Introduction To Peripherals - eduBuzz.org Learning Network

Introduction To Peripherals - eduBuzz.org Learning Network
Introduction To Peripherals
A peripheral is a device that can be attached to the computer processor. Peripheral devices can be external, such as
a mouse, keyboard, printer, monitor or scanner. Peripheral devices can also be internal, such as a CD-ROM drive,
DVD-R drive or modem.
Devices are usually classified as input, output or backing storage devices.
Input Devices
Input can take a variety of forms, from commands you enter from
the keyboard to data from another computer or device. A device
that feeds data into a computer processor is called an input device.
Examples of common input devices are:
keyboards, mouse, joystick, microphone and scanner
Output Devices
Output can also appear in a variety of forms - text, video, graphics, and
so on. A device that shows data from a computer processor is an output
device. Examples of common output devices are:
monitors, laser printers, ink jet printers, speakers and headphones
Backing Storage Devices
Backing storage is a device which holds and retains data. These devices allow the user to
save data in a more permanent way than RAM so that data is not lost and may be used at a
later time. Examples of common backing storage devices are:
hard disk drive, floppy disk drive, CD-RW drive, flash memory and DVD-RAM drives
Different Types Of Devices
There are various types of input, output and backing storage devices that are being
produced by many different manufacturers. Each type of device has its own
characteristics. Some devices are:
faster at transmitting data;
can store more data;
are more accurate;
are smaller in physical size and hence portable;
are cheaper, don’t need cables to connect to the computer etc.
So which one do you choose? Basically it all depends upon what the user requires the device to do and how much
money there is to spend.
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.1
Input Devices - Keyboards
A keyboard consists of a set of keys representing the alphabet and numbers. The keys are usually laid out in
QWERTY style which originates from typewriters.
How does it work?
The pressing of a key results in the generation, within the keyboard, of an 8-bit binary word, representing the
character on the pressed key. This binary pattern is usually in ASCII code. The ASCII code for the chosen
character is sent out from the keyboard using serial data transmission.
In serial data transmission, a data word is sent one bit at a time, with the whole word being made up of a time
sequence of 1's and 0's on a single line. This contrasts with the parallel data format used on the internal buses of a
processor where each bit of a word is present at the same time on its own line.
The interface needs to store the received character from the keyboard until the processor is ready to accept it.
Since a key can be pressed at any time, the processor could be busy
performing other functions at the instant when the character is ready in
the interface, and so the data must be stored there to await transfer to the
processor.
Some activities may involve the need for using a keyboard which is laid
out differently from the conventional keyboard. For example the layout
may be modified to be more ergonomic in its style. A number of
different styles have been experimented with to try and group the keys in
alternative ways. Most have incorporated some form of wrist rest to
address the issue of repetitive strain injury (RSI) which is experienced
by some typists. It may also be laid out to allow access for those with some form of disability.
Capacity
Generally speaking a keyboard will not have any internal buffering. This will be carried out at the interface which
is usually in the computer.
Speed
The speed of a modified keyboard will generally be the same as a conventional keyboard. A serial connection
from the keyboard will take each keystroke and feed it to the interface which will have a buffer.
Cost
The cost of keyboards can vary considerably depending on the particular modification.
Examples
i-Friend PS2 Keyboard
A4TECH RFKB-5CC Wireless
MicroSoft Natural Multimedia
Logitech Cordless Desktop MX
Cost
£2.50
£15.00
£31.85
£75.00
Compatibility
Keyboards can be connected to computer systems depending upon the Operating System of the computer and the
interface used. Some keyboards use wireless technology so that the keyboard does not need a physical connection
to the computer.
Example
Logitech Cordless Desktop MX
High Performance RF digital radio technology
PS2 interface for mouse and keyboard or USB for use with Macs
Supports Windows 98/ME/XP/NT4 (not USB) or Mac OS X
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.2
Input Devices - Pointers
Pointing devices have become increasingly important with the introduction of GUI and WIMP operating systems.
Originally used with graphics packages they are now used with almost every type of package.
Pointing devices take the forms of trackerball, joystick and mouse.
Trackerballs are used on laptops or by people who may have difficulty moving their fingers. A
large ball is rotated at the top of the device and the user’s palm turns the ball and hence the
pointer on screen. (Trackerballs have mostly been replaced by trackpads on laptops.)
Joysticks are usually related to game playing. They offer the user quick reaction to
tasks that are happening on screen.
The mouse is still the most common pointer. It is still the main input device used with
computers at home and in the workplace. The mouse allows the user to point and
click on items on the screen.
How does a pointer work?
There are 2 different ways a pointer can operate. It can be a ball mechanism or optical operation using infra-red.
As the ball or light inside the mouse is moved it sends signals to the computer moving the position of the pointer
on the screen. When the pointer is in the correct position a button on the device can be pressed to tell the computer
that you wish to access that information.
Capacity
The mouse will feed the data straight to the processor so no buffering is required.
Speed
The speed of the pointer's movement on the screen can be controlled by the computer's Operating System. The
user can change the speed to suit his/her needs. This is a great advantage for those who have poor eyesight.
Cost
The cost of mice, joysticks and trackerballs can vary considerably.
Examples
Genius Easy Mouse - Pro
BELKEN USB/PS2 Optical Mouse
Keytools Upright Ergonomic Mouse
Keytools BIGTrack
Cost
£2.99
£15.00
£49.00
£55.00
Compatibility
Pointers can be connected to computer systems depending upon the Operating System of the computer and the
interface used. Some pointers use wireless technology so that the pointer does not need a physical connection to
the computer.
Example
BELKEN USB/PS2 Optical Mouse
USB 1.x and PS2 connections
Supports Windows 98/2000/ME/XP
Higher Computing Systems – Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.3
Input Devices - Scanners
A scanner is a digitiser as it converts graphics and text information into digital form.
Modern scanners allow high resolution images to be scanned using high bit depths.
