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Processors. Storage


Thecentral processing unit orCPU of a computer is amicroprocessor, based on a chip ormicrochip, a small pieceof silicon with a very large number of electronic circuits on it.

Silicon and the components made from it aresemiconductors.

PCs became possible only because chip manufacturers had managed to cram a simple version of a computer's central processing unit, the circuits that did most of the actual com­puting, on to a single chip. Appropriately, this was called a microprocessor.

Three developments made cheap chips possible: smaller circuits, fewer electronic com­ponents per circuit and bigger silicon wafers. Semiconductor engineers are still moving as fast as ever towards further miniaturisation.

One type of microprocessor is designed forRISC, standing forReduced Instruction Set Computing. This makes for faster processing. Academics at Stafford and Berkeley suggested simplifying the instructions and saving time on the business of breaking them down: this was reduced instruction set computing (RISC).

Data and instructions for processing it are held inmemoryonmemory chips.

Memory is of different kinds such asread-only memory orROM, random access memory orRAM, and others, as explained in the example.

Data can be stored in a variety of ways. The longer term storage on a personal com­puter is usually magnetic, in the form of ahard disk or hard drive.

If you want to make the world's most compact computer memory, perhaps the smallest thing you could use to represent a bit of information would be one electron. The capacity of memory chips has quadrupled and quadrupled again as the process of etching minute circuits onto silicon has been pushed further and further.

A personal computer contains two principal types of memory: ROM (for read-only mem­ory) which cannot be altered, and RAM, usually in the form of DRAM (for dynamic random access memory) which can be changed but loses all data if power stops.

This is another side-effect of using your PC regularly: the more you work, the more the storage on your hard disk gets distributed across the surface. Today's densest hard drives, which store tens of billions of bits, pack them about a thousandth of a millimetre apart.

Data may also be stored on removablecompact disks orCDs. A CD which can only be read by a computer, but to which data cannot be written, is aCD-ROM, short for 'compact disk read-only memory'.

Small, removablefloppy disks orfloppies are also used to store data, especially on PCs.

A card contains the circuitry needed for a particular computer function, such as graph­ics, sound, or even data storage.

According to developers, this new technology will make CDs, laser disks and CD-Roms outdated by the end the decade. The four firms have finally agreed on the standard for this high-density compact disk that can carry 4.7 gb of data on its five inches. If someone comes home from work or school with something interesting on a floppy, ask what it is before you give it hard-disk space on your machine. Floppy disks have always been cheap to make and relatively easy to copy.

The graphics card on Silicon Graphics' new workstation contains 18 million transistors, which the company claims can perform the equivalent work of hundreds of Pentium chips.


Word list

central processing unit (CPU)







memory chip

read-only memory =


random access memory =


hard disk (disc in British English)

hard drive

compact disk =

= CD



floppy disk


Exercise 1

Read the text and answer the following questions

1 What is the article about?

2 Why do PCs become possible?

3 What is a microprocessor? Can we call it a single semiconductor device?

4 What types of memory do you know?

5 Are there any new developments in the field of storing information?


Exercise 2

Comprehension check

Read the article again. Correct these false statements about processors and storage

1 Microprocessor is a central processing unit which is build as a metallic element with semiconductors characteristics

2 Chip is a tiny piece of silicon with one electronic circuit on it.

3 Semiconductors can’t make computers to be fast, small and cheap.

4 A personal computer doesn’t contain ROM or RAM memories.

5 There is no problem with DRAM memory as information is retained when power is removed.

6 One can hardly store information in floppies as they are very expensive and quite difficult to copy.

7 Pentium has declared about the graphic card which contains up to 10 millions transistors to perform specific computer functions.


Exercise 3

Indicate whether the following ideas are stated or not stated in the text.

1 Chips are small pieces of silicon which are non-metallic elements with a semiconductor characteristics.

2 The processor of a computer is printed on a chip.

3 The development of chip technology has revolutionized the computer field and moved towards computer miniaturization.

4 There are different types of memory.


5 RAM and DRAM memory has one disadvantage – it loses information when power stops.

6 CDs, CD-ROMs, floppy disks, cards, laser discs – are devices to store information.


Exercise 4

Say which statement best expresses the main idea of the text. Why do you eliminate the other choices?

1 Data can be stored in a variety of ways.

2 Types of memory a PC contains.

3 The possibility of storage on CDs.

4 The graphic card is far superior to other storage devices.

5 PCs became possible only because of semiconductors memory (or chip)


Exercise 5

Give the explanation to the following abbreviations









Exercise 6

Translate into Russian the words and definitions given in the text in italics


Exercise 7

The word 'instruction' has been omitted twice and the word 'instructions' three times from this article from The Economic. Where do they occur?



RISC Business


Although RISC machines have to use many to perform tasks that their rivals could manage with one, they compensate by executing simple very quickly. Several steps are re­quired to perform an in a microprocessor.

First an code is fetched from the memory. Then the microprocessor deciphers this se­quence of 0s and 1s to determine what it is being told to do. Then the results of the operation are stored.

To maintain order within the computer, these operations are performed in strict se­quence, synchronised to the ticking of a central clock. Simpler allow the clock to tick faster.

But me biggest gains come from taking advantage of simplicity to reorganise the flow of work through the chip.


Exercise 8

Read this article from the New Scientist and complete the table below about the devices described in the article. (The first line of the table has been com­pleted for you. If an item of information is not given in the article, put 'not mentioned' in the table.)

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 532

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