Principles of Computer Hardware – 4th Edition
Principle of Computer Hardware is aimed at students taking an introductory course in electronics, computer science, or information technology. The approach is one of breadth before depth and we cover a wide range of topics under the general umbrella of computer hardware.
I have written Principles of Computer Hardware to achieve two goals. The first is to teach students the basic concepts on which the stored-program digital computer is founded. These include the representation and manipulation of information in binary form, the structure or architecture of a computer, the flow of information within a computer, and the exchange of information between its various peripherals. We answer the questions, ‘How does a computer work’, and ‘How is it organized?’ The second goal is to provide students with a foundation for further study. In particular, the elementary treatment of gates and Boolean algebra provides a basis for a second-level course in digital design, and the introduction to the CPU and assembly-language programming provides a basis for advanced courses on computer architecture/organization or microprocessor systems design.
This book is written for those with no previous knowledge of computer architecture. The only background information needed by the reader is an understanding of elementary algebra. Because students following a course in computer science or computer technology will also be studying a high-level language, we assume that the reader is familiar with the concepts underlying a high-level language.
When writing this book, I set myself three objectives. By adopting an informal style, I hope to increase the enthusiasm of students who may be put off by the formal approach of more traditional books. I have also tried to give students an insight into computer hardware by explaining why things are as they are, instead of presenting them with information to be learned and accepted without question. I have included subjects that would seem out of place in an elementary first-level course. Topics like advanced computer arithmetic, timing diagrams, and reliability have been included to show how the computer hardware of the real world often differs from that of the first-level course in which only the basics are taught. I’ve also broadened the range of topics normally found in first-level courses in computer hardware and provided sections introducing operating systems and local area networks, as these two topics are so intimately related to the hardware of the computer. Finally, I have discovered that stating a formula or a theory is not enough—many students like to see an actual application of the formula. Wherever possible I have provided examples.
Like most introductory books on computer architecture, I have chosen a specific microprocessor as a vehicle to illustrate some of the important concepts in computer architecture. The ideal computer architecture is rich in features and yet easy to understand without exposing the student to a steep learning curve. Some microprocessors have very complicated architectures that confront the students with too much fine detail early in their course. We use Motorola’s 68K microprocessor because it is easy to understand and incorporates many of the most important features of a high-performance architecture. This book isn’t designed to provide a practical assembly language programming course. It is intended only to illustrate the operation of a central processing unit by means of a typical assembly language. We also take a brief look at other microprocessors to show the range of computer architectures available.
You will see the words computer, CPU, processor, microprocessor, and microcomputer in this and other texts. The part of a computer that actually executes a program is called a CPU (central processing unit) or more simply a processor. A microprocessor is a CPU fabricated on a single chip of silicon. A computer that is constructed around a microprocessor can be called a microcomputer. To a certain extent, these terms are frequendy used interchangeably.
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