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PART 1 – THE PROCESSOR, MOTHERBOARD, SYSTEM BUS, AND BOOT
Your computer is a tool, just like a hammer or a wrench. Like a hammer or a wrench, a computer can help make tasks easier and allow you to do things previously thought impossible. A hammer is uncomplicated. Hammer maintance is simple: Don’t hit anything with the hammer that is harder than the hammer. If you want to upgrade your hammer you buy a new one. While the rule about hitting still applies, a computer can present many more complicated options when it’s user sets out to maintain and upgrade their loyal PC. Cars have been available to the mass market for about one hundred years. We are just now reaching a time where you don’t have to be or know a mechanic to own a car for more than five years. Computers are new. There has only been a mass home computer market for around fifteen years. They break and need to be worked on and they need to be properly maintained if they are expected to function correctly. Any person can learn how to properly maintain and update their own computer, thus Inside Your Computer, Computer hardware and Maintenance for Real People.
WARNING: Whenever you are working inside of your computer, make sure you ground yourself first. Computer components are sensitive and can be damaged by static electricity. To ground yourself, touch your computer's case, power supply, anything metal, or use a static bracelet.
but cannot electricity to function.The Big Three The hard disk is the computer’s long-term memory. making a processor upgrade the least upgradeable item. It is cost effective to upgrade your hard drive. . you probably need more hard disk and RAM space. RAM also needs of information. It can get data from the hard drive or from the Processor. RAM is a Microchip designed to store and send data. A graphics or sound card is basically a separate microprocessor with it’s own RAM. When your computer is making noise. slowing the computer. A newer processor would be rated at 300-500 MHz (million hertz). is the computer’s “brain”. The hard disk is made of a number of a flat rotating discs covered on one or both sides with some magnetic material. All program and file data is stored on the Hard Disk. or CPU. With small amounts of RAM. The processor is a microchip. and instructs components to do things. RAM is the computer’s short term or working memory. When stores pre-processed data you save a file. RAM also open a program it loads from the hard disk into RAM. The Processor does calculations. it saves on the that the CPU may need at a later time. hard disk from RAM. orders data. and makes good economic sense versus buying a new computer. it is usually the hard drive. A graphic card handles all the computations needed for 3-D graphics and frees the main processor to do other tasks. A normal PC’s Hard Disk has from 2-16GB (Billion Bytes) of memory storage space. When you The Processor gets most of its data from RAM. When upload or save very quickly. Processor speeds are measured in Hz (Hertz). By the time you need a new processor. a unit of measurement that measures cycles of electricity. More RAM gives the processor more data to work with. RAM (see right) and the hard disk work together. The speed of a processor is dependent on many things. A normal PC has between 32128MB of RAM. you turn off the computer RAM is wiped clean. Upgrading the processor is usually difficult. including its rated speed and it’s ability to receive information quickly from RAM. RAM can store data needed by the Processor. but cannot hold as much information as the The hard disk can hold a lot hard drive. Upgrading RAM is sometimes dramatically effective. too. the processor has access to less data. with marginal returns. itself. The Processor. RAM can upload or save data very quickly. When RAM is low the slower hard drive must continually feed data to RAM.
Again. MB stands for megabytes. huh? Munch. Mega stands for million. The only symbols your poor computer has in its language are zero and one. 0 and 1. Why does all this computer stuff make me hungry? Computers communicate in what’s called a binary language. A zero or a one is called a “BIT”—like a little bit of information. or eight million bits. we have our alphabet. A small “b” would have meant bits. the motherboard is usually a big green pressboard looking board on the inside of the computer. Bit and Byte. Ready for some more information? Eight bits equal a byte. Electric flow represents a one. It’s like Morse code. In English. but it’s not really important that you remember that. if you hit the “A” button on the keyboard the computer registers “00000001”. You’ve probably heard of a Megabyte. What is a Motherboard? A motherboard is the main circuit board of a personal computer. GB stands for Gigabytes or a billion bytes and KB stands for Kilobytes. and very little electric flow represents a zero. A Byte is a collection of eight zeros and ones. By the way. the computer makes up codes. Some people just like to know everything. there aren’t really zeros and ones floating around in the computer. a bit is a zero or one. So again. With these zeros and ones. If you have a 56K modem. so a megabyte is a million bytes. “Bi” means two and “nary” means number. forming a code that stands for one number or letter. Mb stands for Megabits. BIT is actually an acronym for Binary Digit. Located inside the PC. or a million bytes. That’s a lot of zeros and ones. twenty-six symbols with which we make up our language. a byte. . Computers basically have only two choices in their language. The capital “B” denotes bytes. For example.FIRST YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW THIS STUFF… A bit. It typically contains the CPU (central processing unit). cute. what does 56Kb stand for? Fifty-six thousand bits. your computer can take in fifty-six thousand zeros and ones every second. Megabyte is usually abbreviated “MB”. or a thousand bytes. So. munch. a zero or a one is called a BIT.
