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Understanding computer architecture

  1. Apr 20, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a hardware board which supports PC/104 and when i am going through the manual i found a lot of unknown terms like you can configure your PC/104 based board as memory mapped or I/O based and for that you have to do settings in the BIOS or some jumper settings on the board and so on which confused me a lot. so, i wanted to learn the computer architecture first i want to know everything about computer. could somebody please suggest me the starting point for this.

    thanks in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey satya77.

    My guess is that you can configure it by an external I/O device like an old serial or parallel bus or the new universal serial bus connections: something along those lines. I'm guessing memory-mapped settings is done by configuring some kind of on-board memory.

    Jumper settings refer to little pins which activate particular circuits which set parameters for the board. In the old days people had to actually set quite a few jumper settings but nowadays most people don't unless they are computer technicians or people trying to overclock their PC's. If you see a pair of pins with a plastic thing that slots over both of them, this is an example of a jumper.

    What I would do is read your manual to find out what the jumpers correspond to and see what kind of I/O support you have for programming the board and the type of interface you have: it will say something like RS-232, USB I, USB-II, LPT and so on unless it's another kind of I/O device that connects to some other hardware that is not a normal PC.

    Since you said you purchased a board, I imagine the computer connects to the board via the hardware interface which means that you should have a device driver and software to communicate with the board. The software might not be something with a UI, but as long as you can upload/download data and get a decent level of feedback and control, this is what you will need to look at.

    So in conclusion, read your board manual for jumper settings and configuring I/O, read the hardware documentation for setting up I/O exchange with the board and read the board manual for how to program the on-board memory component if you can program it.
  4. Apr 20, 2012 #3


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    Homework Helper

    Wiki article:


    I/O mapping would require you use I/O (port based) instructions to access the components on the PC/104 card. Memory mapping would use memory based instructions to access the components on the PC/104 card instead. This is probably done via jumpers on the PC/104, cards. I'm not sure how the BIOS on a PC/104 system works. I would assume that most standard I/O functions, such as keyboard port, serial port, ..., are all I/O mapped, and only memory on each board would be memory mapped.
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