Types of Computer - Shawlands Academy

Nat 4/5 Computing Science
Types of Computer and
Lesson Aims
By the end of this lesson:
 Pupils at Nat 4 level will be able to:
 Describe and use clock speed as an indicator of
 Pupils aiming for Nat 5 will be able to
 Describe the uses of embedded, smartphone,
laptop, desktop and supercomputers.
 Compare features of embedded, smartphone,
laptop, desktop and mainframe computers:
 Discuss the type and speed of processors
Nat 4/5
Clock Speed
 Clock
speed is the simplest measure of
 This
is the amount of operations that the
computer can perform in one second
Modern home CPU’s operate in the 2.4-3.2 GHz
This means at least 2,400,000,000 instructions per
Nat 4/5
Speed isn't everything
 Some
processors have 2, four or six cores
2,3,4,6, 8 or 16 cores are the usual options
 This
means that there are 2, 4 or 6 smaller
processors built into a single processor.
Each core can work on a single instruction
 The
faster the processor the more heat they
So which is better?
Dual core at 3.5Ghz or Quad core at 2.4Ghz?
Nat 4/5
Sometimes power is key
 Other
processors might need a very low
power usage
For example using in netbooks, mobile
phones or other portable devices.
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Apples and Oranges
 When
comparing performance it helps if the
processors are of similar type etc.
For example you cannot compare the clock
speed of a Dual Core processor to that of a Quad
core processor.
The fastest supercomputer only has a clock speed
of 1.6 Ghz (but it does have1,572,864 of them!)
 1.6
Pb of RAM might help too!
Nat 4/5
Types of Computer
 As
technology improves the types of
computer produced change.
 Social factors also change types of popular
For example laptop sales in the last few years
have surpassed desktops.
There are an increase in smart phones
 And
almost every piece of equipment will
have a computer ‘embedded’ inside it
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Different Types of Computer
 For
each type of system you need to identify:
The features of the computer system, a purpose for
each system, advantages and disadvantages for
each system.
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Moore's Law
 In
1965 the co-founder of Intel(Gordon Moore)
made a prediction that:
“The number of transistors incorporated in a chip
will approximately double every 24 months.”
 So
far this ‘law’ has held true but there are
physical limits that will be reached.
Current processors are manufactured using 32
nanometre transistors (switches)
Intel has developed transistors so small that
about 200 million of them could fit on the head of
a pin
Nat 4/5
You need to be familiar with the
following types of computers
Embedded, laptop, desktop,
supercomputer and smartphone
And compare them in terms of:
Type and speed of processor
Size of main memory
Backing storage
Input and output devices