We will discuss the BIOS later in this book. and all the controllers required to communicate with standard peripheral devices. For this reason. Recent motherboards manufactured by Intel use only a Phoenix or American Megatrends (AMI) BIOS. OEMs also integrate the motherboards with other system components. serial and parallel ports. How to Install Your Motherboard This guide describes how to change a motherboard. keyboard and disk drive. expansion slots. Collectively. you can bypass this screen by pressing the Esc key. and case.BIOS (basic input/output system). just about everything is connected to the motherboard. memory. The OEM or the place of purchase will be most familiar with your configuration and its integration of both hardware and software. some of the chips which reside on the motherboard are known as the motherboard's chipset. then contact that manufacturer for support questions. How to Identify Your Motherboard When you turn on your computer that contains an Intel-supported motherboard. The OEM may customize the motherboard to their own specifications. If you see another manufacturer's name in the start-up BIOS area. you will see the BIOS (BASIC INPUT OUTPUT SYSTEM) identification string near the top left corner of the screen. Intel sells motherboards to various computer manufacturers known as OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). software. mouse. mass storage interfaces. You will need Except the motherboard you need to have • Compatible Case . You have to contact that OEM directly or the place where you purchased your system for support. Intel cannot support a motherboard distributed by an OEM. such as the display screen. If your computer displays the Intel® logo screen during system boot. Basically. This allows the display of the BIOS code. such as a power supply. disk drive. Descriptions may vary slightly from your computer because this guide is generic.
PC architecture is the main parts of the computer and the way they’re put together. Touch the computer's power supply once again. In With the New Place the new motherboard in the case. Initial Testing After you have connected every peripheral and cable. Attach everything that you removed. Screw the new motherboard down. Lift the motherboard carefully out of the case. Read the manual. no? Computer architecture is the manner in which the components of a computer or computer system are organized and integrated. Check the manual on how to remove the case. Prepare for Install Access you system setup ( BIOS ). Removed the screws holding down the motherboard. Follow the manual. Disconnect the cables from the add-in cards and take them out. Case Removal Ground your self. In the case some how label all the wires. Remove the hard drive cables. but make sure it’s off. Out With the Old Disconnect all the external peripherals. PC ARCHITECTURE An architect plans the way a building is made. and mounting supplies. Make sure all the mounting holes and computer ports line up. . Disconnect the power supply. It should be followed with errors. Remove the wires which lead to the case. Write down all the setting and parameters. turn the computer on. Remember to set all the jumpers. Windows should come up. You should see a new BIOS message. It may give you an error or New Hardware Found wizard. Turn the computer off. Basically. Leave the computer plugged in. I personally recommend masking tape. Exit the setup. Enter setup and enter all the data you wrote down from the old motherboard. After you removed the case touch the power supply to get rid of any static electricity.• Screwdrivers. Done When you entered all the data into the BIOS.
or if you have ever wondered about the differences between different microprocessors. whereas a display monitor or a printer is an output device. A storage device stores data permanently. which shuttles data back and forth between the main components INPUT / OUTPUT DEVICES An Input device is any machine that feeds data into a computer. The microprocessor is the heart of any normal computer. 2. such as a keyboard. 1. In depth explanations will follow for those of you that really want to know it all. or a laptop. An input device is a device that gives data to a computer. a keyboard is an input device. they also can be labeled as input & output devices too. . hard drive or tape backup are types of storage devices. quickly outlined below. and light pens are all alternate input devices. 3. whether it is a desktop machine. a K6. trackballs. no? THE PROCESSOR The computer I am using to write this book uses a microprocessor to do its work. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brains of the PC. A PC also makes use of a bus system. An output device is a device that receives data from the CPU. Mice. a Sparc or any of the many other brands and types of microprocessors. mouse. Such as a printer or video monitor etc. Easy. but they all do approximately the same thing in approximately the same way. a server. Input devices other than the keyboard are sometimes called alternate input devices. multiplied and divided. 4. a PowerPC. or scanner. If you have ever wondered what the microprocessor in your computer is doing.A computer can be broken into five functional components. A floppy drive. The microprocessor you are using might be a Pentium. Memory is a temporary storage device for data used by the CPU. then this part of this here book will be incredibly interesting. For example. even when you turn off the PC. Data is lost when the PC is turned off. This is where data is added subtracted.