This results in image files which are very large. When using a scanner it is important to
remember to match the image to its purpose. For example if you are scanning a picture
for use in a multimedia presentation then there is no point in using a resolution of more
than about 75 dots per inch as this is all that will be displayed on the screen. Likewise,
if the screen bit depth is 16 bits then there is no point in scanning the image at 24 bits.
The trade off between storage requirements and resolution must be taken into account.
Accuracy
The accuracy of a scanner will be the main reason for purchasing that particular model. The accuracy is
dependent on the bit depth and resolution available.
Capacity
Most scanners will not have much in the way of internal buffering. They will, instead, tend to rely on Direct
Memory Access in the computer system to transfer the data quickly to memory.
Speed
The speed will depend more on the computer than on the scanner. As already mentioned this is because a large
amount of data must be transferred quickly to the computer's memory. The faster this data can be transferred the
faster the scanner will appear to operate. This depends upon the bit depth, resolution and the type of interface
used.
Resolution
The number of dots per inch (dpi) a scanner can scan at has increased considerably over the past 5 years. Most
scanners will not offer a resolution less than 1200x1200 dpi.
Cost
The cost of scanners has dropped dramatically in recent years. However certain factors will dictate a scanner’s
cost. These are:
§
§
§
§
§
§
software which has been bundled with the scanner (e.g. OCR);
type of interface;
resolution;
bit depth;
size of scanning area;
media that can be scanned (e.g. film).
Examples
HP Scanjet 2400 Digital Flatbed Scanner
Epson Perfection 1670
Canon CanoScan LiDE 80
Cost
£47.50
£95.00
£125.00
Resolution
1200x1200 dpi
1600x3200 dpi
2400x4800 dpi
Bit Depth
48 bit
48 bit
48 bit
Compatibility
Scanners can be connected to computer systems depending upon the Operating System of the computer and the
interface used.
Example
Epson Perfection 1670
USB
Supports Windows 98/2000/ME/XP and Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x, OS X 10.2
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.4
Input Devices – Digital Cameras
Traditionally a camera required film. The image is focused through the lens onto the film.
When the shutter is opened light passes through the lens affecting parts of the film. Later the
film is treated in a chemical process and the final picture can be produced. With the advent of
the digital camera the film has been removed and replaced by an array of photosensitive cells
which reacts in a similar way to the film. The images are stored electronically. This
electronically stored information can then be transferred to a computer.
Accuracy
The accuracy of the camera will be dependant on the array of photosensitive sensors. The more sensors and the
smaller they are, the higher the resolution.
Capacity
This will be based on the resolution and the amount of memory in the device. The higher the resolution the fewer
the number of images which can be stored. Some will use compression to store more images whereas others will
alter the resolution. For example 36 images with 640 x 480 pixels uses the same amount of memory as 96 images
with 480 x 240 pixels. Most cameras have portable memory cards or modules which can store between 2 to 64
Mb.
Speed
A digital camera will respond at the same sorts of speeds as a conventional camera.
The length of time it takes to download the images to the computer is restricted by
the speed of the serial link and the specification of the interface.
Resolution
The number of dots per inch (dpi) a digital camera can scan at has increased
considerably over the past 5 years. Most digital cameras will not offer a resolution less than 600x600 dpi.
Bit Depth
The number of bits required to store each colour is a significant factor when purchasing a digital camera. Most
cameras now measure the bit depth in megapixels (millions of pixels). Most cameras are built with at least 1
megapixel.
Cost
The cost of digital cameras is dropping as they become more and more common. A comparison of features
against cost must be made. However , like scanners, certain factors will dictate a camera’s cost. These are:
§
§
§
§
§
software which has been bundled with the digital camera (e.g. photo editing);
type of interface;
resolution;
bit depth;
storage media, usually memory cards.
Examples
Vivitar ViviCam-30
Trust 770Z PowerCam
Canon A70
Cost
£9.95
£95.00
£225.00
Resolution
640x480 dpi
2048x1536 dpi
2048x1536 dpi
Bit Depth
0.3 megapixels
3.3 megapixels
3.2 megapixels
Compatibility
Digital cameras can be connected to computer systems depending upon the Operating System of the computer and
the interface used.
Example
Canon A70
USB
Supports Windows 98/98SE/2000/ME/XP and Mac OS 9.0-9.2,
Mac OS X 10.1 and 10.2
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.5
Input Devices – Digital Video Cameras
As computers become more and more integrated with multimedia and digital television
so the use of video becomes more and more relevant. There are a number of analogue
video formats used throughout the world. In Britain PAL (Phase Alternation Line) is the
standard used for broadcast television. This uses 625 lines with 25 frames per second.
To generate digital video a video capture board is required. Uncompressed video at 640 x
480 pixels with true colour (24 bit) will require about 23 Mb per second. This is clearly
unrealistic. The video capture board must, therefore, use some technique to compress
the video as it is being captured. Digital television and digital video cameras are now
available which means that the video capture board will not need to do an analogue to digital conversion.
Accuracy
The accuracy of the video capture will be based on the quality of the source as well as the resolution settings on
the board.
Capacity
Most digital video cameras have their own memory cards for taking still images or snapshots. Usually 8Mb or
more. Most video tapes can store up to 3 hours of long play video. The video capture board will depend on Direct
Memory Access to a high speed hard disc drive and the amount of memory on the board or VRAM (Video RAM).
Speed
The board must respond fast enough so that frames are not missed. A capture rate of as low
as 15 frames per second can produce an adequate result, but the more frames which can be
captured per second the better.
Resolution
The number of dots per inch (dpi) a digital video camera can scan at has increased
considerably over the past 5 years. Most video cameras will not offer a resolution less than 300x300 dpi.
Bit Depth
The number of bits required to store each colour is a significant factor when purchasing a digital video camera.
Most cameras now measure the bit depth in megapixels (millions of pixels). Most cameras are built with at least
1 megapixel.
Cost
The lower the compression ratio, the higher the cost. However , like digital cameras, certain factors will dictate a
video camera’s cost. These are:
§
§
§
§
§
software which has been bundled with the camera (e.g. photo editing);
type of interface;
resolution;
bit depth;
storage capacity, which can vary from memory cards to DVD’s.
