System sometimes see the temperature and status of components

System components are the parts which make up a system unit, without these components no process could run. All processes, from graphics processing to program executing is done by the system components. On this page I will explain how each component works and explain specific parts of each process between components.Motherboard:The motherboard is a major part of the system unit, it is connected in some way to every component in the unit whether it be aesthetic LEDs or the GPU, this allows all the components to communicate through the internal buses in the board. The motherboard powers the CPU and RAM via direct connections to its ports. The type of motherboard needed depends on the tasks that you will be completing on that system unit, the motherboard with the better chip sets will transfer data between other components quicker than a slow chip set which can be used but is more suited towards less data intensive tasks. Before updating any other component, you must check compatibility with the motherboard to see if the component will work in conjunction with it. The main compatibility issues come in to play when swapping CPU’s out. Another thing you may look at may be the ports available, as if the ports are of an old spec, your new peripherals may not be compatible and not plug in properly.The ROM chip is located on the motherboard. It contains hard-wired firmware which is embedded during manufacture. These firmware programs include POST and Boot-loader, POST is used to check all other components are in working order, configured properly and connected to the correct ports before execution. Boot-loader searches installed storage devices to find the OS, when it finds the files the CPU will send it to the RAM in order to execute the OS program onto the screen. The bootloader is part of the operating system, each operating system has a different bootloader.The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is stored on the non volatile ROM chip which on startup is executed in RAM when the user inputs a certain key press, usually this is one of the F keys such as F10 or F3, this varies depending on the motherboard and ROM chip it contains. When the BIOS is executed it brings up a menu on screen which allows the user to pick boot options, manage storage devices, manage computer passwords, change the time and date, and also sometimes see the temperature and status of components which are connected.North Bridge: The north bridge communicates with the CPU and controls interactions with the memory through the Memory bus, it also deals with the data from the graphics card which is connected via the high-speed graphics bus, this bridge is faster than the South as it deals with the fastest data transferring components.South Bridge:The South Bridge deals with the external Super I/O ports which connect all the peripheral devices to the system unit. All this data transfers from the ports (USB, etc.), through the LPC bus into the south bridge which then sends it to the North bridge through the internal bus (which then transfers it to the required destination). The LPC bus is used to connect low-bandwidth devices to the CPU, such as the boot ROM, and the computer ports.CPU: The CPU is the brains of the computer. It executes a sequence of instructions called a program. It is responsible for executing every program and instruction it gets from different software and computer components. These instructions may be written in a programming language readable by a programmer at first but is translated into binary so the computer can read it and complete the instructions. The CPU holds registers which store instructions, data, and interprets results. The size of the registers effects the speed, power and capability of the CPU. The data stored is that needed for processing programs through it.The 5 main registers in the CPU are:The Accumulator Register is used for short-term, intermediate storage of arithmetic and logic data in a computer’s CPU.The Program Counting Register contains the address of the instructions being executed at that time. When each instruction gets fetched, the program counter increases its storage value by 1. After each instruction is fetched, the program counter finds the next instruction in the sequence. When the computer is restarted or reset, the program counter will be reverted back to 0 until more instructions are fetched.The Instruction Register is part of the CPU control unit which holds the current programs/instructions being decoded. Each instruction loads into the instruction register which holds it while it is decoded, prepared and ultimately executed, which can take several steps.The Memory Buffer Register stores the data being transferred to/back from the immediate access storage. It contains a copy of the designated memory locations which are specified by the memory address register. It works as a buffer which allows the processor and memory units to act on their own without being affected by differences within the operation.The Memory Data Register contains the data to be stored in the computer storage (e.g. RAM, Hard Drive), or the data being fetched from the computer storage. It acts like a buffer, so it holds anything that is copied from the memory so it is ready for the processor to use it.The control unit controls all parts of the computer as well as the transfer of data to other devices. The control unit also tells all the other parts of the CPU and all Input/Output devices how to deal with the instructions it receives from programs. It controls all this by producing timing and control signals which tell the other components what to do.The Arithmetic and Logic unit performs all calculations