By Roger Carter (Auth.)
This revised version, brings details know-how brand new on and software program, platforms and purposes
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Additional resources for Students' Guide to Information Technology
Different software programs enable the computer to be used for different tasks. A microprocessor is a complex electrical circuit etched on a sliver of silicon. It contains thousands of transistors, which act as electrically operated switches. These transistors are organized into logic gates, which are able to perform the logical operations AND, OR, and NOT, and logic gates are organized into more complex circuits such as half-adders, which perform arithmetical calculations. This is why microprocessors can be used in IT devices such as calculators and computers.
The design of RISC chips is such that the frequently-used instructions are carried out very rapidly, far faster than on conventional chips. ) 29 Students Guide to Information Technology The first microcomputer using RISC technology was the Acorn Archimedes, launched in Britain in 1987. Costing under £1,000, this machine ran several times faster than other temporary microcomputers, and was able to run applications involving intensive processing, such as graphics applications, at a speed never before seen in computers in this price range.
Today, it seems paltry. In the mid-1980s IBM produced a more advanced version of the PC called the AT. This boasted the latest 32-bit 80286 chip which was capable, in theory, of accessing many Megabytes of memory (32 Mb in fact). Unfortunately, the operating system used on PCs limited it to 640K (see Chapter 4), and in any case the chip itself turned out to be 'brain damaged' and not capable of fulfilling these expectations. Today, the much more powerful 80386 and 80486 chips are with us, with none of these memory limitations.