A+ Hardware - Test 1

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Test 1 Review

Describe the binary number system

base 2, starting at 1 each digit represents the square of the place value to the right

What are the 3 elements that all hardware, input/output, and storage devices require?

A method for the device to send/receive data to/from the CPU.
Software to control the device (driver).
Electricity to power the device, may come from PSU or from external source.

List three devices that are contained inside the computer case.

1. Motherboard
2. Cooling System
3. PSU
4. Hard Drive
5. Optical / Disk Drives
6. RAM
7. CPU

List three components that allow the processor to communicate with other devices.

Traces, or wires, on the motherboard used for communication.
Expansion slots to connect expansion cards to the motherboard.
The system clock that keeps communication in sync.
Connections for data cables to devices inside the case.
Ports for devices outside the case.

Describe the purpose of the chipset.

A group of microchips on the motherboard that control the flow of data and instructions to and from the processor. The chipset is responsible for the careful timing and coordination of activities.

Describe the two major ATA standards for drive interface.

SATA (Serial ATA): the newer and faster standard has cables that are flat and thin where one end connects to the device and the other connects to the motherboard. Can usually accommodate from 2 to 8 devices.
PATA (Parallel ATA): Sometimes called IDE, is slower than SATA, cables are flat & thin with inline connectors. Generally can only connect 4 devices.

Describe solid state devices.

Generally, the term solid state refers to any electronic device which does not incorporate any moving parts. Since solid state drives (SSD) have no moving parts, they are much faster, more rugged, consume less power, and last longer than conventional hard drives. Consequently, they are also considerably more expensive.

Describe a floppy disk drive.

A relic from a different age, the 3.5" floppy drive supports magnetic disks storing a whopping maximum of 1.44 MB. Generally drive letter A.

Where are expansion cards mounted?

Expansion cards are mounted in expansion slots on the motherboard. These expansion slots are called PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) or PCIe (express). PCI are for standard I/O devices and PCIe are for high-speed I/O devices.

What is the easiest way to determine the function of a particular expansion card?

Look at the end of the card that fits against the back of the computer case. A network card, for example, has a port designed to fit the network cable. A modem card has one, or usually two, telephone jacks as its ports.

List four assurances that using a matching form factor for the motherboard, power supply and case provide.

1. The motherboard fits in the case
2. The power supply cords for the motherboard provide the correct voltage, and the connectors match the connections on the board.
3. The holes in the motherboard align with the holes in the case for anchoring the board to the case.
4. Holes in the case align with ports coming off the motherboard.
5. For some form factors, wires for switches and lights on the front of the case match up with connections on the motherboard.
6. The holes in the power supply align with holes in the case for anchoring the power supply to the case.

Describe the FlexATX form factor.

A variation of MicroATX, allows for maximum flexibility (hence the name) and can be a good choice for custom systems. A FlexATX motherboard can measure up to 9" x 7.5" and is commonly used in slimline & all-in-one systems.

Describe the purpose of a notebook case.

Notebook cases are used for portable computers that have all the components of a desktop computer. The cost and power of notebook systems vary widely. As with other small systems,
notebooks can present difficulties in expansion. The smallest notebook cases are called netbooks. Notebook designs are often highly proprietary, but are generally designed to conserve space, allow portability, use less power, and produce less heat. The case fan in a notebook usually attaches to a thermometer and runs only when temperature needs to be lowered.

List the four categories of devices that stand between the AC outlet and computer equipment.

1. Power strips that provide additional outlets without providing any protection from changes in AC power.
2. Surge protectors which protect equipment against power spikes or surges.
3. Line conditions that condition or smooth out the highs and lows in power.
4. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) that provide backup power when the AC fails.

Describe a smart UPS.

Also called an intelligent UPS, can be controlled by software from a computer. For example, from the front panel of some UPSs you can check for a weak battery, but with a smart UPS, you can perform the same function from utility software installed on your computer. To accommodate this feature, a UPS has a USB connection to the PC and a microprocessor on board. Some activities this utility software and a smart UPS can do include the following:
a) Diagnose the UPS.
b) Check for a weak battery.
c) Monitor the quality of electricity received.
d) Monitor the percentage of load the UPS is carrying during a blackout.
e) Automatically schedule the weak-battery test or UPS diagnostic test.
f) Send an alarm to workstations on a network to prepare for a shutdown.
g) Close down all servers protected by the UPS during a blackout.
h) Provide pager notification to a facilities manager if the power goes out.
i) After a shutdown, allow for startup from a remote location over the Internet.

