Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
amounts of data. The price of a mainframe computer varies widely, from several hundred
thousand dollars to close to one million dollars.
The largest and fastest computers, called supercomputers , were ﬁ rst developed for
high-volume computing tasks such as weather prediction. Supercomputers, like the one
shown in Figure 3, are also used by large corporations and government agencies when
the tremendous volume of data would seriously delay processing on a mainframe
computer. Although its cost can be millions of dollars, a supercomputer’s processing speed is
so much faster than that of PCs and mainframes that the investment can be worthwhile.
Your initial recommendation to Elizabeth and Scott will be for them to purchase a
desktop PC because most daily tasks can be performed very efﬁ ciently using one without
a large initial investment. However, they might want to consider a notebook computer if
they think they will be working in locations other than the store. They also might want to
consider getting smartphones.
Every year, the lines between the types of computers are getting more blurry. Handheld
devices like smartphones are more powerful than the first notebook computers were,
and today’s desktop PCs are far more powerful than the mainframe computers of a few
decades ago. As new technologies are developed, consumers will need fewer and fewer
devices to accomplish their tasks.
A computer system includes computer hardware and software. Hardware refers to the
physical components of a computer. Software refers to the intangible components of a
computer system, particularly the programs , or lists of instructions, the computer needs
to perform a speciﬁ c task. You can use word processing software to type memos, letters,
and reports. You can use accounting software to maintain information about what
customers owe you, display a graph showing the timing of customer payments, or keep track
of your personal ﬁ nances.
The design and construction of the hardware of a particular computer is referred to as
its architecture or conﬁ guration . A computer system might be conﬁ gured to include a