Don’t worry if all the terms don’t make sense yet.500. The first microprocessor to make it into a home computer was the Intel 8080.You will learn how fairly simple digital logic techniques allow a computer to do its job. but it was amazing that everything was on one chip. The 4004 was not very powerful .64 MIPS 0. Remember that a bit is a zero or a one.000 7. you know that the PC market moved from the 8088 to the 80286 to the 80386 to the 80486 to the Pentium to the Pentium-II to the new Pentium-III.8 0. The first microprocessor was the Intel 4004.000 134.is a complete computation engine that is fabricated on a single chip.000 29.5 1. Name 8080 8088 80286 80386 80486 Pentium Pentium II Pentium III Date 1974 1979 1982 1985 1989 1993 1997 1999 Transistors 6. engineers built computers either from collections of chips or from discrete components (transistors wired one at a time).5 1 0.35 0. The 4004 powered one of the first portable electronic calculators. The first microprocessor to make a real splash in the market was the Intel 8088.000 9. Intel makes all of these microprocessors and all of them are improvements on the basic design of the 8088.000 times faster! The following table may help you to understand the differences between the different processors that Intel has introduced over the years.33 MIPS 1 MIPS 5 MIPS 20 MIPS 100 MIPS 400 MIPS? 1.000 3.100. but the Pentium-III runs about 3. whether its playing a game or spell checking a document! Microprocessor History A microprocessor .also known as a CPU or Central Processing Unit . This means that the 4004 could only processor think about for zeros and ones at a time.all it could do was add and subtract.000 MIPS? . The new Pentiums-IIIs can execute any piece of code that ran on the original 8088.000 1.000 275. and it could only do that four bits at a time. Prior to the 4004. If you are familiar with the PC market and its history.200. introduced in 1979 and incorporated into the IBM PC (which first appeared in 1982 or so). a complete 8-bit computer on one chip introduced in 1974.500.000 Microns 6 3 1.25 Clock speed 2 MHz 5 MHz 6 MHz 16 MHz 25 MHz 60 MHz 233 MHz 450 MHz MIPS 0. introduced in 1971. Just use it for an eyeball comparison.
Clock speed is the maximum rate that the chip can be sent information. You can see that the number of transistors on a single chip has risen steadily over the years. In the process you can also learn about assembly language . but you can get a general sense of the relative power of the CPUs from this column. A transistor is an on or off switch. of the smallest wire on the chip. . and is a rough measure of the performance of a CPU. From this table you can see that. Modern processors can often execute at a rate of 2 instructions per clock cycle. Transistors is the number of transistors on the chip. Modern CPUs can do so many different things that MIPS ratings lose a lot of their meaning. in microns. the number of transistors rises.33 MIPS (about 1 instruction per 15 clock cycles). There is also a relationship between the number of transistors and MIPS. The maximum clock speed is a function of the manufacturing process and delays within the chip. On is a “1”. there is a relationship between clock speed and MIPS.the native language of a microprocessor . off is a “0” Microns is the width. Many processors are re-introduced at higher clock speeds for many years after the original release date. MIPS stands for Millions of Instructions Per Second. go back and look at the table again! Inside a Microprocessor To understand how a microprocessor works. Now that you’ve read all this stuff. it is helpful to look inside and learn about the logic used to create one. in general. a human hair is 100 microns thick.and many of the things that engineers can do to boost the speed of a processor. That improvement is directly related to the number of transistors on the chip and will make more sense in the next section. For comparison. As the feature size on the chip goes down. Clock speed will make more sense in the next section.Compiled from The Intel Microprocessor Quick Reference Guide In the above table. the 8088 clocked at 5 MHz but only executed at 0. For example. the date is the year that the processor was first introduced.
Many modern processors have multiple instruction decoders. The trend in processor design has been toward full 32-bit processing power with fast floating point processors built in and pipelined execution with multiple instruction streams.A microprocessor executes a collection of machine instructions that tell the processor what to do. a typical instruction in a processor like an 8088 took 15 clock cycles to execute. As seen in the table. which means more than one instruction can complete during each clock cycle. Because of the design. Based on the instructions. it took approximately 80 cycles just to do one 16-bit multiplication on the 8088. a microprocessor does three basic things: • Using its ALU (Arithmetic/Logic Unit). That way it looks like one instruction completes every clock cycle. There may be very sophisticated things that a microprocessor does. instruction execution overlaps. This allows multiple instruction streams. This technique can be quite complex to implement. subtraction. In a pipelined architecture. each with its own pipeline. multiplication and division. so it takes lots of transistors. They stay one step behind each other. a microprocessor can perform mathematical operations like addition. There has also been a tendency toward special instructions (like the MMX instructions) that make certain operations particularly efficient. • A microprocessor can move data from one memory location to another • A microprocessor can make decisions and jump to a new set of instructions based on those decisions. Performance The number of transistors available has a huge effect on the performance of a processor. but those above are its three basic activities. no? All you really need to know is that these trends push up the . More transistors also allow a technology called pipelining. There has also been the addition of hardware virtual memory support and L1 caching on the processor chip. So even though it might take 5 clock cycles to execute each instruction. all of which we will discuss later in this book. there can be 5 instructions in various stages of execution simultaneously. Modern microprocessors contain complete floating-point processors that can perform extremely sophisticated operations on large floating-point numbers. Lots of new terms.
If you have a LIF socket you will have to use a chip pull. Make sure you get pin one into pin one of the socket. It is usually marked with an arrow or dot. It will usually have a CPU fan over it. Remove the screws from the case and pull off the cover. press it firmly into place. (a second processor to help the first) if your motherboard supports it. Make sure that the CPU you purchase is supported by your motherboard. 4. which no Intel processors use. 3. 2. be very careful in straightening them. Slowly work each side of the CPU up little by little to avoid damaging the fragile pins. for example a Cyrix 6x86 PR-200 requires a 75MHz bus rate. if you have a ZIF socket push the handle back down and clip it into place. An alternative is to buy an overdrive processor.transistor count. Locate the processor. Some of these processors can execute about one billion instructions per second! How to install a CPU 1. Simply lift it straight up and pull out the CPU. If you have a LIF socket. and you don't want to break them off. Next you need to remove the old processor. leading to the multi-million transistor powerhouses available today. a small tool available at any computer store. If you do bend the pins. Remove the fan from the CPU. Now you need to unplug your computer's power cord. Some processors require special bus speeds. there will be a lever on the side. Now you can put in the new processor. If you a ZIF socket. First you need to purchase a CPU. but usually it is more cost effective to just to buy a new CPU and motherboard. 5. . or they may break off.
Now you will probably have to set some jumper1 positions. bits take buses to and from the main parts of the computer. That's all you need to do. THE SYSTEM BUS The PC receives and sends its data in pathways in the computer called Buses. The point is. which connect the CPU with other components. that the system bus is the central bus. It is not completely correct. By placing a jumper plug over a different set of pins. which connects the CPU with RAM. but it shows the important point. These should be found in your manual. Replace the case cover and screw the case back together. since actual computer architecture is much more complex. There are different types of buses. a jumper consists of a plastic plug that fits over a pair of protruding pins. bus speed. as you can see in this illustration. usually CPU type.6. . you can change a board's parameters. They can be divided into: • The system bus. it connects to the I/O buses. A bus is usually a special wire or system of wires. and multiplier. that the I/O-buses usually derive from the system bus: 1 A Jumper is a metal bridge that closes an electrical circuit. 7. Typically. • I/O buses (Input / Output buses). Actually. Just like you take a bus to get to work. RAM is temporary memory and will be discussed in depth later on. allowing it to work.
etc. which connects the CPU with RAM. which can receive or send data (disk drives. • The SCSI bus. which is the newest bus.You see the central system bus. there are three or four different types of I/O buses: • The ISA bus. Here. A bridge connects the I/O buses with the system bus and on to RAM. I/O devices are those components. 4 different types of I/O buses The I/O buses move data. The four I/O buses will be described later. or plugs. most modems) and a parallel bus can send multiple bits at one time. which is oldest. simplest. • The PCI bus.). from which the others are branches: . capable of daisy chaining. or linking up to 127 peripherals. which is the fastest and most powerful bus. keyboard. (pronounced “skuzzy”) a fast bus. • The USB bus. which will be covered later on. The bridge is part of the PC chip set. It may in the long run replace the ISA bus. A serial bus moves data one bit at a time (mouse. They connect all I/O devices with the CPU and RAM. In a modern Pentium driven PC. They are configured to move data in a serial or parallel manner. and slowest bus. monitor. Most buses are serial. we will take a closer look at the PC's fundamental bus. Buses are connected to ports.
