Computer Hardware (Taster Course)

Professional / Short Course
24 Weeks x 1 Evening (2 Hours)
Validated by
Griffith College
Dublin Main Campus
NFQ Level
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Course Overview

Develop a broadly based and intellectually challenging framework in the area of computer hardware and low-level software

This module aims to support participants with an awareness of current technologies, literature and research in the area of computer hardware. Participants have an awareness of current technologies, literature and research in the area.


This course focuses on the development of professional skills; while it does not sit on the national framework, the module is drawn from Griffith College’s suite of QQI-validated degree programmes.

Why Study Computer Hardware at Griffith College?

The Computer Hardware course is conducted on a part-time evening basis over a 24-week period. This course is aimed at those interested in developing knowledge and skills in computer hardware.

  • You will apply the principles of computer hardware to both current and developing technologies.
  • You will gain a firm understanding of how the insights and practice from computer hardware technology contribute to the current state of the art in the wider Computer Science landscape.
  • Small class sizes ensure that you get the one-on-one attention needed to perfect your skills.
  • An evening classes schedule allows you to balance your study with your work/life commitments.
  • Option to further your studies in this area by pursuing our BSc (Hons) in Computing Science course.

Intake Dates

We run one intake from this course, commencing as follows:


  • Autumn: September*


*subject to sufficient numbers


Please see the timetable section for course dates.

Course Details


Data encoding and number bases

  • Explain how computer hardware encodes data.
  • Explain the significance of the number bases used in computing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to convert numerical data from one base to another

  • Create logic circuits and derive their truth tables and equations.
  • Design and simplify logic circuits using Boolean algebra and Karnaugh maps
  • Explain the relevance and functioning of sequential logic circuits such as flip-flops.
  • Explain the reference and functioning of shift registers and counters.
  • Explain the role of a clock in relation to logic operations.
  • Explain how an arithmetic logic unit operates.
  • Explain how special purpose logic components such as the half-adder, adder, comparator and decoder function.

  • Von Neumann and Harvard architectures. Processor design approaches
  • Techniques for performance enhancement such as caching and parallelism.
  • Computer mainboard components such as the processor, buses and bus bridging chips, ports, network and graphics chips.

  • Explain the need for different types of storage.
  • Describe computer storage with the help of hierarchical models such as the storage pyramid.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary storage.
  • Explain how bit cells can be constructed, written to and accessed.
  • Explain how primary storage impacts processing performance.
  • Demonstrate the ability to calculate storage effective access time (EAT).
  • Explain how secondary storage is implemented and model the construction of typical, commonly available secondary storage devices.
  • Demonstrate the ability to calculate capacity, access times and transfer rates for secondary storage devices.
  • Explain how redundancy based systems such as RAID operate.

  • Explain how integers are represented and stored.
  • Distinguish between sign and magnitude representation and two's complement representation.
  • Explain how floating point numbers are represented.
  • Compare fixed point and floating point number representation approaches.
  • Critically analyse a given approach to floating point number representation in relation to parameters such as design approach, range and precision.

  • Input and output devices.
  • Serial and parallel movement of data.
  • Movement of data to and from devices.
  • Typical interface types such as serial, parallel, USB, infrared and Bluetooth.
  • Interrupts and polling.
  • Programmed I/O, I/O instructions, memory-mapped I/O. Direct Memory Access (DMA).

  • Typical embedded system architectures and applications.
  • The place of embedded systems in Computer Science.
  • Typical hardware and software.
  • Tools.
  • Programming and deployment.
  • Debugging an embedded system consisting of hardware and software.

  • Creation and configuration of a Local Area Network (LAN) consisting of interfaces, cables and switches.
  • Test and diagnosis of network problems using hardware such as cable testers and software tools such as ping, netstat and tracert.

Course Contacts

If you have any questions please get in touch with us at [email protected] or 01 415 0429.


This course will commence in September 2024 


Year 2024 - Semester 1, September 2024 to December 2024

Year 2025 - Semester 2, February 2025 to May 2025


1 Evening per week over 24 weeks. 

Dates are to be confirmed. Contact [email protected] for more information. 

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

Mature Students

If you are 23 years or over from the 1st January of this year, you can apply for this course directly using the College’s online application form. A member of the College’s admissions team will be in touch to discuss your course entry requirements.

Under 23 Years 

Old Leaving Cert (Pre 2017)

Two Honours Level, Grade C3s or above and four Ordinary Level D3s (subjects to include Maths and a language, English, Irish or another language) or equivalent exam taken.

New Leaving Cert:

2 H5 and 4 O6/H7 grades, to include Maths and a language (English, Irish or another language).

English Language

If English is not your native language, you must show that your English level is of a suitable standard. For further information please contact a member of the Admissions Team.

Griffith College is now accepting the online Duolingo English Test (DET) as valid proof of English proficiency. Please see here for further details.

How to Apply

Directly to Griffith College Professional Academy.


Please note that not all study modes may be offered at all times; for confirmation, refer to the Intake dates on the Overview tab.

Study Mode: Part-Time

Fee: EUR 845.00


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