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Exploring Computer Systems: The Illustrated Guide to Understanding Computer Systems, Hardware & Networks

Exploring Computer Systems: The Illustrated Guide to Understanding Computer Systems, Hardware & Networks

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Exploring Computer Systems: The Illustrated Guide to Understanding Computer Systems, Hardware & Networks

302 pagine
1 ora
Mar 28, 2020


Bits, bytes, logic, RAM, CPUs, hard drives and SSD drives. Master the geeky acronyms and simplify computer hardware & terminology with ease.

Computer hardware with all its technical jargon can be baffling, even for the moderately experienced user.

This book is ideal for a computing course, whether in high school, college or first degree.

Step-by-step, visual approach to help you quickly decode the jargon

Plenty of full color, illustrated screenshots and photographs to help you

Presented in an easy and simple to read format.

This book looks at

Computer fundamentals: logic gates, binary arithmetic, hexadecimal, and number base conversions

Data compression and encryption

Hardware components: CPUs, RAM, Hard Drives, Portable Drives, video cards memory cards, motherboards, and the BIOS

Inside the CPU, CPU architecture, instructions sets, and the fetch execute cycle

Data Storage: bits, bytes, kilo bytes, megabytes, giga bytes and tera bytes

Computer ports: VGA, HDMI, DVI, USB 2&3, FireWire, RJ45 ethernet, eSATA and more

Different types of computer: desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, hybrids and supercomputers

Operating systems: process management, memory management, file management

Computer Software: applications, system software

Computer peripherals: laser and inkjet printers Types of computer networks, 

Network topologies, LANs, WANs, MANs, fibre optics and ethernet

WiFi and Cellular internet connections

The internet: email, the cloud, the world-wide web, and packet switching

IP Addressing, web servers, DNS servers and DHCP servers, TCP/IP model, OSI model

and more...

Techniques are illustrated step-by-step using full color photography and screen prints throughout, together with concise, easy to follow text from an established expert in the field, provide a comprehensive guide to computer systems.

Mar 28, 2020

Informazioni sull'autore

Kevin Wilson is the author of the novels The Family Fang, a New York Times bestseller adapted into an acclaimed film starring Nicole Kidman, and Perfect Little World, as well as the story collections Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, and Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife and two sons.

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Exploring Computer Systems - Kevin Wilson


Computer Systems

2019 Edition

Kevin Wilson

Exploring Computer Systems: 2019 Ed

Copyright © 2019 Elluminet Press

This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. Exempted from this legal reservation are brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis or material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Copyright Law of the Publisher’s location, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from the Publisher. Permissions for use may be obtained through Rights Link at the Copyright Clearance Centre. Violations are liable to prosecution under the respective Copyright Law.

Trademarked names, logos, and images may appear in this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every occurrence of a trademarked name, logo, or image we use the names, logos, and images only in an editorial fashion and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark.

The use in this publication of trade names, trademarks, service marks, and similar terms, even if they are not identified as such, is not to be taken as an expression of opinion as to whether or not they are subject to proprietary rights.

While the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication, neither the authors nor the editors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made. The publisher makes no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein.

Publisher: Elluminet Press

Director: Kevin Wilson

Lead Editor: Steven Ashmore

Technical Reviewer: Mike Taylor, Robert Ashcroft

Copy Editors: Joanne Taylor, James Marsh

Proof Reader: Mike Taylor

Indexer: James Marsh

Cover Designer: Kevin Wilson

About the Author

With over 15 years’ experience in the computer industry, Kevin Wilson has made a career out of technology and showing others how to use it. After earning a master’s degree in computer science, software engineering, and multimedia systems, Kevin has held various positions in the IT industry including graphic & web design, building & managing corporate networks, training, and IT support.

He currently serves as Elluminet Press LTD’s senior writer and director, he periodically teaches computer science at college in South Africa and serves as an IT trainer in England. His books have become a valuable resource among the students in England, South Africa and our partners in the United States.

Kevin’s motto is clear: If you can’t explain something simply, then you haven’t understood it well enough. To that end, he has created the Exploring Technology Series, in which he breaks down complex technological subjects into smaller, easy-to-follow steps that students and ordinary computer users can put into practice.


