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1.1 Explain different types of computer systems.

Computer Systems

Unit Reference Number


Unit Title

Computer Systems

Unit Level


Number of Credits


Total Qualification Time (TQT)


Guided Learning Hours (GLH)


Mandatory / Optional


Sector Subject Area (SSA)

14.1 Foundations for learning and life

Unit Grading Structure

Pass / Fail

Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce learners to the basic hardware and software components that make up computer systems and for learners to carry out basic installation and configuration. This unit is designed to assist learners to understand the basic components of computer systems and how they are adapted to individual needs.

Learning Outcomes, Assessment Criteria and Indicative Content

Learning Outcomes – The learner will:

Assessment Criteria – The learner can:

Indicative contents

1. Understand the purpose of computer systems.

1.1 Explain different types of computer systems.

1.2 Evaluate the role of computer systems in different environments.

1.3 Identify a range of computer systems that you use.

  • Computer system: types Personal Computer (PC), laptop, netbook, smartphone, smartwatch, games consoles, tablet, server, IoTs
  • Environment: Manufacturing, production, home, office, education, medical, pharmaceutical, retail, sports etc.
  • Personal use

2. Understand computer system components.

2.1 Discuss the common Hardware components of a computer system

2.2 Discuss the common Software components of a computer system

  • Hardware components: The Arithmetic and Logic Unit; ALU, Control Unit and Registers (Program Counter; PC, Accumulator; ACC,





2.3 Evaluate the differences between open source and closed source software.

Memory Address Register; MAR, Memory Data Register; MDR, Current Instruction Register; CIR). Storage devices: hard disk drive, ROM, flash drive, DVD/ Blu-ray Disc (BD).

Input devices: touch screen, graphics tablet, gaming controller, microphone, mouse, keyboard.

Output devices: printer, monitor, sound. Computer network connectivity: 3G, Wireless, Bluetooth, NIC.

  • Software components: System software, Applications software, Software utilities.
  • Open source vs closed source

Pricing, availability, scope of engagement, structures, codes, platforms.

3. Be able to configure computer systems.

3.1 Analyse different operating systems and their suitability in managing resources in a professional environment.

3.2 Describe the characteristics of different styles of computer system users.

3.3 Evaluate suitable components to meet user requirements within a professional environment.

3.4 Configure a computer system for a given user requirement.

  • Operating systems: Microsoft Windows (like Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP), Apple`s macOS (formerly OS X), Chrome OS, Linux, Unix, Ubuntu etc.
  • System users: describe the characteristics of different styles of user interface, command- based, forms, dialogue, natural language, wimp interfaces (windows, icons, menus, pointer), and their appropriate uses.
  • Requirements: users eg office, home; tasks eg data recording, photo/video editing, media.
  • Home, Business, Networking, Real-time, Communication. 1.1 Explain different types of computer systems.

Systems software: eg operating systems, systems software tools, diagnostic tools, file managers, disk utilities, back up, synchronisation; network connections eg workgroups, email, ftp.

Applications software: office applications





software eg word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, graphics, web browser, email client

Utilities: clean up tools eg for cookies, internet history, defragmentation; drive formatting; antivirus, adblocker

Connect and set up: equipment eg monitor, printer, modem/router, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, RAM, hard drive

Install hardware: components eg graphics card, sound card, CD/DVD drive

Install software: operating system software eg Windows; applications software eg Microsoft Office; security software eg virus checkers, firewalls; device drivers; create appropriate directory/folder structures; other devices eg tablets / phones use other operating systems. 1.1 Explain different types of computer systems.


To achieve a ‘pass’ for this unit, learners must provide evidence to demonstrate that they have fulfilled all the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by all assessment criteria.

Learning Outcomes to be met

Assessment criteria to be covered

Type of assessment

Word count (approx. length)

All 1 to 3

All AC under LO 1 to 3


3000 words

Indicative Reading list

  • Nisan, N. (2020). The Elements of Computing Systems : building a modern computer from first principles. MIT Press.
  • Bryant, R.E. and O’Hallaron, D.R. (2016). Computer systems : a programmer’s perspective. Boston: Pearson. 1.1 Explain different types of computer systems.

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