Free «Computer Systems» Essay Sample

What are the criteria that define a Von Neumann architecture? How does the example of entering and adding two numbers illustrate each of the criteria?

Von Neumann architecture uses a simple criterion that consist a CPU and an ALU. The CPU has an in-built set of instructions that interprets what the memory holds as per the fetch-execute cycle. The ALU stores all instructions and data that are exploited by the CPU in the RAM, ROM or other memory devices. For instance the CPU fetches two numbers from the ALU and, using its in-built set of operations conducts the operation. If one f the numbers is equal to zero, then the CPU applies conditional branching.

Discuss the differences between primary storage and secondary.

The most crucial difference between the two storage media is how the CPU accesses and uses them. However, this does not limit the differences to that. For the primary storage, the CPU has a direct access to it since it’s the main memory where the operating system resides and operates from. On the other hand, the CPU lacks an option of direct access to the secondary storage since its an external storage.

The primary storage of a computer is its RAM, while its secondary storage includes CDROMs, floppy disk drives and flash disks. Primary storages are temporal and expensive, though small in size. On the other hand, secondary storage is permanent, cheaper and larger.

On connection to the CPU, the primary storages is made possible by use of data buses while the secondary storages are connected to the CPU by use f data cables.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of solid state hard drives?

A solid state drive (SSD) is a computer storage drive that uses the flash memory chips, for instance, as in memory cards and USB drives. Such a technology has as many disadvantages as its advantages, countering its adoption and application.

Some of its major advantages include its durability. A SSD does not have so many moving parts as a HDD. On this basis, it’s less prone to loss of data in case the device happens to scratch or gets damaged. This hard drive also has a better computer performance attributed to its faster speed in reading and writing, since one does not wait for the motor as in a mechanical drive. It has resistance to disk fragmentation effects and the ability to reboot at a very fast rate since it does not spin to be ready.

Another advantage of a SSD is its nature of deleting data completely since newly added data is overwritten on the very tracks that the previous data was. This hard drive also produces less noise since it’s entirely silent. It also consumes less power and produces less heat on operation.

All said, a SSD seems to be such a good technology; however, it also has its shortcomings. Key to this is its costly nature. These drives cost so much as opposed to their HDD equivalents. This storage media, however, suffers a limited storage capacity due to their complex production processes and unavailability.

SSD also has a rather slow speed when writing, though this has to do with the quality of media acquired. Most commonly known, the MLC types of SSDs are the slowest type. SSDs are also a rather new technology in the market hence, do not work on so many operating system platforms that may not be compatible to them. In regard to this, SSDs have an unknown life expectancy and have a less ability to recover lost data.

Virtualization is a concept that has taken on major importance in the early twenty-first century. Explain what is meant by virtualization and in particular consider virtual servers and virtual storage.


Virtualization is a technology that allows for integration and use of resources from diverse networks into single use. These devices that are in a network are managed from one place, though so much time consuming. Storage virtualization allows for backup services, recovery and making the technology less complex. As concerns servers, virtualization is all about hiding the complex processes that make networking possible from the users. This also allows for scalability in the network environment.

What is the difference between volatile and non-volatile memory? Is RAM volatile or non-volatile? Is ROM volatile or non-volatile? 

There is one major difference between volatile and non-volatile memory. This has to do with its ability to either keep or lose data when there are power interruptions. In volatile memory, data that was not saved is lost when a computer reboots. An example of such is the RAM. On the other hand, non-volatile memory keeps data even when there are power interruptions, providing for recovered versions of the data. ROM is a non-volatile memory. 

Explain how direct memory access works.

Direct memory access is a technology that allows for independent access to the memory without involving the CPU. However, this technology is somehow obsolete since it depended on the fact that there could be different buses for read and write and for input and output. This eliminates the need for a controller to transfer data between the memory and the devices.

It is common to represent network connections in IT systems as a cloud. The cloud is obviously an abstraction. What does the cloud abstraction actually represent? 

An abstract is a summary of the details of a paper or any other thing. Abstraction in the cloud represents how much the technology summarizes its complexities to present itself as a rather simple technology. The users of the cloud are innocent of the many complex procedures that make the cloud possible since they are only aware of the services, and not the procedures.


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