Updated April 6, 2023
Introduction to Microcomputer features
A microcomputer or a microcontroller is an electronic device with a central processing unit that is controlled by a microprocessor (CPU). Microcomputer was once a frequent word for personal computers, specifically for a class of compact digital computers using a single integrated semiconductor chip as the CPU. They also have read-only memory (ROM) and random access memory (RAM), input/output (I/O) ports, and a bus or system of linking wires, all of which are housed in a single device known as a motherboard. In this topic, we are going to learn about Microcomputer features.
Additional components in microcomputer systems include clocks, counters, and analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), among others. A microcomputer system can therefore range in size from a huge computer with hard drives, floppy discs, and printers to a single-chip embedded controller. Microcomputers now have more computing capacity than earlier computer generations’ mainframes, at a fraction of the cost. As a result, they’ve evolved into powerful networked professional workstations for corporate users.
A microprocessor normally fits into :
Embedded systems, which are permanently installed inside something and do not support direct human interaction but meet all other microcomputer characteristics;
Workstations were once referred to as more powerful personal computers used for specific applications.
Minicomputers, which are today known as mid-range servers;
Mainframes, which are now commonly referred to as huge servers by manufacturers;
Supercomputers and parallel processing systems.
Components of Micro-Computers
Looking at the components of a microcomputer can help us understand the components of the larger computers we use daily. If we consider a computer to be a manipulation device, the following are the basic components of a microcomputer:
Input Units: We can enter data into the computer via devices. The most common way to interact with a computer is via a keyboard and mouse. Mice, scanners, microphones, joysticks, and gamepads are examples of other equipment used primarily for gaming.
Output Units: Output Devices are how the modified data is returned to us. Video displays, printers, and speakers are all common examples.
Memory (Storing data): A chunk of the software is loaded from the hard drive into the considerably quicker memory (RAM). The data is written back to the hard disc when we save the tasks or leave the software.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) – Processor
The register file and the ALU make up the datapath.
A register is a type of storage device. It can be used to store data or a memory address during the execution of a command.
The ALU accepts data from the main memory and/or the register file and performs calculations computes and returns the results to the main memory or registers.
Decodes and supervises the execution of instructions in the control unit.
The Raspberry PI and the Arduino Uno are two popular microcomputers.
The Raspberry PI is a small computer that amateurs use to make things like animated LED displays. Another microprocessor is the Arduino, which is popular for home electronic projects such as squirrel monitors and light controllers.
Microcomputers are more valuable because of their many features, such as –
- Affordability: It is less expensive than a mainframe or supercomputer. It is more powerful than microcomputers and workstations but less powerful than mainframes or supercomputers. It is capable of performing multiple jobs at the same time.
2. Size: Microcomputers are available in a range of sizes and shapes for a variety of uses, such as handheld, notebook, laptop, tablet, portable, desktop, and floor-standing variants. They can also be classified as residential, personal, professional, workstation, or multiuser systems, depending on their intended usage. The majority of microcomputers are desktops that fit on an office desk or laptops for individuals who desire a portable computer.
3. It is used by a single person and does not require extensive trainings. (Used in every household) For the basic alphabet, punctuation marks, and Arabic numerals, almost all microcomputers follow the ASCII format; nevertheless, there is substantial variety for other designations, such as graphics characters and control characters.
4. Power consumption is reduced. It’s made up of single-process optimizations. The storage capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB).
5. Designed primarily for personal use
6. One integrated semiconductor chip is used. Simple microprocessor-based games, such as baseball, vehicle racing, and “Othello,” have been marketed by several toy companies. More advanced machines, such as Atari’s Video Computer System (USA), were created using a microchip.
7. Processing power is reduced. When compared to small computers, it is far slower in terms of speed and performance.
8. Reduce the amount of heat produced. Larger registers in newer microcomputers allow them to process 16 or 32 bits at a time.
9. Microcomputers are typically portable. Using standard microcomputers we can set up a real-time data gathering system.
10. On the microcomputer, a variety of software can be run. The IBM PC and Apple Macintosh are the most popular versions. Because the operating systems are different, programs created for IBM PCs will not operate on an Apple Macintosh, and vice versa.
Microcomputers are frequently utilised for both education and communications. Microcomputers include video game consoles, computerized devices, and cellphones in addition to laptops and desktop computers. Microcomputers have been utilised in the workplace for data and word processing, electronic spreadsheets, professional presentation and graphics programmes, electronic communications, and database management, among other things.
- The new release of Mini Computers includes :
- 2020 Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)
- Dell OptiPlex 9020 Small Form Computer Desktop PC, Intel Core i7 3.4GHz Processor
Microcomputers’ only drawback is that they don’t come with a DVD/CD player. Of course, you may use a USB-detachable player, but if you like to listen to CDs rather than use iTunes or Spotify, microcomputers may not be the best option for you.
Conclusion – Microcomputer features
As a result, microcomputers are an integral part of an integrated information system. Everyone has a microcomputer nowadays, and the majority of microcomputers are used. Graphics acceleration and other needed functions that were previously handled by separate chips or bulky cards have been absorbed into the CPU. The process progressed to the point that it is no longer possible to get any smaller. we need to allow some room for ports so we can plug in a few things.
This is a guide to Microcomputer features. Here we discuss the Components of Micro-Computers and Features along with the Applications. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –