Digital Graphics and Computer Systems

Task 2

Functions of:

Input devices

  • Keyboard

This is a device used to input data. It contains keys that are pressed by a user to enter data or instructions into a computer. Keys found on a keyboard include numbers, alphabets, punctuation marks as well as other basic keys. Other enhanced keys that can be found on a keyboard include function keys, arrow keys, and some also have media control keys. Some keyboards connect to a computer through a cable or are wireless. Keyboards on smaller devices have a single key representing multiple characters (Gary & Misty, 2008).

  • Mouse

A mouse is a pointing device that is held by the hand for controlling the pointer movement. By pressing a button on the mouse an action can be performed. Previous mechanical mouse used have now been upgraded to optical mouse. A mouse can connect to a computer using a wire or it can be wireless.

A computer camera allows a user to capture video or still images. The camera can also be used for telephone calls over the internet. Digital or electronic cameras are also used and they store images or video that can be uploaded to a computer (Linda 2015).


  • Scanner

A scanner captures data directly to a computer from the source data. The source data is the original document such as invoices, order forms, brochures, photos or any other document containing data for processing. Most scanners have an optical character recognition (OCR) software that reads and converts text or images to electronic files (Gary & Misty, 2008).

Output devices

  • Monitor

A computer monitor is an electronic output device that displays data entered in a computer with the help of a video card. Monitors can be found in two types, the CRT and LCD. It is a visual display unit. Clarity of displayed images depends on the resolution of the screen, dot pitch, and the refresh rate (Anita 2010, 77).





  • Printer

An output device that produces text or images on a physical medium such as a paper. The printed information is referred to as hard copy and is a permanent form of output. There are impact and non-impact printers. There are also special purpose printers such as a label printer, photo printer, and large format printers (Gary & Misty, 2008).

  • Plotter

This is an output device used for vector graphics such as maps, graphs, and blueprints. Unlike printers, plotters use pens to draw accurate and continuous lines. However, plotters are slow but also expensive. There are two kinds of plotters, the flatbed and drum plotter (Goel, 2010).

Backing storage

  • USB memory sticks

This is a micro portable, compact, lightweight storage device. It is based on the universal service bus technology. It is used to transfer files and documents from one location to another. They are also used for storing data and come in different storage capacities such as 4GB, and 32GB. The memory stick can also be for backup purposes (Tci 2013, 17).

  • CD/DVD

A compact disk and a digital video disk are storage devices that use the laser technology to store data. For a computer to read from a CD or DVD it must have a drive. A DVD has a high capacity and can store data from 4.7 GB to 17 GB (Linda 2015).

  • Flash memory cards (e.g SD cards)

This is a type of solid-state storage device used for storing data, transporting data or as backup. This tiny memory card is used on devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, PDAs, music players, camcorders and even on PCs. They have high data transfer rates with low battery consumption (Tech 2006).

  • Portable hard drive

This is a magnetic hard disk that is outside a computer and is attached to the computer through a USB. It is used as a secondary storage, for backup, or to transport data. Some external hard disks have more storage space than internal hard disks. The portable hard drive has its own encasement.

Task 3 Explain functions of computer hardware components

Create a one page reference sheet to explain cabling:

A cable is a medium used in data transportation from one network device to another. There are different types of cables used in networks and the choice of cable to use depends on network size, topology, and protocol, among others (College 2013). Below are some cables and their descriptions:



Type of Cable Make Transmission rates Price Ease of Installation Security interference
Coaxial This cable has a single copper conductor wire at the center, a plastic layer for its insulation, a braided metal shield to block interference Depends on distance and size. It provides maximum transfer rates of 100Mbps. Not as expensive Difficult to install Relatively high resistance to signal interference
Optical Contains a glass or plastic core at the center surrounded by plastic coating, kevlar fibers and an outer insulation jacket. Depends on distance, cable diameter, and light source. Maximum transfer rates of 100Gbps or more. Expensive Difficult and requires proper training No interference
Twisted pair Contains wires inside a jacket that can be twisted or untwisted Varying data transfer rate depending on cable. cheap Not difficult to install Prone to interference but twisting provides more protection.


M1 compare the limitations of different hardware and software packages used in graphics work


Paint shop pro – has undergone a lot of changes from a simple shareware package for editing images to a powerful inexpensive program that is available in both standard and ultimate editions. It has less image-processing power and features than Photoshop. The most distinguishing feature is the ability to store original tools that enable restoring the original file if mistakes are made during editing.