Examples
Nisis DV4
Sony DCR-DVD101E
Cost
£119.00
£485.10
Resolution
640x480 dpi
640x480 dpi
Bit Depth
2 megapixels
1 megapixels
Compatibility
Digital video cameras can be connected to computer systems depending upon the operating System of the
computer and the interface used.
Example
Nisis DV4
USB 2.0
Supports Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
Higher Computing Systems -
Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.6
Input Devices – Sound
The simplest form of input device for sound is the microphone. This involves the use of software which samples
the incoming signal. An analogue to digital converter is required to convert the electrical signals from the
microphone into ones which can be stored by the computer. This is usually done by a sound card which allows
the microphone to be attached to the computer and sound to be captured.
Sample Size
The sample size is measured in bits. The two most common sample sizes are 8 bit and 16 bit
samples. This is the size of number stored for each sample. 8 bit numbers take only one byte of
memory and 16 bit numbers take two bytes of memory on your computer. The sample size effects
the ‘granularity’ of the sound. 8 bit numbers can only have a range of 0 to 255 whereas 16 bit
numbers can range from 0 to 65535 and so can represent the sound with greater definition.
If you record a sound at 11KHz 8 bit mono for one second it will take up about 11k of disk space
whereas the one second of sound recorded at 44KHz 16 bit stereo will take up about 172k of disc space.
Accuracy
The sound card being used will be the main constraint on the accuracy of the sound sampling. The number of bits
used to store the data is typically a measure of how accurate a sound card is.
Capacity
A sound input device is unlikely to have much of its own cache. It will generally
depend on fast access hard disk space to store the sample.
Speed
The speed of conversion from analogue data to digital data will be relevant.
Cost
For a sound card the number of bits being used in the conversion process will affect the overall cost. While a
simple 8 bit sound card can be bought very cheaply a 64 bit CD quality stereo card will be far more expensive.
However, other factors will dictate a sound card’s cost. These are:
§
§
§
the number of connections available e.g. MIDI, Mic in, CD, digital out etc;
capablility of card e.g. wavetable synthesis;
on board RAM.
Examples
Genius Sound Maker 4.1 PCI
Creative Sound blaster Live
Cost
£9.50
£25.00
Connections
Mic in, line in/out, Game/MIDI
CD, AUX, TAD, CD SPDIF,
MIDI/Game, mic in, line in/out
Bit
32
24
Compatibility
Sound cards can be used on most computer systems depending upon the operating system, processing power and
RAM of the computer used.
Example
Creative Sound blaster Live
Minimum system requirements:
166MHz Pentium, 32 Mb RAM, PCI slot and CD-ROM drive
Supports Windows 95/98/98SE/2000/ME/XP
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Infosheet 3.7
Output Devices – Ink Jet Printer
Ink jet, or bubble jet, printers are non-impact, quiet,
fairly fast and cheap. They operate by squirting
small amounts of ink from a tiny nozzle at the
paper. An electric current is passed across the
nozzle which has been filled with ink. This causes
the ink to flash boil. The resulting bubble expands
and forces a tiny droplet of ink out onto the paper.
The current is then switched off which causes the
bubble to cool and collapse sucking more ink into
the nozzle. This process is repeated thousands of
times per second responding to where a dot is
required on the printer
As ink jet printers tend to be quite cheap they are likely not to have any on board buffer. In this way they will tend
to depend on spooling in the computer. This can make printing a little slower.
One of the biggest problems with an ink jet printer is the drying time for the ink. This has been the area of biggest
advance in recent years. Inks are generally alcohol and glycerine based and are not particularly water resistant.
Accuracy
The resolution of a printer is based on the dots per inch (dpi). The higher the dpi the smoother both text and
graphics will appear. Magazines are typically printed at 1200 dpi whereas the text for a letter will appear perfectly
adequate at less than 300 dpi. Photo realistic ink jet printers are becoming much more common due to the
popularity of digital cameras. Usually, these will print at 720dpi.
Capacity
Typically, ink jet printers depend on background printing from the computer. They do not have their own buffer.
This is done to reduce the overall cost of the peripheral.
Speed
The number of pages per minute (ppm) dictates the speed of a printer. If the resolution is high and colour is used
then the ppm will be slow. For example the Canon i470D can print 18 ppm mono and 12 ppm for colour.
Cost
An ink jet printer can vary considerably in price. This is due to:
§ speed (ppm);
§ resolution (dpi);
§ paper capacity;
§ interfaces (USB, direct connection to digital camera
etc.).
Examples
Epson C44UX
Canon 350
Lexmark X125 Pro
Cost
£39.95
£55.00
£145.00
Resolution
2800 x 720
4800 x 1200
2400 x 1200
Speed (mono, colour)
11 ppm, 5.5ppm
16 ppm, 11 ppm
12 ppm, 5 ppm
Compatability
Ink jet printers can be connected to computer systems depending upon the operating system of the computer and
the interface used.
Example
Canon 350
USB
Supports Windows 98/2000/ME/XP and MAC OS 8.6-9.x,
MAC OS X v 10.2
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.8
Output Devices – Laser Printer
Laser printers give high quality results, are fast, non impact and tend to be expensive. They are often used as part
of a local area network. This allows for the cost to be spread over a large number of computers. They often have
significant 'on-board' memory and processing capacity.
The process involves an electro-photographic process much like that used in photocopiers. A laser beam is used
to expose the surface of a photosensitive drum. Where the beam strikes the surface, an invisible dot is created. By
exposing the surface of the drum one line at a time an image is created on the drum.
This image is then created by using a substance known as toner (a fine black plastic
powder) which is attracted to the dots. This is transferred to paper and then made
permanent by a heating process which melts the toner onto the paper.
Good quality laser printers will often use a special language called PostScript to define
the image. Fonts can be defined using this language thus allowing font scaling to be
used. However if the memory of the printer is sufficient it is possible to download
other fonts e.g. TRUETYPE fonts.
