How Computers Function in Computer Architecture


A computer system is a device that takes data, processes it, returns results and stores it. All of these tasks are essential to a computer’s functionality.

In computer architecture, each function has a set of devices that perform the task in various ways. These devices include memory, input devices, output devices, and storage devices.


Memory is the electronic holding place for the instructions and data a computer needs to reach quickly. Without it, a device would not be able to process tasks and run programs.

There are several types of memory available in modern computers. These include semiconductor memory, which is made up of integrated circuits that contain silicon-based metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) transistors.

Cache memory is also commonly used in computers. It is a temporary storage area that is faster and less expensive than the main memory source of a computer.

Secondary storage is also an important part of computer architecture. This type of memory is non-volatile and stores information even when power is switched off.

The main memory, called RAM, is located on the CPU chip or a separate chip with a bus interconnecting with the processor. The CPU can access the primary memory through the registers on its own chip or via a secondary storage system, such as a hard drive or a paging file.

Input Devices

An input device is a device that receives data and transmits it to a computer system. It is responsible for supplying program and data to the computer’s main memory, which then processes the information and stores it in the memory for future use.

The most basic input devices are the keyboard and mouse, which allow a user to type alphanumeric characters, symbols and simple commands into the computer. The performance of these devices depends on their sensitivity, resolution, and pressure sensitivity.

Input devices can also include a light pen, which is a pointing device that is used to select menu items or draw on the monitor screen. The light pen uses a photocell sensing element to detect the position of a cursor on the screen and sends the signal to the CPU.

Input devices are a necessary part of the computer architecture, as they make it possible for users to communicate with the computer. Without them, the computer would be unable to perform its functions.

Output Devices

Output devices function in computer architecture to transform processed data from a computer into human-readable form. They either display the results on a screen or print it onto paper.

A monitor, for example, forms images by converting electrical energy into light in the form of tiny dots called pixels that are displayed on a digital screen. A printer can also be used to create printed documents or diagrams.

Another type of output device is a projector, which allows users to project a visual image from a computer on to a large screen. This is useful for giving presentations or teaching.

Other types of output devices include haptic feedback, which uses motion or force to convey information. This is used in a number of different applications, from smartphones to gaming controllers.

Storage Devices

Storage devices are hardware components that are connected to a computer or a server to store data and instructions. These devices are essential in computer architecture as they help computers function and run applications and tasks.

They are categorized by their distance from the processor or CPU (and other computers). The closest storage is memory, or RAM.

Secondary storage devices are not directly accessible by the CPU, and include USB storage devices, optical disk drives, floppy disks, hard disks and SSDs.

Tertiary storage devices are used to archive rarely accessed information. These are typically accessed without human intervention, such as magnetic tape or optical jukeboxes.

Most of the current storage devices, including SSDs and flash memories, provide random access, meaning that every piece of information can be accessed at any time in approximately the same amount of time. Unlike traditional spinning hard disk drives, these have no mechanical parts that need to be moved or read, so the latency is much lower.

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