A computer system is a complete and functional computer with all the hardware and software required to make it operational for a user. A computer system should have the ability to receive user input, process data, and create information from the processed data for storage and output. There are three types of computers: digital, analog, and hybrid machines. Today, most computers are digital. Digital computers express variables such as numbers, usually in the binary system. Analog computers are built for specific works such as scientific and technical functions. Here are five tips to understanding a new computer system.

  1. Understand the Elements. First, you need to understand the essential components of a computer. The core element of a computer system is the Central Processing unit (CPU) or processor. The CPU comprises of an arithmetic-logic unit to carry out calculations, main memory to temporarily stored data for processing, and a control unit. The control unit is responsible for the transfer of data between memory, input and output sources, and arithmetic-logic unit. A computer system has to have some peripheral devices connected to it so that it can function. These devices use cables to connect to the CPU, although some are built into the same unit with the processor. These devices include keyboards, mice, microphones, modem, printers, monitors, and scanners.
  2. Understanding the Microcomputer. The microprocessor is a CPU built on a single integrated circuit chip, which allows the development of affordable single-user microcomputers. The popular category of the microcomputer is the portable computer: laptop or notebook computer. Laptops have the same power as desktop computers but are more compactly built and use flat screen monitors (often liquid crystal display) that fold down to form a slim unit. Laptops are light, and you can carry them in a briefcase. A notebook is lighter than a laptop and may or may not have a full-size keyboard.
  3. Understand the Open System. The open system means that a computer is compatible with hardware and software from different manufacturers. Today, a Dell computer is consistent with a Samsung printer. If any manufacturer designs a new system, they have to make it compatible with all types of machines for it to sell. Open systems provide business owners with more buying options and allow them to share computer files with outside clients.
  4. Understanding the Computer Operating System. An operating system is a software that manages the computer’s memory, processes, and all its software and hardware. The software also allows you to connect with the different types of interfaces without understanding the computer language. You cannot do anything on a computer without the operating system. The different types of operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
  5. Networking. You can link computers together using cables or network software, which are compatible with the operating system software. You can put different machines on the same network depending on the hardware and software used. There are two types of connecting network: the Local-Area-Network (LAN), and the Wide Area Network (WAN). LAN connects computers within a limited geographical area, while WAN links computers in different geographic regions.

With this information, you now know how a computer works. A new computer system must work within the requirements of most if not all computers from different manufacturers.  

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