
  • The Northbridge chip is also integrated into the CPU.
  • Low electricity consumption.
  • Suitable for desktop computers and laptops.

Intel Core Ivy Bridge Family

  • Third generation Intel Core processors.
  • Built with 22nm technology, which translates into higher component density, allowing you to perform more tasks in a smaller space.

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Intel Core Haswell

  • 4th generation Intel Core.
  • They implement features that improve performance for games and multimedia.
  • 22nm technology.
  • Much better power consumption / performance ratio.

These processors are the ones that currently offer the best performance, and if they are expensive, the truth is that they can provide us with a performance like never before seen in laptops . In this sense, the Intel Core i7-7920HQ is a clear example of this. Some of its characteristics are:

  • Built with 14nm technology.
  • Capable of reaching up to 4.10 GHz frequency.
  • 8 Mb of cache.
  • 4 cores.
  • Built-in graphics.

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AMD Ryzen

  • Built with 14nm technology.
  • Extensive support for automatic overclocking.
  • It includes a technology called “Pure Power”, which is capable of optimizing the performance / consumption ratio through sensors.
  • Another technology included in the Tyzen is “Precision Boost”, which allows you to increase the voltage and the clock speed to optimize the use of energy, very useful for mobile devices.
  • It also has “Neural Net Prediction” and “Smart Prefetch”, two systems that allow the processor to optimize the workflow through artificial intelligence, thus avoiding repetitive access to, for example, the RAM memory.

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