Accuracy
The resolution of laser printer will be based on the size of dot produced by the laser. 600 dots per inch (dpi) is
currently quite common.
Capacity
Laser printers tend to have their own buffers (RAM chips) and hence free up the computer ‘s processor from
dealing with the printing until the printer is ready. These buffers tend to range from 16 Mb to 400+ Mb.
Speed
The number of pages per minute (ppm) dictates the speed of a printer. If the resolution is high and colour is used
then the ppm will be slow. For example the Samsung CLP-500 colour laser can print 20 ppm mono and 5 ppm
for colour.
Cost
An laser printer can vary considerably in price. This is due to:
§ speed (ppm);
§ resolution (dpi);
§ paper capacity;
§ stand alone or network usage;
§ colour or black and white;
§ available on board RAM and/or processor;
§ interfaces (USB, direct connection to digital camera etc.).
Examples
Brother HL-1430
OKI C5100n
Epson C4000
Cost
£120
£399
£769
RAM
0 Mb
32 Mb
64 Mb
Speed (mono, colour)
14 ppm
20 ppm, 12 ppm
16 ppm, 16 ppm
Compatability
Ink jet printers can be connected to computer systems depending upon the operating system of the computer and
the interface used.
Example
Brother HL-1430
USB and parallel
Supports Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT 4.0 and MAC OS 8.6-9.2,
MAC OS X 10.1-10.2
Higher Computing Systems -
Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.9
Output Devices – Multifunction Printer
Multifunction printers have the ability to print, scan, photocopy, and send and
receive faxes. So why buy separate devices when one device can do the lot?
Multifunction printers do rival single purpose devices in price and
performance, but their scanning and photocopying abilities are not as good.
For some time now multifunction printers have saved scarce office space and
for basic office tasks they standard office tasks, they function very well.
The increasing popularity of multifunction printers may be part of a larger
trend toward combo devices, as reflected in the rise of cell phones with added
camera and PDA features.
Accuracy
The resolution of multifunction printers will be based on the resolution of its printing, scanning and
photocopying capability.
Capacity
As with lasers, multifunction printers tend to have their own buffers (RAM chips) and hence free up the
computer ‘s processor from dealing with the printing until the printer is ready. These buffers tend to
range from 16 Mb to 400+ Mb. They can also support memory cards so that digital photography etc. can
be printed directly from the device and not via the computer system.
Speed
Again the number of pages per minute for printing, scanning and photocopying will dictate the speed of
the printer.
Cost
A multifunction printer can vary considerably in price. It is mostly due to the number
of functions the printer can deal with. Other factors are:
§ speed (ppm);
§ resolution (dpi);
§ paper capacity;
§ interfaces (USB, direct connection to digital camera etc.).
Examples
Epson Stylus CX5400
Lexmark X125pro
Cost
£125
£145
Functions
Photo quality printer, scanner and copier.
Printer, scanner, copier and fax.
Compatability
Multifunction printers can be connected to computer systems depending upon the operating system of the
computer and the interface used.
Example
Lexmark X125pro
USB
Supports Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.10
Output Devices – Monitors
The Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) is the basis of most visual display technology.
Electronic circuitry is designed to control an electron beam which is aimed at the back of
a coated screen. The screen is arranged as a series of lines of dots. Each dot is made up
of three small areas: one green, one red and one blue. This is known as a triad. By
varying the beam on each dot the colour displayed can be altered. Each dot is known as a
pixel. Pixel is short for picture element. The layout of lines of pixels on the screen is
known as a raster. The electronic circuitry causes the beam to scan along the lines of
pixels. The picture is redrawn between 25 and 70 times every second even if the picture
is not changing. This is known as the refresh rate. In an interlaced monitor the beam
scans every alternate line on each raster scan. This means that it takes two complete scans before the whole
picture is refreshed. In a non-interlaced monitor each line of the raster is scanned every time. A monitor which
can operate at different refresh rates is known as a multiscan or multisync monitor. The refresh rate is controlled
by the video adapter connected to the monitor. This type of monitor is essential for modern day high definition
display systems. Screen resolution is quantified by the dot pitch. This is the distance between dots on the screen.
Typically an acceptable range is between 0.28mm and 0.38mm. This corresponds to 100 to 70 dots per inch (dpi).
The Thin Film Transistor – Liquid Crystal Displays (TFT - LCD) is another
popular visual display device. Many companies have adopted TFT technology to
improve colour screens. In a TFT screen, also known as active matrix, an extra matrix
of transistors is connected to the LCD panel, one transistor for each colour of each
pixel. These transistors drive the pixels, eliminating the problems of ghosting and slow
response speed that afflict non-TFT LCDs.
The liquid crystal elements of each pixel are arranged so that in their normal state
(with no voltage applied) the light coming through the passive filter is polarised so as
to pass through the screen. When a voltage is applied across the liquid crystal elements
they twist by up to ninety degrees in proportion to the voltage, changing their polarisation and thereby blocking
the light's path. The transistors control the degree of twist and hence the intensity of the red, green and blue
elements of each pixel forming the image on the display. black dot on all-white backgrounds.
Accuracy
The resolution of monitors depends upon the distance between the dots on screen (dot pitch) and resolution.
Speed
The refresh rate of a monitor is how fast it can redraw its screen contents every second.
Cost
Monitors can vary considerably in price. The main factors are:
§ monitor type;
§ dot pitch
§ resolution (dpi);
§ refresh rate;
§ physical size e.g. 15″;
§ monitor adjustments e.g. tilt, brightness.
Examples
RELISYS TE555-RU
BELINA 101536
Cost
£59.95
£225
Type
CRT
TFT
Resolution
1024 x 768
1024 x 768
Dot Pitch
0.28mm
0.297mm
Compatability
Monitors can be connected to computer systems depending upon the interface used.
Example
BELINA 101536
Hi-D 15-way connector
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.11
Backing Storage – Magnetic Disks
Magnetic disks have been widely used as a fast backing storage media. The capacity of fixed disk systems has
been growing very fast over recent years and the cost per megabyte has dropped dramatically.
