1  Types and components of computer systems 

Candidates should be able to: 

1.1 hardware and software • define hardware as consisting of physical components of a computer system • identify internal hardware devices (e.g. processor, motherboards, random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), video cards, sound cards and internal hard disk drives) • identify external hardware devices and peripherals (such as monitors, keyboards, mice, keyboards, printers as input and output devices and external storage devices in general) • define software as programs for controlling the operation of a computer or processing of electronic data • identify the two types of software – applications software and system software • define applications software (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, database management systems, control software, measuring software, applets and apps, photo-editing software, videoediting software, graphics manipulation software) • define system software (e.g. compilers, linkers, device drivers, operating systems and utilities)

1.2 the main components of computer systems • describe the central processing unit including its role • describe internal memory, i.e. ROM and RAM and the differences between them • define input and output devices and describe the difference between them • define secondary/backing storage

1.3 operating systems • define and describe operating systems which contain a Command Line Interface (CLI) • define and describe operating systems which contain a Graphical User Interface (GUI) • describe the differences, including the benefits and drawbacks, between operating systems which contain a CLI and those which contain a GUI

1.4 types of computer • describe the characteristics of a personal/desktop computer and its uses, both as a standalone and networked computer • describe the characteristics of a laptop computer and what it is used for, both as a standalone and networked computer • describe the characteristics of a tablet computer and what it is used for, including its ability to use wireless technology or 3G/4G technology

describe the computer characteristics of a smartphone and what it is used for in computing terms • describe the advantages and disadvantages of each type of computer (as above) in comparison with the others (as above)

1.5 impact of emerging technologies • describe how emerging technologies are having an impact on everyday life (e.g. artificial intelligence, biometrics, vision enhancement, robotics, quantum cryptography, computerassisted translation, 3D and holographic imaging, virtual reality)