CS 231 - Micro Electronics
Review for Second Test
The following questions are provided to help you study for the second
test. Do not expect to see these exact questions on the test.
- What is the difference between random access and serial access?
- How was memory generally set in early mainframe computers?
- What do we call the time that a CPU spends waiting for data from
a storage device?
- What is a track? What is a sector? What is a cylinder?
- How is a magnetic disk hard drive different from a solid state drive?
- How many bytes are typically held in a sector on a hard drive?
- What do we call the time needed to move a read/write head from one
track to another? What do we call the time needed to switch from the
head on one platter to the head on another platter?
- How is magnetic tape similar to magnetic disks? How are they different?
- What are the two data representing structures on optical disks usually
called? How are they read by computer devices?
- What is the difference between volatile and nonvolatile memory?
- What kind of RAM typically uses just transistors? What kind typically
uses transistors and capacitors? What is the advantage of one over the
- What is a bus?
- What devices communicate through the system bus?
- What devices communicate through the storage bus? What is the address
- What is a video bus? What is the advantage to having one?
- What is the memory bus? What does it connect?
- What is the control bus for?
- What is a bus clock? What is it used for?
- What is an I/O port? Why does the text call it a logical abstraction?
- How is an I/O port typically implemented on a workstation or a server?
- What is a buffer? How is it different from a cache? Why are buffers
and caches used from the perspective of a user?
- What can happen when a print job is sent to a printer that has an
insufficiently large buffer?
- What is a peripheral device? Why are some devices installed inside
the computer case still considered peripheral devices?
- How do CRT displays work?
- What is a color palette, with regard to video displays?
- How do LCD displays work?
- What are some reasons we no longer use CRT displays?
- What is the difference between raster and vector graphics?
- What do we call the process of representing a color by placing a mixture
of component color pixels close to each other on a display or on paper?
- What do we call the parts of an image that is produced on a display?
What do we generally call the parts of an image that is produced on
- How is sound generally represented in real life, as an analog or a
- How does sound need to be processed to be stored in computer files?
- Human speech is generally represented by sets of sounds instead of
letters when reproduced by a computer. What are these sounds called?
- What is lossy compression? Why is it used instead of lossless compression
in some cases?
- What is MIDI?
- What do we call a collection of characters that have a similar appearance,
which can be used on a display or sent to a printer?
- What do we call the measurement of the size of characters on an output
- What kind of scanner is used at a supermarket checkout? What kind
is used to read printed documents into editable files?
- What kind of light source is generally used by bar code scanners?
- What kind of printer uses an inked ribbon that is struck against paper?
- What kind of printer uses electrical charges to attract ink powder
to an image on paper?