How does it work?
Consider the diagram of the disk drive. The disk is
coated with a magnetic film on both surfaces, and
two read/write heads are positioned on moving
arms so that they can be moved back and forth
very close to the disk surfaces. The disk is rotated
at a constant speed. With the moving arm in any
given position, data may be retrieved/recorded by
the read/write heads (using both sides of the disk).
The data is recorded onto concentric circular
tracks, each track divided into sectors.
Read/Write
Heads
The interface for the disk drive is called a disk
controller. One disk controller may be responsible
fig3
for several separate drives. Consider the case of
four drives. The interface has to be able to, select
one out of the four disk drives, control the head movement to select a given pair of tracks, select the appropriate
sector, and select which surface is to be read from or written to. Only then can it initiate the read or write action
involved in actual data transfer.
It must also provide extensive information for the processor. The processor has to be able to identify which drive
was last selected, which of the two disk surfaces is in use, which sector was last used, whether the head is
positioned over a specified track or still moving towards it, whether a read or write is in progress, etc. Control and
status functions of interfaces are important and can be more complex than the actual data transfer function.
Capacity
The capacity of hard disk systems has increased dramatically over recent years. Typically, a desktop computer
will have an internal 20 Gb hard disk. The capacity of portable disks, such as floppy or zip is not as great as a
hard disk. Zip disks, for example, can store up to 750 Mb.
Speed
The access time of a disk drive dictates its speed. The access time is defined as seek time + search time (or
latency).
Cost
Disk drives can vary considerably in price. Obviously the media has to be bought as well. The main factors are:
§ access time;
§ types of interface;
§ capacity of media;
§ type of drive (internal or external).
Examples
Iomega Zip Drive
LaCie Hard Disk Drive
Cost
£76.99
£63.00
Type
External
External
Interface
Firewire
USB2
Media Capacity
750Mb
40Gb
Compatability
Disk drives can be connected to computer systems depending upon the interface used.
Example
Iomega Zip Drive
Firewire
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.12
Backing Storage – Tape
Tape has been used as a backup medium in commercial situations for many years. It is
very cheap and secure. Its main disadvantage is the serial nature of access which makes
it very slow to access data unless it has first been sorted. There are many different types
of tape technologies.
8mm tape was originally designed for the video industry. Its original purpose was to
transfer high quality colour images to tape for storage and retrieval. Now 8mm
technology has been adopted by the computer industry as a reliable way to store large
amounts of computer data.
Digital Audio Tape (DAT) was originally conceived as a CD quality audio format. In
1998, Sony and HP defined the DDS (Digital Data Storage) standard, transforming the format into one that could
be used for computer data storage. This technology uses a 4mm tape which employs a technique called helical
scan recording. This is the same type of recording as that used in video tape recorders and is slower than the linear
type. For this reason, it is generally only used in environments where high capacity is the primary requirement.
Digital Linear Tape (DLT) technology started in 1989. DLT is like the old reel to
reel magnetic recording method where the tape cartridge performs as one reel and the
tape drive as the other.
Capacity
Most tape drives can use multiple tapes in a cartridge at the one time.
mean a very large storage capacity ranging from 20 Gb to 3 Tb.
This can
Speed
The transfer rate of a tape drive usually dictates the speed. For example the HP StorageWorks 251i Q1543A has
transfer rates of up to 54 Gb per hour.
Cost
Disk drives can vary considerably in price. Obviously the media has to be bought as well. The main factors are:
§ access time;
§ transfer rates
§ type of interface;
§ capacity;
§ type of drive (internal or external).
Examples
Cost
Type
Certance Bare DDS 4
£395.99
Internal
HP StorageWorks DLT £985.00
External
Interface
Firewire
Media Capacity
72Gb
80Gb
Compatability
Tape drives can be connected to computer systems depending upon the interface
used.
Example
HP StorageWorks DLT
Firewire
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.13
Backing Storage – Optical Drives
Optical technologies involving the use of lasers have contributed to the production
of CD and DVD drives. A plastic disc is scanned using a laser which reflects off
pits on the surface of the disc differently from areas where there is no pit.
There are many different types of CD and DVD drives.
CD-ROM drives allow different types of CD’s to be read.
CD-R drives allow CD-ROMs and audio CDs to be written. CD-R software is also
required to enable the CD to be ‘burned’. Often, it is the software package, not the
drive itself, that determines how easy or difficult it is to create CD-ROMs.
CD-RW drives enables CDs to be written onto it in multiple sessions. One of the
problems with CD-R disks is that you can only write to them once. With CD-RW
drives and disks, you can treat the optical disk just like a floppy or hard disk,
writing data onto it multiple times.
DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM are different types of DVD drive and allow similar
tasks to be carried out except the storage capacity and access times are much faster.
Capacity
Typically about 650 Mb uncompressed for CD and 4Gb for a DVD.
Speed
Usually speeds for CD drives look like 12x2x24x (three numbers separated by the letter "x"), these numbers
indicate the speeds of the drive. The "x" stands for the transfer of 150 Kb of data per second, and each number
represents a different action that the drive can carry out. For example, a CD-R drive has two actions, recording
onto and reading from compact disks. A CD-RW drive has three actions, recording, rewriting (erasing and
recording over) and reading. When looking at the drive speeds, the first number indicates the speed at which the
drive will record data onto a disk. So, in the above example, the drive will record data at 12 times 150 Kb/s. The
second number indicates the speed at which the drive will rewrite data onto a disk. So in the above example, the
drive will rewrite data onto the compact disc at 2 times 150 Kb/s. Typically, the second number, the rewrite speed,
is lower than the first number, the write speed, because rewriting is a slower process than writing. The last number
indicates the speed at which the drive will read data from a compact disk. So in the above example, the CD drive
will read data from a compact disc at 24 times 150 Kb/s.
Cost
Drives with faster transfer rates tend to be more costly. Obviously the media has to be
bought as well. The main factors are:
§ transfer rates
§ interfaces;
§ capacity;
§ type of drive (CD or DVD or combo type, internal or external).