Advantages – provides features similar to expensive software at a low price

  • Has powerful editing and effects tools
  • Has face recognition feature
  • Includes tutorials
  • Contains an assortment of vector drawing tools
  • User friendly and can be used by amateurs and the general public.
  • Allows for batch processing

Disadvantages – slow operations

  • Cluttered interface
  • Chromatic aberration removal is ineffective

Photoshop – this is a complex tool for professional graphic designers, photographers, and web designers (Lauren 2015). A distinguishing feature is the content-aware scaling that allows resizing of images without distorting the key content.

Advantages – the most widely used graphics software.

– Saves time editing images

– Improves a person’s skill as they continue to use it

– Enhance photos in a few clicks

Disadvantage – the interface can be confusing to users, especially new ones

  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space on the computer hard disk as well as RAM memory.
  • Not designed for beginners.

     Image viewers

An image viewer or browser displays images stored in a computer. They are able to perform some actions as well as handle different file formats.

Windows Live photo gallery – handles view functions such as full screen, fit, zoom, print and slide show. Other functions include adjusting brightness, rotating, face recognition, stitching, contrast, and color saturation.

FastStone Image viewer – apart from image viewing it is able to handle resizing, emailing, cropping, color adjustments, comparison among others.

Hardware used in graphic design

Random Access Memory (RAM) – this memory helps to reach any location in a short time once its address is specified. However, it has a volatile memory that means data is only held temporarily. It is an electronic chip made up of semiconductor material. Transistors on the RAM have individual storage cells that can “remember” some data as long as a computer is switched on (Dinesh). High capacity RAM is required for graphic design for better performance.

DDR2 RAM – this module can have a capacity of between 256MB to 4GB. This memory chip uses fine ball grid Array (FBGA). The speed of the chip ranges from 400 MHz to 800 MHz with a data bus of 64 bits.

DDR3 RAM – has speed of 800 MHz to 1666Hhz which reduces write time by half that of DDR2. It has optimal thermal sensor. Has high performance at lower power levels and also may have capacity of between 512 to 8 GB and 16 GB (Ten, 2008).


The choice of a processor depends on the intended use of a computer. Determining factors include the core, speed, cooling, price.

Intel Core i3-6100H

Has 3MB cache with a 2.7 GHz speed, two cores, four threads. It is considered cheap. Clock speed affects the amount of heat generated.

Intel Core i5-6440HQ

6 MB of cache, 2.6 GHz clock speed, quad core. Core i5 are more powerful than the i3 but it uses up more computer electricity.

File storage

Graphics use up a lot of space and this requires one to have enough storage space. It is also important to backup files in case of loss. External hard drives have large memory capacity.

Toughdrive – A durable hard drive with a silicone cover suitable for mobile computing as it has internal anti-shock mechanism that insulates the drive from shock. Contains an integrated USB cable, therefore, no extra connection cables are required. Powers through the USB and does not need an adapter. The storage device is available in different sizes such as 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

Transcend StoreJet 25M3 – A storage device with shock-resistant qualities, 5Gb speed and USB 3.0 bandwidth allowing for fast file transfers. It has a rubber anti-shock outer casing with an internal suspension system for the hard drive. Auto-backup is enabled by a one touch button and it also has encryption for the files and folders (Harrison 2015).

Input devices

Input devices for use in graphics aid in control and precision of a design. They provide better results and are easier to use than a mouse or a trackpad.

Graphic tablet – an input device for artists also called a digitizer. It contains a surface that is touch-sensitive for drawing that transfers the drawings to a monitor. There are many products such as Wacom tablets, PenPower, Vis tablet, Genius among others.

Smartpen – this is a ballpoint pen which has a computer embedded and also has a digital audio recorder. It is able to record what is written on a paper and transfer it to a computer.
























Anita Goel. Computer Fundamentals. (Noida: Pearson Education India, 2010), 77.

Andrew Harrison. 7 best portable hard drives 2015/2016.Available: Last accessed 29th November 2015.

College of Education. What is Network Cabling?. Available:, (2013).  Last accessed 29th November 2015.

Dinesh Thakur. Different Types of RAM? Explain in Detail. Available: Last accessed 29th November 2015.

Gary Shelly, Misty Vermaat. Input and Output. In: Alexandra Arnold Discovering Computers: Fundamentals. (5th ed. New York: Cengage Learning 2008), 165-197.

Lauren Treadwell. Corel Paint Shop Pro Vs. Adobe Photoshop. Available:, (2015).  Last accessed 29th November 2015.

Linda Lemley. Discovering Computers 2004. Available:, (2015), Last accessed 29th November 2015.

Memory Ten. DDR3 Memory. Available: (2008). Last accessed 29th November 2015.

Tci. Introduction to Computers and Application Software. (Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2013), 17.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: