7. System Compatibility. In the past, when you purchased a computer from a company, you
could only run their software. Now, most computers are classified as IBM-compatible, and the
majority of the software available is written for those systems. This gives you greater flexibility
with your system. For example, if you are using an IBM-compatible computer at your home,
your work, or at a library, all you would need to carry with you is your storage device with your
work on it (i.e., a diskette) and plug it in and go to work. However, if these systems were all non-
IBM compatible, you would have to carry around your computer with you.
8. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). CRT, refers to the output device commonly known as the
monitor. There are many types of CRTs available, but we will only focus on two: the
monochrome monitor and the VGA (Video Graphics Array) monitor. The monochrome monitor
outputs only one color (monochrome monitors are used with AFMIS). If color is not important,
then a monochrome monitor will suffice. On the other hand, if color were important for the type
of software you use (graphics, computer art) then a VGA monitor would better suit your needs.
A VGA monitor can display 16 to 256 colors, and with additional hardware (video cards), you
can have over 16 million colors. VGA monitors also vary in resolution. You will see advertised
monitors such as SVGA (Super VGA) and LTVGA (Ultra VGA). Each offers sharper pictures
to look at, not to mention higher prices.
9. Central Processing Unit (CPU). The CPU, in combination with the internal memory, serves
as the "brain" of the computer. When information is input into the system, the CPU stores it in
memory. Then the instructions that it receives are read from memory and followed logically one
step at a time. This information is written in a code that the computer can understand - the
binary code. It functions as a set of ones and zeros acting as on and off switches within the
a. CPU internal memory is classified as read-only memory (ROM) and random-access
memory (RAM) each explored as a given a unit of measurement. The measurement begins with
the binary code. One digit of the code is referred to as a bit (one bit of information). A group of
bits (normally 8) is referred to as a byte. One byte represents one character on your keyboard
and is the lowest number group the computer can process at one time. As the number of bytes
increase, a larger measurement is used. Such measurements include: kilobyte (KB) which is
equal to about one thousand bytes, megabyte (MB) which is equal to about one million bytes,
gigabyte (GB) which is equal to about one billion bytes, and terabyte (TB) which is equal to
about one million megabytes of information.
b. The ability to store these vast amounts of information on disks and compact disks (CDs)
means you can purchase as few as two disks with an entire encyclopedia on them or disks with
information found in the Library of Congress. Full-length motion picture movies with sound can
be played on your computer. You can store all your photos on CD instead of in an album and
view them on your computer. With the right software, you can touch up your photos and give
them professional quality.
10. Computing Speed / Megahertz (MHz). The CPU has an internal clock mechanism that
regulates the speed at which the microprocessor handles information (in the binary code). This