and complex operations (+, -, /, x, etc.). All complex operations are done by making repetitive operations within this unit. This operation data is loaded in from the input registers. Most modern and high spec CPUs contain very powerful and complex ALUs.The Fetch and Execute cycleAs the program counting register receives a clock pulse it will go down the list above completing each instruction, the 1001 and 1002 clock pulses is the retrieval and the temporary storage within the CPU before it is processed. Then clock pulse 1003 and 1004 tells the data to move forward into the memory buffer registers. The ALU then adds both the value of R1 and R2 (The memory buffer registers) together which in this case, the data will equal to 0110 which is then stored in the accumulator R0. The final step then completes the execution of the program when it is transferred over to RAM (1007) to run for the user.PSU: The PSU is connected to most components in the system unit as it helps to flow power through the system allowing each component to activate and work appropriately. Before it does this it must change the mains power (AC) into DC which is used by computer internal components. It is often measured in watts. It is essential that all the required wattage’s of the components in the system unit combined does not exceed the limit of the PSU. This is because if the combined total does, some of the components will not execute properly, meaning the system may not work at all, or may be lacking in power e.g. The graphics card may not turn on, meaning the integrated CPU graphics will replace that job.Heat sink: The heat sink helps to cool down the CPU so that it doesn’t get to hot and burn out. It sits on top of the CPU which has to have thermal past spread on it to allow heat conduction between the two components faster. Most active heat sinks include a fan whereas passive heat sinks do not. A Active heat sink uses power supplied by the power supply to run a fan as well as a radiator to cool down the CPU to a less hot temperature. Passive heat sinks however have no mechanical components and only utilise an aluminium-finned radiator which gets rid of the heat produced via convection.The radiator does however need air flow moving along their fins to work to the best efficiency. This would make it a Passive/Active Heat sink which is a great compromise for efficiency.SPECIALISED CARDSGPU: The GPU is used to help execute and display graphical processes on your monitor. It is essentially a one chip graphics processor which helps manage and enhance the performance of videos and graphics, which are attempting to be executed by the user or other programs. Some GPUs are built into the north bridge located on the motherboard and will use the memory sources around the motherboard (RAM) as a temporary storage area, these GPUs are a lot slower and will be poorer in performance. Depending on the bit-rate of the GPU, you can see a more/less variation of colours. The GPU takes data provided by the CPU and does a series of complex mathematical calculations which is essential for graphics rendering, an example of this would be when saving and rendering a photo in Photoshop, or when loading in terrain in a video game. Once the GPU finishes these calculations, it stores the pictures information in the cards video RAM, the information stored is data about each pixel, its colour and its place located on the screen. When it is time for the picture to be displayed on the monitor, the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) converts the information stored into an analog signal which the monitor can use. This final product is then sent up through the HDMI cable (or other) to the monitor to be displayed in millions of pixels.Another option to use with graphics cards is SLI. SLI allows the use of multiple graphics cards to create a single output picture. Multiple cards running at the same time will give the computer a greatly increased graphics processing power. Although SLI requires the graphics cards to be the exact same make and edition to work in unison, in this way.High performance Gaming PCs require very high spec graphics cards as they will be made to run and enhance the FPS and graphics when playing high motion video games, which require the most graphics processing out of all types of games. The more frames per second the GPU is able to run the games at, the better the experience for the user will be as they will experience less frame lag and freezing during high graphical game scenes.Sound Card:A sound card is an expansion card for the system unit which allows the user to plug in external speakers, earphones, or headphones in order to hear audio produced by programs open on the computer. Most computers have this, either built into their motherboard, or they have the sound card installed in an expansion slot.Sound cards have 2 main audio ports:Microphone Input Jack – The user can plug a microphone into this jack to allow for it to be recorded via computer software such as Audacity. It can also be used for live video/audio calls such as skype.Speaker/Headphone output- This is where the user can plug in a speaker to play audio out loud, or listen to audio via headphones singularly.BACKING STORAGEHard Drive:The hard drive is where all the files and the OS is stored. The number of files able to be stored on this depends on the amount and size of each file. When purchasing a hard drive, you need to take its access time into consideration as the access time sets how fast the files on the drive can be accessed. This can also affect the start-up time of the system unit and games or software. This component has a moving disk inside which makes noise when accessed and powered. The HD stores data magnetically on a