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Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

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Chapter 21. Get on the Bus

The processor is certainly the most important component of a computer, but it's not the only component. A computer also requires random access memory (RAM) that contains machine-code instructions for the processor to execute. The computer must also include some way for those instructions to get into RAM (an input device) and some way for the results of the program to be observed (an output device). As you'll also recall, RAM is volatile—it loses its contents when the power is turned off. So another useful component of a computer is a long-term storage device that can retain code and data when the computer is turned off.

All the integrated circuits that make up a complete computer must be mounted on circuit boards. In ...

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