Fifth Generation Computers Essay, Research Paper
Fifth Generation Computers
Ever since computers first came into production, they have been evolving. The Commodore 64 and Apple computers have dominated the very first computer market. Today, there are many companies in the computer industry fighting for technology supremacy. And since the beginning, every new generation of computers has dominatedover the old ones. When they first came out, each jump in technology took awhile, but nowadays, the technology changes daily. Fifth generation computers are overall much better than the previous generation.
The computer has progressed in many ways, but the most important improvement is the speed and operating capabilities. It was only around 6 years ago when a 386 DX2 processor was the fastest and most powerful CPU in the market. This processor could do a plethora of small tasks and still not be working to hard. Around 2-3 years ago, the Pentium came out, paving the way for new and faster computers. Intel was the most proficient in this area and came out with a range of processors from 66 MHz-166 Mhz. These processors are also now starting to become obsolete. Todays computers come equipped with 400-600 Mhz processors that can multi-task at an alarming rate. Intel has just started the release phase of it s new Pentium III-800MHz processor. Glenn Henry is
quoted to say Megahertz is all people care about and this is too true. Sys Technology recently came out with what they claim as the fastest commercially available PC . This computer runs at an astonishing 1000 Mhz or 1 Ghz. This computer is appropriately named the Cold-Fusion 1000 due to the KryoTech refrigeration unit that runs coolant through a pipe over the CPU to keep it at a cool -40 degrees Celsius. This computer is made for graphics creators and ultra serious gamers . This super computer will be available at the end of November for a steep price of $4299 American. Even as we speak, a new form opf processor is coming out that uses an Itanium chip made by Intel. But
don t expect it anytime soon, Itanium won t be relevant for PC s until 2003 at the earliest, more likely 2005.
The next major improvement is the memory of a computer. This includes the hard drive and the RAM. During the same generation as the 386, there was also the hard drive and RAM. But these two components were not much then. The hard drive was about 100-300 megabytes and the RAM was about 4 megabytes. This was enough for the 386 processor but even when the 486 came along, these could not hold up to the new standards. The hard drive was small and couldn t hold many big programs, and the RAM was slow when it came to unsaved information. In the fifth generation, these two memory items are at their best. Hard drives on new computer range from 13 to 20 gigabytes. These hard drives can hold numerous amounts of information and many big programs. The RAM has also made a jump to a higher level. Though the jump is not quite as much, it is significant since RAM takes care of the memory that is unsaved and still useful. The RAM now usually tops off at 128 megabytes. This can hold much information and makes for an extremely fast computer. Many new computer products that help the memory of a
computer have recently hit the market. A few examples of these are Iomega Zip and Jazz drives. These drives can hold either 100 megabytes of 1 gigabyte. These devices are great for transferring information from one computer to another without taking your whole computer with you. Also, there is a new product called the Digital Wallet. This device can hold from 4 gigabytes to 8. This device is much like the zip and jazz drive due to its fast processor and portable capabilities. These products are becoming much more popular and may one day take over the whole hard drive market. Also, included in this category are CD s and floppy disks. In the beginning, there were 5.25 inch floppy disks,
which were so big, they actually were floppy. These disks could hold very little memory. Next came along the 3.5 inch disks. These could hold around double the amount of information or 1.3 megabytes worth. These disks are still in production and one of the main tools used for transferring information. After the 3.5 floppy came the ever popular compact disk, or CD. A CD could hold different amounts of information but topping out around 650 megabytes. The computer industry soon started putting all information on CD s instead of floppy disks and CD ROMs became the new in thing. CD ROMs run at various speeds using a laser to read information. The speeds once ranged from 2x to 4x but in the current years, range from 10x to 30x. In the last couple years, CD writeables
have come out, allowing you to burn your own CD s full with whatever information you want on them. The next generation of CD s are out and are called DVD s. DVD discs can hold up to 2.4 gigabytes and will soon take over the CD and VHS industry. DVD has progressed much allowing much more information to be held on a disk. Dual sided disks are coming out which allow 9.4 gigabytes of information to be held on them. DVD will soon be as common as CD s and will someday take over the market.
The next major jump in computer technology has to be the extras such as monitor, modem, video and sound. Monitors used to be big and bulky, creating a hairy situation when needed to be moved. They had low screen resolution and most weren t in color. Today s monitors range from 14 inches to 21 inches and have very high resolutions, 1280 x 1024 pixels in fact. These monitors can be adjusted to different settings also. You can change the screen size, color and even degauss the screen (get rid of static electricity). Flat monitors have just recently came out on the market. These monitors are pretty much as they sound, flat. They stand up and are very convenient and lightweight for travelling. Modems have also come a long way since their beginning. It was only half a decade ago when 9600 and 14400 bps modems were the highest standards you could buy. These modems could do many things but one thing they couldn t do was transfer big files in a short amount of time. The fifth generation of modems range from 28.8 kbps to 56 kbps. These soon will also be obsolete do to the introduction of fiber optics phone lines which can transfer information at an unbelievable speed. Downloads that once would take hours, soon will only take minutes. Video and sounds have also improved. Video that once ran slow and were very grainy, have now become clear and run at a fast speed. Also, gaming video has improved using a 3D accelerator card. This card makes animated video look amazingly clear and crisp. Sounds have also improved using better speakers and better sound cards. Old sound used to be grainy and fuzzy while new sound is clear and in full
Fifth generation computers surpase the previous generation in all ways. Computer technology has a life span just as living things. Gerald Holzhammer compares today s computers to a tree, and says that people must prune 20 years of legacy 5 so it can grow and prosper. Someday, the fifth generation of computers will be out of date and a new generation will be coming in to take it s place. It is a continuous cycle, where the new always dominates over the old and it will not stop for anything.