Lesson 1: The Three Stages of Computing
In this tutorial, we begin our study of computer hardware with a general overview of personal-computer design. We go on to define the hardware components that a computer professional can expect to encounter every day-the computer parts that you actually touch.
In this lesson, we discuss the three stages of computing and how they relate to the constituent parts that make up the modern personal computer.
After this lesson, you will be able to:
Estimated lesson time: 5 minutes
- Describe the three stages of computing.
A modern computer looks like a complicated device. It is constructed of many hardware components connected with what seem to be miles of interwoven wires. Despite this apparent complexity, however, a computer, just like a calculator, handles information in three stages: input, processing, and output. (See Figure 3.1.) Each piece of hardware can be classified in one (and sometimes two) of these three stages. We can also use these three stages to classify any aspect of a computer's operation or the function of any of its components. During the troubleshooting phase of a repair job, it is often useful to categorize a problem according to which of the three stages it occurs in.
Figure 3.1 Three stages of computing