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A+ Certification Exam Guide Extracts

A+ Certification Exam Guide Extracts

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Published by: Obakoma Josiah on Jul 16, 2012
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A+ All-In-One Certification Exam Guide, 3rd Edition
by Michael Meyers
$59.99; ISBN: 0072126795
A+ All-In-One Certification Exam Guide, 3rd Edition
by Michael Meyers
$59.99; ISBN: 0072126795
 Chaper 1
The Visible PC
In this chapter, you will:
See the major components of a PC.
Understand the different connectors in a PC.
Recognize the most common devices inside a PC.
Learn how to set jumpers and switches.
Mastering the craft of the PC Technician requires you to learn a lot of details about a zillionthings. Even the most basic PC contains hundreds of discrete hardware components, each withits own set of characteristics, shapes, sizes, colors, connections, etc. By the end of this book, youwill be able to discuss all of these components in detail.In order to understand the details, you often need to understand the big picture first. "The VisiblePC" should enable you to recognize the main components of the CPU and to understand theirfunction. You will also see all the major connectors, plugs, and sockets, and learn to recognize aparticular part simply by seeing what type of connector attaches to that part. Even if you are anexpert, do not skip this chapter! It introduces a large number of terms that will be used throughoutthe rest of the book. Many of these terms you will know, but some you will not, so take some timeand read it.
It is handy, although certainly not required, to have a PC that you can take the lid off and inspectas you progress. So get thee to a screwdriver, grab your PC, take off the lid, and see if you canrecognize the various components as you read about them.
! If you decide to open a PC while reading this chapter, you must take proper steps to avoid the greatest killer of PCs - Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).ESD simply means the passage of a static electrical charge into your PC. Have you ever rubbed a balloon against your shirt, making it stick to you? That's a classic example of static electricity. When that charge dissipates, we barely notice it happening or don't notice it at all, although on a cool, dry day, I've been shocked by a doorknob so hard that I could see a big blue spark! If you decide to open a PC as you read this chapter, jump ahead to the Power Supplies chapter and read up on ESD and how to prevent it - the life you save may be your PC's! 
 The Central Processing Unit (CPU), also called the microprocessor, performs all of the
calculations that take place inside a PC. CPUs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as shownin Figure 1-1.
Figure 1: Typical CPUs
Modern CPUs generate a lot of heat and thus require a cooling fan or heatsink in order to runcool. (Figure 1-2) You can usually remove this cooling device, although some CPU manufacturerssell the CPU with a fan permanently attached.
Figure 2: Installed CPU under a fan
CPUs have a make and model, just like an automobile. When talking about a particular car, forexample most people speak in terms of a "Ford Taurus" or a "Toyota Camry." When they talkabout CPUs, people say, "Intel Pentium III" or "AMD Athlon." Over the years, there have beenonly a few major CPU manufacturers, just as few companies manufacture automobiles. The twomost common makes of CPUs used in PCs are AMD and Intel, although other makers withnames such as Cyrix and IDT have come and gone.While there have been only a few manufacturers of CPUs, those manufacturers have madehundreds of models of CPUs. Some of the more common models made over the years havenames (or had - most of these names are obsolete) such as 8088, 286, 386, 486, Pentium,Pentium Pro, K5, K6, 6x86, Pentium II, Celeron, Athlon, and Pentium III. In the early years ofCPUs, competing CPU manufacturers would sometime make the exact same model, so you
could get an AMD 486 or an Intel 486 (Figure 1-3 ). This is no longer true, although some modelsfunction similarly, such as the Intel Pentium and the AMD K6.
Figure 3: One AMD 486, one Intel 486
CPUs measure potential performance with a "clock speed," much like an automobile has a(theoretical) top speed listed on the speedometer. Manufacturers determine the clock speed -measured in "Megahertz" (MHz) - at the factory. The first CPU used in PCs had a clock speed inthe range of 4.77 MHz. Today's CPUs have clock speeds around 1000 MHz. 1000MHz is equalto 1 gigahertz (GHz), so we often see the latest CPUs mentioned in terms of GHz. When talkingabout a CPU, people often cite the make, model, and clock speed; as in an "833-MHz IntelPremium III" or a "1.2-GHz AMD Athlon."Manufacturers produce CPUs of the same make and model with many different clock speeds.(Figure 1-4) One particular make and model of CPU may come in five or six different speeds! Themain reasons for picking one speed over another are the needs of your system - or the thicknessof your wallet!
Figure 4: Same CPUs, different speeds
Finally, CPUs come in different packages. The most common packages are called PGA (Pin GridArray) and SEC (Single Edge Cartridge). You cannot recognize a CPU solely by its package.Look at Figure 1-5. This figure shows two examples of the popular Celeron processor. Even

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