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Match the terms (1 – 8) with the statements (A – H). Say what the abbreviations mean.

1 CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read-Only Memory)

2 RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory)

5 AGP (Advanced Graphic Port)

6 SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory)

3 MB (Megabyte)

7 SVGA (Super Video Graphic Array)

4 GHz (Gigahertz)

8 RAM (Random Access Memory)


A A unit for measuring the speed of the processor

B A unit used for measuring the capacity (size) of the memory or of storage devices

C An optical storage device that uses laser lights to read and write to a disk.

D The storage area where all software is loaded and works from

E A type of random access memory that operates synchronously with the system bus

F A graphic standard

G A completely new type of RAM technology that can operate at very high clock frequencies

H A graphics port

22 Now study the text below to find this information:

1 What is the memory size of this PC?

2 Which input devices are supplied?

3 What size is the monitor?

4 How fast is the processor?

5 What is the capacity of the hard drive?

6 Which operating system does it use?

7 What multimedia features does the computer have?




1 Intel Pentium IV 1.7 GHz Processor 2 Mini Tower Chassis 3 256 MB Rambus RDRAM 4 60GB Hard Drive 5 Embedded Intel 3D Direct AGP video with 65MB SDRAM 6 64-voice wavetable sound 7 48 X CD-ROM Drive 8 19” (17.9”VIS) Colour SVGA monitor 9 Microsoft Windows XP 10 1.44MB 3.5” Floppy Drive 11 Microsoft Intellimouse 12 105-keys keyboard  


1 The main processing chip that operates at a clock speed of 1.7 thousand million cycles per second.

2 A small size of tall and narrow style of case containing the computer system.

3 256 megabyte of Rambus dynamic type of main memory chips that constitute the computer RAM.

4 A hard drive internal storage device with a capacity of approx. 60 thousand million bytes.

5 A video controller for controlling the monitor screen that is built on to the computer motherboard. It can process 3 В images using the AGP type of video bus interface. It also contains approx. 64 million bytes of synchronous dynamic random access memory that is used as video memory.

6 A soundcard that has 64 voices and generates sounds using the wave table system.

7 A CD-ROM storage device that operates at 48 times the speed of the original CD-ROM devices.

8 A colour monitor for displaying output on a screen at resolutions determined by the SVGA standard. The diagonal measurement of the whole screen is 19 inches but the diagonal measurement of the actual viewable area of the screen is only 17.9 inches.

9 The operating system that is used to control the system.


What can you say about the computer offered in this ad?

· Is it modern or obsolete?

· What programs can’t it run?

· How much can this computer cost now?

· Is your home computer more or less powerful?


24 Work in pairs and find out as much as you can about your partners computer.

Consider the following characteristics:

· processor type · processor speed · bus speed · memory (RAM) · memory type · hard disk capacity · hard disk type · monitor size · monitor resolution · CD-ROM drive speed


25 Read the article and say what useful tips you find there.


CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. There can be several processors in a computer, but one of them is the central one – the CPU. The reason the CPU is called a processor is because it can work with data. And it has two important jobs: it can do calculations; it can move data. The CPU is very fast at doing both jobs. The faster the CPU can do calculations and move data, the faster we say the PC is. The CPU is physically quite small. At its core is an electronic circuit (called a die), which is no bigger than your little fingernail.

If you happen to need to choose a CPU for your new PC, what should you choose? Let me give you a bit of food for thought.

Processor Euro
INTEL Celeron 2.66 GHZ/533 256KB 70,00
INTEL P4 520 2.8 GHZ/800 1 MB 130,00
INTEL P4 530 3.0 GHZ/800 1 MB 145,00
INTEL P4 540 3.2 GHZ/800 1 MB 175,00
INTEL P4 550 3.2 GHZ/800 1 MB 220,00
INTEL P4 560 3.2 GHZ/800 1 MB 330,00
AMD Sempron 3100+ (1,8 GHZ) 105,00
AMD ATHLON 64 3000+ (2,0 GHz) 209,00
AMD ATHLON 64 3400+ (2,4 GHz) 227,00
AMD ATHLON 64 FX-53 (2,4 GHz) 670,00
Pricelist for October 2004  

The individual components have different lifetimes. The way development has gone up until the present, CPU’s and motherboards have been the components that have become obsolete the most quickly. CPU’s and motherboards also go together– you normally change them both at the same time. The question is, then, how important is it to have the latest technology? You have to decide that for yourself. But if you know that your PC has to last for many years, you probably should go for the fastest CPU on the market. For the rest of us, who regularly upgrade and replace our PC’s insides, it is important to find the most economic processor. There is usually a price jump in the processor series, such that the very latest models are disproportionately expensive. You have to find the model that gives the most power in proportion to the price.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is a very central component in a PC, for without RAM there can be no data processing. RAM is simply the storage area where all software is loaded and works from. Physically, RAM consists of small electronic chips which are mounted in modules (small printed circuit boards). The modules are installed in the PC’s motherboard using sockets — there are typically 2, 3 or 4 of these. However, RAM also has to match the motherboard, chipset and the CPU system bus. You can try experimenting with overclocking, where you intentionally increase the system bus clock frequency. That will mean you need faster RAM than what is normally used in a given motherboard. However, normally, we simply have to stick to the type of RAM currently recommended for the chosen motherboard and CPU.

RAM has a very big impact on a PC’s capacity. So if you have to choose between the fastest CPU, or more RAM, I would definitely recommend that you go for the RAM. Some will choose the fastest CPU, with the expectation of buying extra RAM later, “when the price falls again”. You can also go that way, but ideally, you should get enough RAM from the beginning. But how much is that? If you still use Windows 98, then 256 MB is enough. The system can’t normally make use of any more, so more would be a waste. For the much better Windows 2000 operating system, you should ideally have at least 512 MB RAM; it runs fine with this, but of course 1024 MB or more is better. The same goes for Windows XP:


  128 MB 256 MB 512 MB 1024MB
Windows 98 ** *** Waste Waste
Windows 2000 * ** *** ****
Windows XP   * *** ****

Recommended amount of PC RAM, which has to be matched to the operating system.

The advantage of having enough RAM is that you avoid swapping. When Windows doesn’t have any more free RAM, it begins to artificially increase the amount of RAM using a swap file. The swap file is stored on the hard disk, and leads to a much slower performance than if there was sufficient RAM in the PC.

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