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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Introduction to Computer Hardware
Module Code CA112
School School of Computing

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr. Monica WardOffice NumberL1.09
Level 1 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims
This modules aims to introduce students to: Computer Hardware in general; basic Computer Hardware concepts; basic Computer Hardware installation; Computer Hardware types and designs; Computer Hardware selection, deployment and management

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to..
  1. Describe the evolution of Computer Hardware;
  2. Interpret Computer Hardware specifications;
  3. Demonstrate basic Computer Hardware installation skills;
  4. Compare Computer Hardware types and designs;
  5. Relate Computer Hardware to suitable deployment contexts;
  6. Discuss the merits of particular Computer Hardware;
  7. Write reports recommending particular Computer Hardware options for specific contexts;
  8. Discuss the procedures for operating systems and devoice driver installation
  9. Explain how Computer Hardware should be managed within an organisation

Indicative Time Allowances
Lectures 24
Laboratories 24
Independent Learning Time 27

Total 75
Assume that a 5 credit module load represents approximately 75 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus
  • Computer Hardware overview: history (from vacuum tubes to present day machines); understanding how and why things have and continue to change; Moore''''''''s Law; overview of "small hardware" (about the insides of machines) and "big hardware" (how machines are put together and interfaced with the world).
  • Computer Hardware components and specification: : disk types (hard disk, internal/external disk, optical disk); size (bits, bytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes), speed (MHz, GHz), capacity, other features; basic terminology (e.g. RAM, ROM, cache, DDR2 SDRAM etc.); review of computer hardware suppliers'''''''' specifications (e.g. Toshiba, Dell, Sony, others)
  • Computer Hardware installation ("small hardware"): how to install hardware, working with external devices (e.g. printers), memory (e.g. flash cards, internal/external hard drives, USB memory); relationship between hardware and software; computer accessories (e.g. keyboards, mice, speakers, headphones, graphic cards, cameras); device drivers
  • Computer Hardware types: embedded, handheld, netbooks, notebooks, laptops, desktops, servers, mainframes, clusters, high-end machines
  • Computer Hardware usage contexts ("big hardware"): small, medium and large enterprises; non-traditional contexts; case studies in choosing machines and infrastructure for enterprises (including budget and data processing needs)
  • Computer hardware evaluation and acquisition, hardware management, Purchasing policy, procurement, maintenance (warranty, technical support), upgrading (when and how, cost-benefit analysis), decommissioning (wiping hard disks, WEE, recycling, disposing)
  • Basic computer systems security and protection - Disaster recovery, data protection, software licensing and computer viruses
Continuous Assessment30% Examination Weight70%
Indicative Reading List
Coursework Breakdown:      Outcomes addressed: All                                       Assessment date:   
5%     In-class questions        Ability to think on one’ feet                                    All semester            
10%   Computer-based quiz   Hardware knowledge                                           Week 3 or 4            
10%   Blog                              Accumulating Computer Hardware knowledge  All semester            
25%   Group assignment       Machine recommendation                                    Week 7 or 8
Programme or List of Programmes
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BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
ECBSc in Enterprise Computing
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)