Thanks to all the staff at Luminescent Media & Elluminet Press for their passion, dedication and hard work in the preparation and production of this book.

To all my friends and family for their continued support and encouragement in all my writing projects.

To all my colleagues, students and testers who took the time to test procedures and offer feedback on the book

Finally thanks to you the reader for choosing this book. I hope it helps you gain a better understanding of computer systems.

Have fun!

Table of Contents

Computer Fundamentals 10

The Binary Code 10

ASCII code 11

Unicode 11

Data Storage Units 11

Binary Addition 12

Convert Binary to Decimal 13

Convert Decimal to Binary 14

Hexadecimal Numbers 15

Convert Decimal to Hexadecimal 16

Convert Hexadecimal to Decimal 17

Boolean Logic 19

AND Gate 19

OR Gate 19

XOR Gate 20

NOT Gate 20

NAND Gate 21

NOR Gate 21

Putting it Together 22

Harvard Architecture 24

Von Neumann Architecture 25

Fetch Execute Cycle 26

Instruction Sets 27



Data Compression 28

Lossy & Lossless 28

Huffman Coding 28

Run Length Encoding 30

Data Encryption 31

Hardware Components 32

Types of Hardware 32

Internal Hardware 32

Basic Peripherals 33

Primary Storage Devices 34

Random Access Memory (RAM) 34

Read Only Memory (ROM) 39

Cache Memory 39

Volatile and Non-Volatile Memory 40

Secondary Storage 40

Hard Disc Drive (HDD) 41

Solid State Drive (SSD) 43

CD/DVD/Blu-ray Drive 44

Memory Cards 47

USB Flash Drives 49

External Hard Disc 50

NAS Drives 51

CPU / Processor 52

Types of CPU 53

Inside the CPU 54

Other Internal Components 55

Sound Card 55

Video Card 56

Expansion Slots 57

The Motherboard 58

The Chipset 59

North & South Bridge 59

CPU Socket 60

The BIOS 61

Computer Peripherals 62

Printers 62

Inkjet Printer 62

Laser Printer 64

Other Peripherals 66

Data Ports 67

USB 67

USB-C 68

Ethernet 69

FireWire 69

ThunderBolt 70

eSATA 70

Video Ports 71

DVI 71


VGA 72

Component Video 73

Composite Video 73

Audio Ports 74

1/8" (3.5mm) Phono Jack 74

1/4" (6.35mm) Phono Jack 74

RCA Audio 75

Computer Software 76

The Operating System 76

User Interfaces 79

Process Management 81

Non Pre-emptive Scheduling 82

Pre-emptive Scheduling 82

First Come, First Served 82

Round Robin 83

Multilevel Feedback Queueing 83

File Management 84

File Systems 86

FAT32 86

exFAT 86



EXT2, 3, and 4 86

Memory Management 87

Memory Partitioning 87

Segmentation 88

Paging 89

Virtual Memory 90

Apps & Applications 92

Anti-Virus Software 93

Windows Defender 93

Avast 94

AVG 95

Types of Computer 96

Micro Computer 96

Desktop 96

Desktop: All-in-one 97

Netbook 99

Chromebook 100

Tablet Computers 102

Hybrids 103

Mainframe Computer 104

Super Computer 105

Embedded System 105

Understanding Hardware Specifications 106

So Many Machines 106

Mac or PC? 107

Decoding the Jargon 109

Computer Specs 110

Printer Specs 111

Computer Networks 112

Local Area Networks (LANs) 112

Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) 113

Wide Area Networks (WANs) 114

Peer-to-peer Network 115

Client-server Network 116

Network Layers 117

Network Topologies 118

Star 119

Bus 120

Ring 121

Ethernet 122

Cellular Networks 124

WiFi 125

Dual Band or Single Band? 125

WiFi Extenders 125

Wireless Standards 126

Wireless Security 126

The Internet 128

Internet Connections 128

DSL 128

Fibre Optic 129

Cable 132

Satellite 133

3G/4G/5G 133

Web Servers and DNS 134

DHCP Servers 135

IP Addresses 136

TCP/IP 138

TCP/IP Model 138

Ports and Sockets 139

Packet Switching 140

What is a URL? 142

HTML 143

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