De­vice in­ter­faces

Jamaica Gleaner - - YL - NATALEE A. JOHN­SON Con­trib­u­tor

GOOD DAY, stu­dents. This is les­son eight in our se­ries of lessons. In this week’s les­son, we will be look­ing at de­vice in­ter­faces as­so­ci­ated with stor­age, and the terms ‘fire wire’, ‘ex­pan­sion slots’ and ‘ports’. At the end of this les­son, you will be able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween three types of de­vice in­ter­faces, ex­pan­sion slots and ports.

DE­VICE IN­TER­FACES

The de­vice in­ter­faces that are com­monly as­so­ci­ated with stor­age de­vices are SCSI, IDE, HDMI, USB and SATA. Let us ex­am­ine each of these de­vice in­ter­faces.

SCSI

Acro­nym for Small Com­puter Sys­tem In­ter­face, or SCSI (pro­nounced scuzzy), is a set of stan­dards for phys­i­cally con­nect­ing and trans­fer­ring data be­tween com­put­ers and pe­riph­eral de­vices. SCSI is most com­monly used for hard disks and tape drives, but it can con­nect a wide range of other de­vices, in­clud­ing scan­ners and CD drives.

IDE

Acro­nym for In­tel­li­gent Drive Elec­tron­ics, or In­te­grated Drive Elec­tron­ics, is an in­ter­face for mass stor­age de­vices in which the con­troller is in­te­grated into the disk or CD-ROM drive.

SATA

Acro­nym for Se­rial Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy At­tach­ment, it is a com­puter bus pri­mar­ily de­signed for trans­fer of data be­tween a com­puter and mass stor­age de­vices, such as hard disk drives and op­ti­cal drives.

PORTS

Com­puter ports have many uses: to con­nect a mon­i­tor, we­b­cam, speak­ers, or other pe­riph­eral de­vices. On the phys­i­cal layer, a com­puter port is a spe­cial­ized out­let on a piece of equip­ment to which a plug or ca­ble con­nects. There are dif­fer­ent kinds of ports, such as par­al­lel, se­rial, USB ports and HDMI. Let us ex­am­ine each of these ports briefly.

1. USB

A univer­sal se­rial bus (USB) is a com­mon in­ter­face that en­ables com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween de­vices and host con­troller, such as a per­sonal com­puter. It con­nects pe­riph­eral de­vices, such as dig­i­tal cam­eras, key­boards, print­ers, scan­ners, me­dia de­vices, ex­ter­nal hard drives and flash drives.

2. FIRE WIRE

In ad­di­tion to the USB, fire wire (also called IEEE 1394) is an­other pop­u­lar con­nec­tor for adding pe­riph­er­als to your com­puter. Fire wire is most of­ten used to con­nect dig­i­tal cam­corders, ex­ter­nal hard drives and other de­vices that can ben­e­fit from the high trans­fer rates (up to 480 megabits per sec­ond) sup­ported by the Fire wire con­nec­tion. This port is thus used to trans­fer video im­ages from dig­i­tal de­vices.

3. HDMI

HDMI (HighDef­i­ni­tion Mul­ti­me­dia In­ter­face) is an ex­clu­sive au­dio/video in­ter­face for trans­fer­ring un­com­pressed video data and com­pressed or un­com­pressed dig­i­tal au­dio from an HDMI-com­pli­ant source de­vice, such as a dis­play con­troller, to a com­pat­i­ble com­puter mon­i­tor, video pro­jec­tor, dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion, etc.

4. PAR­AL­LEL

This is used mainly to con­nect print­ers, but can also be used to con­nect cer­tain scan­ners and ex­ter­nal hard disks.

5. SE­RIAL

This is used to con­nect cer­tain types of mouse, mo­dem and printer.

EX­PAN­SION SLOTS

Ex­pan­sion slots are typ­i­cally lo­cated on the moth­er­board which houses dif­fer­ent vi­tal parts, such as the pro­ces­sor and RAM. Ad­di­tion­ally, they also pro­vide con­nec­tions to other in­ter­nal pe­riph­eral de­vices. Such slots can be used for adding more mem­ory (RAM), graph­ics fa­cil­i­ties and other spe­cial de­vices. Typ­i­cal types of ex­pan­sion slots are PCI, PCI ex­press, AGP, ISA and RAM slots.

1. RAM SLOTS

The RAM chips are usu­ally in­serted in the RAM slots avail­able on the moth­er­board. The RAM chips can be eas­ily re­moved, re­placed and up­grade for speed pur­poses.

2. PCI

The Pe­riph­eral Com­po­nent In­ter­con­nect (PCI) slot is a slot for ex­pan­sion de­vices. Most desk­top com­put­ers come with sev­eral PCI ex­pan­sion slots. PCI slots are used for a va­ri­ety of de­vices, namely, modems, net­work cards, video cards, sound cards, etc.

3. AGP

Ac­cel­er­ated Graph­ics Port (AGP) is used mainly for the con­nec­tion of graphic cards.

4. PCI EX­PRESS SLOT

The PCI Ex­press slot, like the PCI slot, is used for ex­pan­sion cards. PCI Ex­press al­lows for higher trans­fer speeds than PCI and is, there­fore, pre­ferred for graphic cards. The PCI Ex­press has re­placed the Ac­cel­er­ated Graph­ics Port (AGP) in most com­put­ers as the pri­mary slot for graph­ics cards. Many newer pro­grams, such as Adobe’s pop­u­lar photo and video ed­i­tors, rely more on an ad­vanced graph­ics card to process data.

5. ISA

In­dus­try Stan­dard Ar­chi­tec­ture (ISA) is used pri­mar­ily for at­tach­ing modems and is not com­monly seen on most mod­ern com­put­ers.

We have come to the end of this les­son. See you next week. Re­mem­ber, if you fail to pre­pare, you pre­pare to fail.

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