Candidates should be able to describe the difference
between portable (including laptops/notebooks and palmtops) and
Types of Computer Systems:
Desktop computers -
these systems are mains powered and are typically used by home, office and
school users. They would typically consist of the computer itself (complete with hard disk drive and floppy disk
drive) and peripherals such as a screen, a mouse, a keyboard and a CD or
Advantages: Relatively cheap and easy to add expansion
cards, hard drives, memory etc.
Disadvantages: Can take up a lot of space and are not
Notebooks (laptops) - these are small (typically 30cm x 20cm),
light and easy to carry. The screen is on the inside top flap which
hinges open to show the keyboard and mouse controls. They are designed
to run on rechargeable batteries or the mains and can contain many of
the features available on a desktop computer. Touch pads or a button are
usually used to control the screen pointer.
Advantages: Portable due to their size and ability to run
Disadvantages: Expensive for their processing power
compared to desktop computers. You cannot use standard expansion
cards. Keyboards and screens not as good for extended usage.
& PDAs (personal digital assistants)
- These are small hand-held computers. They are usually supplied with
such as a diary, a contacts database, and some form of word
processor. Many now have email facilities and even spreadsheets and
databases. They either use a small keyboard or
a touch-sensitive screen and handwriting recognition software. They can be
linked to larger computers directly by cable or through a docking station or
using an infra-red link.
Advantages: Very portable due to their size and
ability to run on batteries.
Relatively expensive, limited expansion, non-keyboard versions can be slow
to input data.