List three essential tools that you will need to take apart a computer.

1. Ground bracelet, ground mat, or ground gloves to use when working inside the computer case.
2. Flathead screwdriver
3. Phillips or cross-head screwdriver
4. Pen / paper

Describe how to remove an expansion card.

Don't touch the chips. Hold expansion cards by the edges. Don't touch any soldered components on a card, and don't touch the edge connectors unless it's absolutely necessary. This helps prevent damage from static electricity.

List the steps of putting a computer back together.

1. Install components in the case in this order: power supply, drives, motherboard, and cards. When installing drives, know that for some systems, it's easier to connect data cables to the drives and then slide the drives into the bay. If the drive is anchored to the bay with screws, be careful to align the front of the drive flush with the front of the case before installing screws.
2. Connect all data and power cables. Before you replace the cover, take a few minutes to double-check each connection to make sure it is correct and snug.
3. Plug in the keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
4. In a classroom environment, have the instructor check your work before you power up.
5. Turn on the power and check that the PC is working properly. If the PC does not work, most likely the problem is a loose connection. Just turn off the power and go back and check each cable connection and each expansion card. You probably have not solidly seated a card in the slot. After you have double-checked, try again.

List five simple things to consider when attempting to solve a PC problem.

1. If you smell any burnt parts or odors, don't try to turn the system on. Identify the component that is fried and replace it.
2. Is the power cord plugged in? If it is plugged into a power strip or surge suppressor, is the device turned on and also plugged in?
3. Is the power outlet controlled by a wall switch? If so, is the switch turned on?
4. Are any cable connections loose?
5. Is the circuit breaker blown? Is the house circuit overloaded?
6. Are all switches on the system turned on? Computer? Monitor? Uninterruptible power supply?
7. When you first plug up power to a system and hear a whine coming from the power supply, the power supply might be inadequate for the system or there might be a short. Don't press the power button to start up the system. Unplug the power cord so that the power supply will not be damaged. The next step is to open the case and search for a short. If you don't find a short, consider upgrading the power supply.

List four symptoms that might indicate an intermittent problem with the electrical system after the boot.

1. The computer stops or hangs for no reason. Sometimes it might even reboot itself.
2. Memory errors appear intermittently.
3. The keyboard stops working at odd times.
4. The motherboard fails or is damaged.
5. The power supply overheats and becomes hot to the touch.
6. The power supply fan becomes very noisy or stops.

Describe the AMD Socket A.

Used by processor familes: Athlon, Sempron, & Duron.
462 holes for pins (PGA)
Works with DDR memory.
Rarely sold today.

Discuss the high-performance chipsets.

The X58 chipset supports the Intel LGA1366 socket, the Core
i7 processors, and PCI Express Version 2. It can also support either SLI or CrossFire technologies. (SLI and CrossFire are two competing technologies that allow for multiple video cards installed in one system.) The X58 chipset does not control memory because the memory controller is embedded in the Core i7 processor. The 975X Express chipset supports the Pentium Extreme Edition processor, multiple video cards, and up to 8 GB of memory.

Discuss the mainstream desktop chipsets.

The P45, P43, P35, G45, and G31 chipsets support Core
2 Quad and Core 2 Duo Intel processors. P45, P43, and G45 can support up to 16 GB of DDR3 or DDR2 memory. The P35 chipset supports up to 8 GB of DDR3 or DDR2 memory. It also supports the Core 2 Extreme processor. The G31 chipset supports up to 4 GB of DDR2 memory. The Q45 chipset uses DDR3 or DDR2 memory and supports the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors. All these chipsets use socket LGA775. Value desktops. The 910GL, 845E, 845G, and 865G chipsets support the Pentium 4, Celeron, and Celeron D processors in low-end systems. The 910GL chipset uses the LGA775 socket. The 845E, 845G, and 865G chipsets use the 478PGA socket. All these chipsets use DDR memory.

Discuss the value desktops.

The 845 and 845GL chipsets support the Pentium 4 or Celeron
processors in a low-end system using the 478PGA socket. They support up to 2 GB of DDR memory.

List the significant chipsets by AMD.