Examples
LaCie CD-RW
Sony CRX-320EBK CD-RW/DVD
Cost
£59
£31
Type
External
External
Speed
52x32x52x
52x32x52x16x
Compatability
Optical drives can be connected to computer systems depending upon the interface used.
Example
LaCie CD-RW
Firewire
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.14
Backing Storage – Solid State Devices
There are many devices on the market today that allow data to be saved on small, portable backing storage
devices. These can be take the form of a pen, key ring or even a watch.
USB Flash Memory
A USB flash memory a memory chip with a USB plug, you plug it into your
computer, copy the file onto it, then simply plug it into the USB socket of the other
computer and access the file. They are small enough to attach to your keyring and
are difficult to damage. Remove the cap and the USB plug is revealed. Plug it in and
the computer will automatically recognise it. Files are stored on it simply by
dragging and dropping them onto the icon. Storage Capacities start from 64
Megabytes upwards. This type of memory uses Erasable Programmable Read Only
Memory (EPROM) technology. USB flash drives have less storage capacity than an
external hard drive, but they are smaller and more durable because they do not
contain any internal moving parts. Flash drives also are called pen drives, key
drives or simply USB drives.
Memory Card Reader/Writer
These can be used with most of the memory card formats to allow the cards to be used as a
file transfer medium similar to the USB Flash Memory. The reader/writer is connected to a
USB port and once a memory card has been connected is identified by the system as an
external drive. Files can simply be dragged and dropped to transfer data. Once full/empty
the card is simply removed and another fitted. This is useful as it allows memory cards
from digital cameras etc to be removed and used without the camera being connected to
the computer.
Cost
Drives with faster transfer rates and larger storage capacities tend to be more costly. The main factors are:
§ transfer rates
§ interfaces;
§ capacity;
§ type of storage.
Examples
Newlink USB Pen Drive
Belken USB Flash Drive
Cost
£55
£79.50
Interface
USB1.x
USB 1.x
Capacity
256 Mb
256 Mb
Compatability
Solid state storage devices can be connected to computer systems depending upon the interface and operating
system used.
Example
Newlink USB Pen Drive
USB1.x
Supports Win 98SE/2000/ME/XP, Linux 2.4x
and MacOS 9.x
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
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Infosheet 3.15
Development Trends In Backing Storage
Hard Disks
Most modern computers use hard disks to store files, applications and other data so that
it can be retrieved by the user later. Back in 1954 IBM first invented the hard disk.
The capacity was only 5 Mb. 25 years later Seagate Technology introduced the first
hard disk drive for personal computers, with a capacity of up to 40 Mb and data transfer
rate of 625 KBps. Even as recently as the late 1980’s 100 Mb of hard disk space was
considered generous. Today, this would be totally inadequate, hardly enough to install
the operating system alone, let alone a huge application such as Microsoft Office.
Due to the constant upgrading of desktop computers, software companies believe that the
software they create has no bounds on capacity. As a result, the average size of the hard disk
rose from 100 Mb to 1.2 Gb in just a few years and by the start of 2000 a typical desktop hard
drive stored 18 Gb. However as capacity has gone up prices have come down. Improved
density levels of disks have been the dominant reason for the reduction in price per megabyte.
Floppy Disks
Back in the mid 1980s, when a desktop computer had a 20 Mb hard disk, a 1.2 Mb floppy was the device capable
of backing up the entire drive with a mere 17 disks. By early 1999, the standard hard disk fitted to PCs had a
capacity of between 3 Gb and 4 Gb. In the same period, the floppy's capacity has increased by less than 20% to
1.44 Mb. As a result, the floppy disk is now at a disadvantage when used with any modern computer systems for
most users. The standard floppy disk just isn't big enough anymore.
In the past, this problem only affected a tiny proportion of users, and solutions were available
for those that did require high-capacity removable disks. For example, by the late 1980s
SyQuest's 5.25in 44 Mb or 88 Mb devices had become the standard in the publishing industry
for transferring large DTP or graphics files from the desktop to remote printers.
By the mid-1990s every desktop computer user needed high capacity removable storage.
Applications no longer came on single floppies, but on CD-ROM’s. For example a word
processing document with a few graphics results in a data file that required many megabytes of storage. This file
would be too large to be stored on a floppy disk.
However, there's no getting away from the fact that a desktop computer just had to
have some sort of removable and writable storage. Storage had to be removable for
several reasons:
•
•
•
to transport files between different computers;
to back up personal data;
and to provide as much storage as possible.
It was much easier, at that time, to swap removable disks than fit another hard disk for extra storage capacity.
Optical Media
Sony and Philips invented the Compact Disc (CD) in the early Launched in 1982, the audio CD's durability,
random access features and audio quality made it incredibly successful, capturing the majority of the market
within a few years. CD-ROM followed in 1984, but it took a few years longer to gain the widespread acceptance
enjoyed by the audio CD. However, there are now games, software applications, encyclopaedias, presentations
and other multimedia programs available on CD-ROM and what was originally designed to carry 74 minutes of
high-quality digital audio can now hold up to 850Mb of computer data.
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.16
Development Trends In Backing Storage
Today's mass produced CD-ROM drives are faster and cheaper than they've ever been. Consequently, not only is a
vast range of software now stored on CD-ROM, but many programs (databases, multimedia, games and movies,
for example) are also run directly from CD-ROM often over a network. The CD-ROM market now has internal,
external and portable drives, caddy and tray loading mechanisms, single disk and multichanger units. Typical
interfaces are SCSI and FireWire.
CD-R and CD-RW drives can read existing CD-ROMs. Discs made by CD-R and CD-RW
devices can be read on both CD-ROM drives and current and all future generations of
DVD-ROM drive. A further advantage is the low cost of media. CD-RW media is cheap
and CD-R media even cheaper. Their principal disadvantage is that there are limitations to
their rewriteability. CD-R isn't rewritable at all and until recently CD-RW discs had to be
reformatted to recover the space taken by deleted files when a disk becomes full.
