Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A general view on Microcomputer

A microcomputer is the majority often taken to mean a computer with a microprocessor (µP) as its CPU. An additional general characteristic of these computers is that they take up physically small amounts of space. Desktop computers, tablet PCs, video game consoles, laptop computers, and many types of handheld devices may all be considered examples of microcomputers consistent with this technical definition.

The majority of the equipment used by a microcomputer is closely integrated within a single case, although some equipment may be joined at short distances outside the case, for example monitors, keyboards, mice, etc. Generally, a microcomputer will not get much larger than can be put onto most tables or desks. By compare, bigger computers like mainframes, minicomputers, and supercomputers may take up some portion of a big cabinet or even an entire room. Most microcomputers provide only a single user at a time, but some, in the form of PCs and workstations running e.g. a UNIX (-like) operating system, may cater to numerous users concurrently. The µP does most of the job of calculating on and manipulating information that all computers do.

Along with the CPU, a microcomputer will come outfitted with at least one type of data storage, a very high-speed, volatile device known as RAM. While some microcomputers (particularly early 8-bit home micros) can carry out simple tasks using RAM alone, some form of secondary storage space is normally desirable.


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