The AMD 7-series (AMD 790FX, 790X, 790GX, 780, and 770) chipsets are designed with the gamer, hobbyist, and multimedia enthusiast in mind. They focus on good
graphics capabilities and support overclocking.
The AMD 580X Crossfire chipset supports ATI CrossFire.
The AMD 780V chipset is designed for business needs.
The AMD 740G and 690 chipsets are designed for low-end, inexpensive systems.

Discuss why Intel currently dominates the chipset.

It knows more about its own Intel processors than other manufacturers do, and it produces the chipsets most compatible with the Intel family of processors. Intel's investment in research and development also led to the creation of the PCI bus, the universal serial bus (USB), the AGP bus for video cards, and the Accelerated Hub Architecture.

List and describe the four kinds of cargo that the embedded wires on the bottom of the motherboard carry.

1. Electrical power: Chips on the motherboard require power to function. These chips tap into a bus's power lines and draw what they need.
2. Control signals: Some wires on a bus carry control signals that coordinate all the activity.
3. Memory addresses: Components pass memory addresses to one another, telling each other where to access data or instructions. The number of wires that make up the memory address lines of the bus determines how many bits can be used for a memory address. The number of wires thus limits the amount of memory the bus can address.
4. Data: Data passes over a bus in a group of wires, just as memory addresses do. The number of lines in the bus used to pass data determines how much data can be passed in parallel at one time. The number of lines depends on the type of processor and determines the number of bits in the data path. (Remember that a data path is the part of the bus on which the data is placed; it can be 8, 16, 32, 64, or more bits wide.)

Discuss the PCI-X.

The next evolution of PCI is PCI-X, which has had three major revisions; the latest is PCI-X 3.0. All PCI-X revisions are backward compatible with conventional PCI cards and slots, except 5-V PCI cards are no longer supported. PCI-X is focused on technologies that target the server market; therefore, it's unlikely you'll see PCI-X slots in desktop computers. Motherboards that use PCI-X tend to have several different PCI slots with some 32-bit or 64-bit slots running at different speeds. For example, Figure 3-13 shows a motherboard with three types of slots. The two long green slots are PCI-X; the three white slots are PCI, and the one offset lime green slot is AGP. The two PCI-X slots can use most 32-bit and 64-bit PCI or PCI-X cards. PCI-X is being replaced by PCI Express.

Discuss what you should do while you are in BIOS set up when installing a motherboard.

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Discuss setting password protection to BIOS setup and to the system.

Access to a computer can be controlled using a startup password, sometimes called a user password or power-on password. If the password has been enabled and set in BIOS setup, the startup BIOS asks for the password during the boot just before the BIOS begins searching for an OS. If the password is entered incorrectly, the boot process terminates. The password is stored in CMOS RAM and is changed by accessing the setup screen. (This password is not the same as the OS password.)

List and describe the three basic components of a processor.

I/O unit: manages data & instructions entering and leaving the processor.
Control unit: manages all activities inside the processor itself.
ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit): does all logical comparisons and calculations.

Explain the purpose of throttling.

Throttling can prevent a system from overheating, reduce power consumption when processing demands are low.

Describe the AMD processors.

AMD stands for Advanced Micro Devices. These processors are generally less expensive than Intel, and are geared towards gaming and hobby markets. They also use different sockets than Intel so they require a specific motherboard.

Explain field replaceable units.

A component in a computer or device that can be replaced with a new component without sending the computer or device back to the manufacturer. Examples: PSU, DIMM, motherboard, optical drive

Describe symptoms that indicate that a motherboard or processor is failing.

The system begins to boot but then powers down. Error message during boot. System becomes unstable, hangs, or freezes at odd times (could be other things). Intermittent Windows or HD errors. Components on motherboard or connected devices don't work.

List three symptoms of system overheating.

System hangs or freezes moments after boot starts. Windows error during boot (BSOD). No fan running or fan whining. No airflow into/out of case.

Describe how a case is designed for optimal airflow.

Cool air is drawn into the case and over components, warm air is blown out.

Discuss why a case needs room to breathe.

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If you try all of the basic things to correct an overheating problem, describe more drastic solutions that you can attempt.

Install another exhaust fan, install chassis air guide.

Describe a chassis air guide.

A round air duct that helps to pull and direct fresh air from outside the case to the cooler and processor. Should reach inside the case very close to the cooler, but not touching. No more than 20mm, no less than 12mm.

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