The movie companies immediately saw a big CD as a way of stimulating the video market,
producing better quality sound and pictures on a disk that costs considerably less to produce than
a VHS tape. Using MPEG-2 video compression, the same system that will be used for digital TV,
satellite and cable transmissions, it is possible to fit a full length movie onto one side of a DVD
disk.
In the late 1990’s computer based DVD drives outsold home DVD machines by a ratio of at least
5:1. By early 2000 there were more DVD-ROM drives in use than CD-ROM drives.
With modern day programs fast outgrowing CD, returning to the multiple disc sets which had appeared to gone
away for ever when CD-ROM took over from floppy disk was becoming ever closer. The storage capacity
provided by DVD lets software manufacturers fit multiple CD on a single disk, making them more convenient to
use. Game developers can now program interactive games with full motion video and surround sound audio.
Tape
Tape still remains the best choice for backing up hard disks. The two reasons why tape is
favoured is due to capacity and cost. With the storage size of the average hard disk now several
gigabytes, tape is generally the only media that allows a complete hard disk to be backed up
without needing to swap media during the process.
Helical scan tape technology was adapted from 8mm home video tape technology in the mid1980s. The most popular solutions for systems with less backup requirements, are 4mm helical
scan digital audio tape (DAT) and quarter-inch cartridge (QIC) linear tape.
Imaging, multimedia and other data intensive applications have demonstrated the need for more cost-effective
storage that can deliver higher capacity, increased performance and better data integrity. This has resulted in both
a new generation of tape drive technology, such as DLT and the newer 8mm formats such as Mammoth and AIT.
Solid Sate Storage
Since IT devices were becoming physically smaller and could be carried about, there was a need for small,
portable storage devices. Electronic memory was developed to serve a variety of purposes. For example Flash
Memory which is considered a solid state storage device. Solid state means that there are no moving parts as all
components are electronic instead of mechanical. Flash memory includes:
•
•
•
•
•
•
a computer's BIOS chip;
CompactFlash (most often found in digital cameras);
SmartMedia (most often found in digital cameras);
Memory Stick (most often found in digital cameras);
PCMCIA Type I and Type II memory cards (used as solid-state disks in
laptops);
Memory cards for video game consoles.
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.16
Selecting Hardware
Obviously there is a wide range of devices that can be used with computers. So which ones do you choose?
Basically it is down to the task that needs to be solved. Typical questions that could be asked are:
§
§
§
§
§
§
§
Are graphics and/or photography required?
How much backing storage?
What type of print outs are necessary?
How will the data be displayed?
What are the RAM requirements?
Is processor performance important?
Are there specific peripherals that are required?
As the cost of tackling problems using computer hardware can be a costly one, it is necessary to be able to justify
why choices have been made.
Here are typical tasks that a computer system with specific peripherals could solve.
§ Production of a multimedia catalogue
§ Setting up a LAN in a school
§ Development of a school website
§ Creating an audio CD
Here are possible solutions to three of these typical tasks:
Production Of A Multimedia Catalogue
Multimedia involves the use of media elements, such as text, graphics, sound,
video and animation. The computer system itself must be of a good specification
to create, edit and run these elements. So typical minimum hardware could be:
Hardware
Computer System with:
256 RAM
1 GHz Processor
20 Gb Hard disk drive
CD-RW drive
Firewire interface
Video card
Sound card
High resolution monitor
Digital video camera
Microphone
Mouse and keyboard
Scanner
High resolution colour laser printer
Speakers
Justification
To open media elements and run software
To run applications quickly and view video at an
appropriate speed
To store programs and media elements
To load software and save catalogue onto
To attach camera and capture video
To capture and playback video elements
To capture and playback audio
To view media elements
To record video frames
To record audio
To input characters and control selection of elements
To capture still images
To print out multimedia catalogue
To playback audio
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for The City of Edinburgh Council 2004
Infosheet 3.17
Selecting Hardware
Setting Up A Local Area Network (LAN) In School
Setting up a network would require many desktop computers to be linked together.
Possible hardware for this task could be:
Hardware
Computer Systems with:
64 RAM
500 MHz Processor
10 Gb Hard disk drive
CD-ROM drive
Network Interface Card (NIC)
Monitor
Cables
Mouse and keyboard
Hubs
Switches
Network laser printer
Network server
Justification
To open media elements and run software
To run software at an appropriate speed
To store programs
To load networking software
To allow computer to be connected to the network
To view data
To allow computer to be connected to the network
To input characters and control selection of elements
To connect devices on the network
To filter and forward packets
To print documents across the network
To store users’ files across the network
Development Of A School Website
Creating a school website could possibly involve using
multimedia elements, so a higher specification computer system
is required. Also possible Internet access may be a requirement.
Possible hardware for this task could be:
Hardware
Computer Systems with:
256 RAM
1 GHz Processor
20 Gb Hard disk drive
CD-ROM drive
Network Interface Card (NIC)
Video card
Sound card
High resolution monitor
Cables
Mouse and keyboard
Digital video camera
Scanner
Ink jet printer
Digital camera
Justification
To open media elements and run software
To run software at an appropriate speed
To store programs
To load networking software
To allow computer to be connected to the network
To capture and playback video elements
To capture and playback audio
To view data
To allow computer to be connected to the network
To input characters and control selection of elements
To connect devices on the network
To capture still images
To print out completed pages for checking
To take digital photographs
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for The City of Edinburgh Council 2004
Infosheet 3.17
Buffers And Spoolers
In general a buffer or spooler will be used when a fast acting part of a system is exchanging data with a
slow acting device. Then buffer or spooler is used to store data until the data can be dealt with. This
ensures that the processor is not held up by slow communications to and from peripherals.
Buffers
Buffers are a piece of memory used to store information temporarily.
Most interfaces have buffers to store blocks of data while in transfer
between the processor and the peripheral. The buffer must also keep the
status of the peripheral so that the processor knows when it is able to
send or receive data and when problems arise.
