Computing Hardware

Candidates should be able to define the term hardware and have an understanding of:

The Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Candidates should be able to:
  • state the purpose of the CPU
  • describe the function of the CPU as fetching and executing instructions stored in memory
  • explain how common characteristics of CPUs such as clock speed, cache size and number of cores affect their performance.

Binary Logic

Candidates should be able to:
  • explain why data is represented in computer systems in binary form
  • understand and produce simple logic diagrams using the operations NOT, AND and OR
  • produce a truth table from a given logic diagram.

Memory

Candidates should be able to:
  • describe the difference between RAM and ROM
  • explain the need for ROM in a computer system
  • describe the purpose of RAM in a computer system
  • explain how the amount of RAM in a personal computer affects the performance of the computer
  • explain the need for virtual memory
  • describe cache memory
  • describe flash memory
  • discuss how changes in memory technologies are leading to innovative computer designs.

Input and Output Devices

Candidates should be able to:
  • understand the need for input and output devices
  • describe suitable input devices for a wide range of computer controlled situations
  • describe suitable output devices for a wide range of computer controlled situations
  • discuss input and output devices for users with specific needs.

Secondary Storage

Candidates should be able to:
  • explain the need for secondary storage
  • describe common storage technologies such as optical, magnetic and solid state
  • select suitable storage devices and storage media for a given application and justify their choice using characteristics such as capacity, speed, portability, durability and reliability.

Revision Extras

The CPU


Binary Logic


Memory


Input and Output devices


Secondary Storage