Books describing how computers work

  1. I don't mean coding, but on a more fundamental and physical level. What happens in all the hardware of a computer that allows it to do all that it does and display it on your screen? Essentially, what happens in a computer that allows it to tell you that 1+1=2.

    I wasn't sure where to put this, so I apologize if it's in the wrong section.
  2. jcsd
  3. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Check out the HowStuffWorks website -- they have some pretty good introductory articles on this... :smile:
  4. I wanted the exact same goal when I knew nothing about computers and I achieved it by reading monographs. There were monographs explaining how specific computer components looked like and worked so I took a not working computer, opened it and began matching components with their descriptions. I can tell you it works wonders.

    But if you really want a book go for Digital Design. Once you are done with the exercises the way you see computers will definitely be different. I can give you my syllabus if you want for there are some exercises that are not worth doing. (Ignore the programming part)
  5. harborsparrow

    harborsparrow 403
    Gold Member

  6. This is where a 'Windows-type' interface is less beneficial. When I was Learning computers we had to do the math for the and/or logical gates etc. Point-and-click computer courses no longer (or rarely) teach this.
  7. You should look for books in:-
    1) Electronics
    2) Digital Design
    3) Computer System Organisation
  8. Greetings
    I, too, approach software from largely a hardware perspective probably because I learned electronics way back in analog days. When I needed to learn more about how computers function I bought a superb (and very large) book entitled The Hardware Bible. I found it eminently readable (even found it's way into the bathroom a few times) informative and completely fascinating in it's description of the evolution of computing hardware which has to include software since it is an integral part, thus making an for excellent in-depth view on an entire world and it's struggle to grow up.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2014
  9. Wikipedia is a good start, you can look up just about any component you want and get a fairly decent article on the mechanics of it. and if that does not hit the spot you can also look up their references at the bottom of the page.

  10. Could you hook me up with where you found those monographs?
  11. FWIW that link to Digital Design does not work.
  12. Assuming you are interested in the innards of the processor system itself:

    You could start with the wikipedia article

    Start clicking on links reading about specific sub categories, like microarchitecture.

    Also, there are MANY "free online computer architecture courses". I don't know which is best

    Or, search for "how does a computer work"
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