Watch this lecture, which discusses the basic ideas behind the input/output (I/O) subsystem of a computer system. The lecturer also looks into performance measurement for I/O devices and interfaces used to interconnect I/O devices to the processor. This is the first of two video lectures on I/O. A computer subsystem consists of three major components: processor, memory, and connections. The key words in the previous sentence are subsystem and connections. To be useful, a computer system needs to have connections with external devices to get data and control signals into the computer and to put data and control signals out. The external devices can be other systems or other systems may be connected to the same devices. Thus, our computer system is part of a network of a few or many other subsystems interconnected to perform useful tasks.
We are always interested in how well a task is performed, in terms of time, capacity, and cost. In considering performance relative to our useful task, we have to consider processor performance, memory performance, and the performance of the connections, including the performance of the external devices. This first video lecture looks at external or peripheral devices and I/O performance. The next video in subunit 7.2 discusses interfaces, buses, and I/O transfer.