It is designed to match a specific type of CPU. The Bus speed describes how many cycles of these bits can move through the bus in a second. A 16 bit bus operating at 8Mhz can transfer 128 million zeros and ones (bits) every second. the faster the remainder of the electronic components must be. The system bus width describes how many bits. Processor technology determines dimensioning of the system bus. The system bus is the central bus. The speeds or cycles are measured in Megahertz (MHz). At the same time. so one megahertz means one million cycles of full bus widths can travel the bus in one second. At the fourth generation CPU 80486DX2-50 are doubled clock speeds utilized. Other buses branch off from it. A hertz is one cycle.The system bus The system bus connects the CPU with RAM and maybe a specific kind of highspeed memory called a cache. CPUs in the 80486 family 80486SX-25 80486DX-33 80486DX2-50 80486DX-50 System bus width 32 bit 32 bit 32 bit 32 bit System bus speed 25 MHz 33 MHz 25 MHz 50 MHz . The system bus is on the motherboard.77 MHz 8 MHz 12 MHz 16 MHz 25 MHz We see. or zeros and ones. that system bus speed follows the CPU's speed limitation. it has taken much technological development to speed up "traffic" on the motherboard. and “mega” means million. The faster the system bus gets. can move through the wire at the same time. The following three tables show different CPUs and their system buses: Older CPUs 8088 8086 80286-12 80386SX-16 80386DX-25 System bus width 8 bit 16 bit 16 bit 16 bit 32 bit System bus speed 4.
Using PC100 SDRAM a speed of 100 MHz is well proven and later the use of special RDRAM (discussed in the RAM section) will give us much higher speeds. which is 64 bit wide: CPUs in the System bus width System bus speed Pentium family Intel P60 64 bit 60 MHz Intel P100 Cyrix 6X86 P133+ AMD K5-133 Intel P150 Intel P166 Cyrix 6X86 P166+ Pentium Pro 200 Cyrix 6X86 P200+ Pentium II 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 64 bit 66 MHz 55 MHz 66 MHz 60 MHz 66 MHz 66 MHz 66 MHz 75 MHz 66 MHz 100 MHz bus The speed of the system bus increased dramatically in 1998.80486DX2-66 80486DX4-120 5X86-133 32 bit 32 bit 32 bit 33 MHz 40 MHz 33 MHz 66 MHz bus For a long time all Pentium based computers ran at 60 or 66 MHz on the system bus. .
665 III MHz 200 MHz 600. as well as almost every other part in the computer is designed to send and receive data at a certain speed. 400. So. II 450 MHz 100 MHz 250. A SCSI BUS is very fast and can daisy chain up to 127 peripherals. USB (Universal Serial Bus 32bit) is the newest (1998) fast bus type. 2. It allows for fast info transfer to the processor 3. to recap. 800 AMD K7 MHz A motherboard with a 100 MHz bus has to be well constructed with good power supply and many capacitors. or 32bit bus. To review. a bus is basically a pathway in your computer. CPU BUS Connects CPU and RAM only. video and audio. 500 Xeon MHz Intel Pentium 133 MHz 533. 16bit. scanners. 4. the I / O is the pathway between the motherboard & peripherals in any expansion slots. Most computers still around today run on an 8bit. I/O BUS (input output bus) also called Data Bus or Peripheral Bus.Processor System bus CPU speed speed Intel Pentium 100 MHz 350. SCSI bus (small computer system interface) The SCSI bus is the physical connection between a mandatory special adapter card & SCSI compatible peripheral devices. The CPU and RAM. Used for fax and modem. Can I upgrade my system bus? Probably not. Windows 95 is a 32bit operating system and runs slow on older 16bit computers. While it is . AMD K6-2 400 MHz Intel Pentium 100 MHz 450. 300. Some Bus Types: 1.
