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The table gives some prefixes commonly used in computer science. Study them and explain the expressions below.

Prefix Meaning Example
deci- hexadeci- kilo- mega- giga-   bi- multi- mono- ten sixteen one thousand large; one million very large; one thousand million two many one decimal, decibel hexadecimal kilogram, kilowatt megahertz, megaton gigantic, gigabyte bidimensional, binary multi-user, multitasking monologue, monolingual


· minicomputer

· microcomputer

· the decimal system

· the hexadecimal system

· multi-user configuration

· bidimensional chessboard

· a monochrome computer

· a CPU with 64 MB of RAM

· a document of 3 kilobytes

33 Read the descriptions of the four people and the four computers below. With a partner, choose the most suitable computer for each person. Give reasons for your choices.


1 Daniel is a history student. He needs a computer to write essays, assignments and letters.

2 Sarah is the manager of an advertising company. She needs a powerful system which will work with optical disks and multimedia applications, integrating text and pictures with animation and voice annotations. Digitized images and sound occupy a lot of disk space.

3 Andy is a CAD engineer. His job involves computer-aided design, simulations and three-dimensional modelling. These applications require a lot of memory and a large drive.

4 Tanya is a sales representative. She needs a lightweight machine with which she can process orders and communicate with head office while she is on the road.


Digital Alpha workstation • 1.700 MHz 64-bit Alpha microprocessor • 512 MB RAM expandable up to 1.5 GB • I hard disk capacity: 80 GB • Supports several graphics formats • Lets you attach any peripherals .and link up to any network • Allows you to handle your toughest technical, scientific and business-critical applications • Supports Digital UNIX, Open VMS and Windows operating systems • £4,049 Compaq notebook 300 MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology • 64 MB RAM • 6 GB hard drive • 3.5" floppy disk drive and CD-ROM drive • Internal 56k modem • 12.1" colour TFT display with high resolution • Compaq trackball mouse • Extended life NiMH battery • Weighs only 6 lbs • Windows comes pre-installed • £2,399   HP Vectra • Pentium processor running at 333 MHz • 32 MB of RAM • High density 3-5", 1.44 MB floppy disk drive • 32x CD-ROM drive • 3.2 GB hard disk • Network card • Standard keyboard and Microsoft mouse • Windows £709 Power Macintosh Power PC processor at 400 MHz 128 MB of RAM expandable to 1 GB 1MB of in-line cache on the processor card 16MB of video RAM 12GB hard disk 3.5 “ floppy drive, 24x CD-ROM and Zip unit Optional DVD-ROM drive Comes with AppleVision monitor, sound board, built in microphone, and stereo speakers Mac OS with QuickTime (an extension that lets you play video and animation on the computer) £2,999  

34 Write about the ideal computer system you would like to have. Consider the features and the options. Think what you are going to use them for. Write about 150-200 words.

35 Read the poem by a computer addict. The author calls himself “a computer snail, an internet parasite, an IT monster”. Match them with the three verses of the poem.

What am I?

I call myself _____________________

Sitting for hours, totally engaged

In the world of the plastic box, filled with silicon chips

Separated from reality

By a screen

Sometimes visible, touchable, breakable,

Sometimes fusible, volatile, illusive.


I am ___________________________

Devouring the information juice

Jumping from one page to another

Tracking the latest news, gears and even gossip.


I am safe inside my anonymous coat

Or sometimes seek shelter in nickname loads

My existence, untraceable, undeniable.


I become _____________________________

Convicted of addiction and cyber malevolence

Of health deterioration and privacy violation

A list of concerns, denials, criticism and old folks' grievances.


How malignant a benign cancer!

How threatening a vulnerable creature!

My future, glorious or gloomy? What am I?

You decide!

Check that you know these words

AGP (Advanced Graphic Port) cable capacity case CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read-Only Memory) click display output floppy disk floppy drive frequencies GHz (Gigahertz) key keyboard lifetimes MB (Megabyte) measure measurement monitor mouse obsolete overclocking performance point printer RAM (Random Access Memory) RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory) resolution screen SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) socket speed storage devices SVGA (Super Video Graphic Array) swapping system unit



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