disk within the drive via little Transducer heads which move along tracks on the disks transferring data which is being written and transferred onto the disk as binary which the computer can read. When data is being read from the Hard Drive the read-write arm swings side to side along the disk, once it finds the data needed, the binary code is transmitted through the coil on the arm too wherever it is needed in the system unit. When the disk is not active the read-write arm is off the disk, and static.When a user attempts to delete data off the Hard Drive the data does not get deleted instantly, instead the file allocation table marks the space where the file is, as free, then when more data is saved on the Hard Drive it will overwrite the previously deleted data.There are two different types of formatting:Low level Formatting – During this type of formatting, the read-write transducer lays out the track on the disk, for data to be stored on.High level Formatting – This type of formatting uses the file allocation table, to create partitions for data to be stored on the disk. SSD:An SSD is a storage device for files on your computer to be stored and read from, these files may be the OS or just simple image/video files. This storage type is optional to either replace the hard drive or go alongside it. Using this alongside the hard drive and only having the OS on it will allow the unit to have an exceptionally fast start-up time. The name Solid State Drive comes from the fact that there are no moving parts inside so does not make any noise and it’s completely solid unlike the HD which has a moving disk inside.SSDs are more expensive then the Hard Drive as they are newer and have not been developed as much as the Hard Drive. This means they have not found a cost effective method of producing these drives and also don’t come with a large storage capacity unless you pay a lot of extra money for the more developed makes such as Samsung.CONFIGURATION AND CONTROLLERSSATA:This controller wire connects the SSD and Hard Drive to the motherboard and the rest of the system. This is the most modern method of connecting storage devices to the main system. The system unit requires one of these wires per drive as each SATA lead has only one channel. This could be a positive for keeping the wires hidden as they will be much more flexible, although they will need more time dedicated to keeping them untangled. Slave and master drives are harder to setup with this method, but this can be simply edited in the BIOS load up screen.Positives over IDE:These are much thinner and less messy then IDE.Each Drive has its own channel, through a personal SATA cable connected to the Motherboard.Faster data transfer then IDE.IDE Ribbon:This ribbon cable connects the IDE controller (often located on the motherboard) to the drives. The IDE ribbon cable has two channels, IDE1 and IDE2. Each of these channels has a master and a slave drive attached to it. This means that there could be a maximum of 4 active drives at once. Usually system units have their main OS containing drive set as the master and have their Optical Drive or alternative hard drive set as the slave. INTERNAL MEMORYRAM:The RAM plugs straight into sockets on the motherboard. It is used to provide quick read and write access to the storage device in your system unit. This method of transfer is much quicker than getting the data directly from the storage device. Any program being run on the system, as well as the data being used by programs will be temporarily stored in this memory, this means that if the system has to many programs running at the same time, the RAM may not be able to hold them all. In this event the system will use a partition on the Hard Drive called the “Virtual Memory” to store the overflowing temporary data. If this process of swapping temporary data happens too often, you are at risk of not giving the system enough power to carry out the instructions, therefore forcing the system to crash.RAM is volatile so it only stores data and programs temporarily whilst the system has power. If the system crashes or loses power all the data in the RAM will be permanently lost unless it is stored for access on another drive (e.g. Hard Drive). Different types of RAM:DRAM – Dynamic RAM is a type of storage that is widely used as the main memory for a computer system. Dynamic RAM is a type of random-access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. DRAM is dynamic which means it needs to be refreshed and given a new electronic charge every few milliseconds to compensate for charge leaks from the capacitor. (Used for data or program code that a computer processor needs to function) SRAM – Static RAM stores data bits in its memory for as long as power is being supplied. Unlike dynamic RAM, which stores bits in cells, SRAM is not dynamic so it does not have to be periodically refreshed. (SRAM is used in the CPU)DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) – A DIMM is a module that contains one or several RAM chips on a small circuit board with pins that connect it to the computer motherboard. (Contains RAM and directly connects into the motherboard itself) DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate) – DDR utilizes both the rising and falling edge of the system clock, potentially doubling the speed of the memory. The Double Data Rate is self-explanatory, it just means that the RAM transfers twice as much data as the single data rate SDRAM does. DDR2 SDRAM – Its benefit over previous RAM types is its ability to control/operate the external data bus twice as fast as DDR SDRAM. The transfer rate of DDR2 can reach up to 800 MT/s with the improved I/O bus signal whereas DDR SDRAM is significantly slower. DDR3 SDRAM – DDR3 memory reduces 40% power consumption compared to DDR2. The transfer rate of DDR3 can be up to 1600 MT/s which is double DDR2. DDR3 also adds two new functions, Automatic Self-Refresh and Self-Refresh Temperature. They can make the memory control the refresh rate according to the temperature changes. DDR4 SDRAM – DDR4 SDRAM provides a lower operating voltage but a higher transfer rate. The transfer rate of DDR4 can be up to 3200 MT/s which is double the speed of DDR3. ROM:ROM is memory which can only be read and cant be edited by the user (Hence the name Read-only memory). It is non-volatile so it keeps its contents when the computer loses power. For example, the ROM chip on the motherboard stores the BIOS program for the startup as well as the firmware needed to use the motherboard. The ROM also stores the software and instructions needed by the computer to do data management tasks, to send instructions to other components, such as storage drives (Hard Drive, SSD), Optical drives, and the GPU.PORTSDisplay Port:A display port wire is used to connect the Graphics card or in some cases the motherboard to the monitor to display a picture in millions of pixels. This is not as recognised as the HDMI cable as it has been out for around 6 years less time so is less developed but has the potential to take over HDMI in the future market if recognised by consumers and manufacturers.There are 4 types of Display Port cable:The Passive Display Port cable supports extremely high data transfer rates which allow it to display an image of up to 3840×2160 Pixels but is limited to a length of 6 and a half feet. A Passive Copper Display Port cable can be up to 50 feet long and can carry and display an image of up to 2560×1600 Pixels.An active copper Display Port cable can support a 2560×1600 Pixel display for up to a 65 foot cable.The longest sustaining cable is the Fiber Display Port which can stretch to be hundreds of feet long without loss of image quality.Firewire Port:The fire wire cable and port was developed and invented by Apple. This wire is used to connect cameras and video recording equipment to the computer. It can transfer large amounts of data at a very quick speed (Up to 800 megabits per seconds). There are three variants of the Fire Wire, The 4 pin Fire Wire (400MB/S), the 6 pin Fire Wire(400MB/S) and the 9 pin Fire Wire(800MB/S). In the near future it is believed to become the superior transfer cable with a projected 3.2 GB/S data transfer speed, other manufacturers just need to overhaul the current outdated wire.INPUT PERIPHERALS3D mouse:A 3D mouse is a mouse which is specialized for editing in virtual 3D environments. It is used by programmers to aid in object designing for video games a different programs. It may also be used in graphics design for 3D sketches and also in product design for the planning stage of products such as engine parts . This works well with the 3D printer, as 3D designs you design with this mouse can get printed for use by the 3D printer.A lot of games controllers can also be classed as 3D mice such as the Wii Controller, and the PlayStation Move Controller. Graphics Tablet:The Graphics Tablet is an input device with a touch sensitive drawing surface which translates pressure occurrences into graphical content (Lines, and shapes) which is displayed on both the tablet screen and the monitor. This is essential for graphics designers creating cartoon sketches and other precise graphics work which is less easily done by mouse and more easily done physically drawn. Graphics tablets come in many different sizes, its active size is the area which detects physical occurrences from the users stylus. If you want to do the same amount of detail on a smaller tablet as the larger makes, the user will have to zoom in further and do smaller increments to complete this.OUTPUT PERIPHERALS3D Printer:A 3D printer is a printer which takes digital blueprints from files that you can design/create, or download on an 3D graphics websites. It takes these files and carves the blueprint out with a laser, taking a layer of the material away each time the laser passes over. The main materials which can be used with the 3D printer are; Acrylic; MDF; Plywood; CardBoard; Aluminium; Steel; and Stainless Steel. This method of printing products is not good for very detailed design as it can make the material very flimsy but it is good for the production of base designs. 3D printers are definitely not cheap, their prices can go up to 10s of thousands of pounds and may even reach £100000 for manufacturer mass production machines.Projector:The projector does the same thing as the monitor, display an image sent from the system unit, however the projector doesn’t display the picture on a screen, it displays the image with projected coloured light on a blank wall or in some cases a smart board (Used by schools).A projector is most used when watching a movie in a home cinema or they could be just used as a TV screen alternative as you do not have to pay for the screen itself so you can get a larger image for less price.Projectors come in all different resolutions with the best quality being 4K which is extremely expensive, the standard resolution is 1920×1080 which is still good quality but cannot display as much detail as it cant use as many pixels in its picture.Overall I can see that compatibility between components is a massive part that needs to be taken before purchasing a new part for a system. Components and peripheral devices are becoming much more powerful as years go on which is allowing games and programs to become more advanced in their graphics and rendering capabilities. There are many different ports which connect to different peripheral devices e.g. HDMI, Firewire, USB, etc