PC Architecture. Preface
Copyright Michael Karbo and ELI Aps., Denmark, Europe.
Welcome to a guide which has very been exciting to write. I have spent many years learning tounderstand PC’s and how they work, and this knowledge has been my starting point. I started workingwith computers in about 1983, and in 1986 I bought my first PC – a small, cheap, British computer (an “Amstrad Joyce”), with a whopping 256 KB RAM and 140 KB diskettes to store programs on. It was aglorious little machine which I used to write a lot of teaching material. As one of the very first things Idid, I naturally tried to take the machine apart – the little bit I then dared. In 1987 I got a job whichinvolved working with real PC’s (Olivetti’s), and this gave me real opportunities to repair, assemble andinvestigate the various components of a computer.Since then, I have spent years studying the relationship between PC hardware and system software(BIOS, drivers and operating system). A subject which I found fascinating and which I still believe isimportant to understand. This lead to my first computer book, “The PC-DOS Book”, which waspublished in January 1993. Since then I have published about 45 guides, on the pc hardware andsoftware.In 1996 I again began this book. Initially I decided to collect all my articles together on the “Click andLearn” website. The material was extended and translated into both English and German. One of theadvantages of the web medium is that the author can continually update the material. And now, aftermany years, I am finally ready with the ”PC Architecture” book. I hope you like it!
This guide is written in easy language and contains a lot of illustrations. It should therefore not be toodifficult to understand the content. However, I am assuming that the reader already has some practicalexperience with PC’s and is familiar with the most basic computer jargon (bits, bytes, RAM, etc.). Ihave also assumed some knowledge of Windows and the various system tools. Most PC’s can easily bedismantled without needing special tools, and you should at least take the “lid” off your PC so that youcan familiarise yourself with the electronics, preferably with a torch in hand. I’m not expecting you toimmediately launch off into the complete disassembly of your PC into its individual pieces. You arewelcome to do this, but at your own risk.However, I would like to give you enough insight into and confidence about your PC’s workings thatyou would dare to upgrade your PC, for example, with a new hard disk or more RAM. And if you shouldend up building your next PC yourself, I would be more than satisfied.
Structure of this guide
My explanations will shift from descriptions of the big picture to much more detailed analysis – andback again. After focusing on chips deep inside your PC, we may change perspective to more generaland holistic observations, only to dig down again into the centre of some or other small circuit. My goalhas been to keep my explanations at the popular level, and easy to understand – all the way through.As I mentioned, this guide can be a great support tool for people who simply wish to build PC’s