Example
Printing might involve (if the file is too big for the buffer to handle in one go)
•
the processor checking with the interface to see if the printer is ready
•
the interface sending back an OK
•
the processor sending data to the interface
•
the interface saying its buffer is full
•
the interface sending data to the printer
•
the interface saying to the processor that it is ready to accept more data.
These steps will be repeated until all the data is sent.
Peripheral Buffers
Most peripherals have buffers of their own (device based) and some interfaces and
peripherals often have their own processors to control their operation. Some laser printers
have a better processor and more memory than the computer its connected to.
Spoolers
Another approach to ensuring the processor is not held up by slow
peripherals is to send data to be spooled. This means that the data is sent
to fast backing storage usually a disc. This is preferred to buffering when
large amounts of data is to be sent or if the peripheral is shared across a
network. In a spooled system, data is sent to backing store and fed to the
peripheral in the gaps between processing actions (an example of this is
background printing). In this way, it is very often possible for the
peripheral to operate continually during a program and for the action of the
computer also to appear continuous.
Memory-Mapped I/O
Memory-mapped I/O is when each interface is treated by the processor as one or more memory locations
and the data transfers are accomplished by normal read and write operations. This means that there is no
need for special input and output instructions.
Isolated I/O
Isolated I/O is when special instructions have to be known to the processor to enable communication
between the processor and the peripheral. Although these are easily distinguishable from normal memory
instructions, they reduce the number of other types of instructions within the processor instruction set
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
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Infosheet 3.18
Interfacing Peripherals
Computer peripherals such as disc drives, printers, mice etc all work in totally different ways and linking them to
the processor is a difficult task. They all work at different speeds, use different codes, transfer different amounts
of data at a time and even work at different voltages.
Interfaces
The interface is the link between the processor and the peripheral.
Its task is to transfer data so that the processor is delayed as little as possible.
Processor
Data Bus
Address Bus
Control Bus
Interface1
Interface2
Peripheral
Peripheral
Memory
Functional requirements of any peripheral device interface
The following may have to be completed before communication can happen:
Data Conversion
The conversion of data representation (code) to and/or from the processor and the peripheral. This could include
serial to parallel and/or analogue to digital conversion.
Data Storage
The storage of data in transit between processor and peripheral using buffers.
Status Information
The supply of status information to the processor indicating the readiness of the peripheral device to transmit or
receive data.
Control Signals
The reception and generation of control signals.
Device Selection
The recognition of device information. Device codes are used to distinguish between different peripherals. This is
a number code which allows the processor to identify and select a particular peripheral.
Voltage Conversion
The conversion of different voltages to and/or from the processor form and the peripheral device form.
Protocol Conversion
The conversion of different protocols to and/or from the processor and the peripheral.
Speed
The conversion of different speeds to and/or from the fast processor and the slow peripherals.
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.19
Parallel And Serial Transmission
Communications
Data can be transmitted using 2 different methods.
Parallel Transmission
This is when several bits are transmitted simultaneously over several lines.
extensively within the computer for high speed data transfers on various buses.
one
wire
1
1
0
1
1
1
0
0
unit of
data
for
each
Parallel transmission is used
bit
1
1
unit of
time
fig19
Advantages
skew
Good for transmission over short distances
Disadvantages
Skewing can occur (see diagram)
Signals degrade with distance and interference
Serial Transmission
This is when a single line are used to transmit bits, one at a time.
direction of transmission
start
bit
7 data
bits
parity stop
bit bits
fig20
time
0
1
1 1
0
0 1
0
0
1 1
one character
Advantages
Disadvantages
Good for transmission over long distances
Only one data channel required
More time required (8 time units instead of 1)
Start and stop bits required to identify different data words
There are various interfaces on the market which use neither serial or parallel transmission. USB (Universal Serial
Bus) and Firwire are the most common.
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Infosheet 3.20
Current Trends Of Interface Speeds
Many different factors have contributed to the improvement in computer system
performance. The speed of interfaces is one of them. Due to the amount of data
required to be sent and received from peripherals to the CPU, how much data that
can be sent per second is an important factor. The introduction of multimedia
with memory intensive media types has led data rates to rise to multigigabit
levels.
Below is a table showing speeds of different types of interfaces:
I/O Interface
Maximum Speed (Megabytes/sec.)
10 MB Ethernet
1.28
1 GB Ethernet
131.00
Standard Parallel
0.15
USB
1.50
IDE/EIDE PIO Mode 4
16.70
ATA 133
133.00
Serial ATA III
600.00
IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
51.20
SCSI 2 Wide
20.00
Ultra 320 SCSI
320.00
Serial Storage Architecture (SSA)
20.00 - 40.00
Fibre Channel (FC-AL)
100.00 - 200.00
Most users expect their computers systems to deal with large amounts of data at high speeds. Increasing interface
speeds is one factor that will allow computers to perform better.
Wireless Technology Between Peripherals And CPU
Users are demanding greater degrees of portability in Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, laptop
computers, digital cameras, and MP3 players, to name but a few. However, this trend stretches the devices'
abilities to meet performance requirements, while at the same time being packaged into smaller and lighter form
factors and consuming less power in order to increase battery life.
Some peripherals now have the ability to communicate with the CPU without
physical connection (i.e. cabling).
Bluetooth is an example of wireless technology. It is a short range radio technology
aimed at simplifying communications among Internet devices and between devices
and the Internet. It also aims to simplify data synchronisation between Internet
devices and other computers.
Wireless telecommunications holds particular promise for people with
disabilities because it enhances both mobility and communications, two
functions that are often challenging for people with certain kinds of
disabilities. Ordinary cordless telephones have long been useful devices for
people who have mobility disabilities and cannot rush to the telephone.
Similarly, mobile telephones have been valuable safety devices for people
with mobility disabilities travelling alone, and they can help compensate for
the lack of accessibility of many pay telephones. Pagers and other wireless
data communications systems have been used for communicating with deaf
persons.
Higher Computing Systems - Peripherals
Produced by S Lambert, R Simpson and HSDU for The City of Edinburgh Council, 2004
Infosheet 3.21
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