the motherboard chipset waits until the voltage is steady. the BIOS code can usually be upgraded by obtaining the latest BIOS code from the company that wrote the code (such as Award or AMI). Starting your Computer When a computer is first switched on. (For example. The PC looks for the OS in specific places in a specific order. When the computer first turns on. POST (Power On Self Test) The CMOS chip signals the CPU to check for peripherals. First it checks the “A” or floppy disk drive. The operating system (OS) loads. the DEL key. memory speed etc. CMOS chips require less power than chips using just one type of transistor. Personal computers contain a small amount of battery-powered CMOS memory to hold the date.) Hitting delete during start up can usually access the POST settings. CMOS is a widely used type of semiconductor. Results are compared to ROM BIOS on the CMOS. The system files are the basic files used to run the computer. an abbreviation of complementary metal oxide semiconductor. or better still from the company that manufactured the motherboard. . The ROM BIOS (Read Only Memory – Basic Input Output System) is permanent start-up information stored on the CMOS. then the hard disk. When the power supply indicates that it is steady. Pronounced see-moss. time. making sure everything is in present and in working order. the CMOS chipset is given electricity and starts the following sequence of events: 1. 2.possible to upgrade a system bus. However. (It is not recommended to upgrade the BIOS unless a specific problem relating to the BIOS is being encountered. DOS files are an example of system files. power is given to a set of chips called the CMOS.) The setup options are those that specify such things as the primary boot device. and system setup parameters. BOOT. then the CD ROM drive. The computer’s System files load. it is best left up to the experts and provides marginal returns. 3. It is not possible to modify the BIOS code. Pressing an appropriate button just after the PC is switched on accesses them.
Find the current CMOS battery. The better way is to use a software package such as Norton Utilities that stores a backup copy of your computer's CMOS settings on a floppy disk. 2. The lithium batteries installed in PCs for the last year or two should last five or six years. Some older PCs make it even harder on you. write down all the settings. There are two ways to save backup information. displaying a nonspecific error message that can make you think the machine has a major problem. This is particularly important for systems that are more than two years old. but batteries in older PCs have average lives of two to three years. There are many different types of CMOS batteries. types of floppy drives. A dead one usually displays a 'CMOS Read Error' or 'CMOS Battery Failure' message when you turn on your PC. CMOS batteries often die slowly.Your CMOS Battery The CMOS battery powers both the PC's internal clock and a CMOS memory chip that holds all the computer's crucial setup information. do it now--before you run into problems. although you'll still need to set the date and time manually. and memory size. and keep them with your PC's manuals. . And when it does. PCs built in the past couple of years or so should automatically detect all crucial system parameters when you install a new battery. you'll have a very hard time accessing your computer until you change the battery. How to Replace Your CMOS Battery Is your PC clock losing time? That's a warning that its CMOS battery is about to go. and their expected life span varies widely. such as hard disk parameters. That means your system has no idea how to start up because all the crucial parameters have been lost. back up your PC's setup information. Even if you're not changing your CMOS battery right now. If your system is more than a couple of years old and you haven't yet tackled the chore of replacing the CMOS battery. Save the settings. One method is to go through your PC setup screens.
Turn off your PC.net/~r800). though. is a thin battery about the size of a quarter that sits on the motherboard. Some motherboards have a permanently attached. As explained above. There are more than two dozen types of CMOS batteries on the market. If not.dallas. www. One of these is a small. A lithium button cell. If your PC has a permanently attached NiCd cell that's gone bad. Put a piece of masking tape inside the case with a note of the date you changed the battery. you'll get an error message. 4. Replace the battery. Two other battery types attach by a two-wire cable to a jumper on the motherboard and are located elsewhere inside the PC--usually with a Velcro fastener. Remove the old battery (you may first have to remove some add-in boards or move cables around) and put in the new one. and take a look around. you can buy one from Battery-Biz (800/848-6782. what type it is. Buy the right battery. 3. If yours doesn't. so check with your local recycling center. Your system vendor or a local computer dealer or may have the right replacement battery. More often. the other is a plastic holder that contains four standard AA alkaline batteries.If you're lucky. open the case. .battery-biz. restore them from the floppy disk. Get into its setup program and enter the date and time. it also likely has a four-pin connector to which you can attach a standard NiCd battery. which is about the width of an AA battery but only one-third its length. the most common type for newer systems. Turn on the PC. your system manual will tell you where the CMOS battery is located. the manuals say little or nothing about it. and how to change it. www. you'll have to type in the information. But make sure you don't just toss out the old cell: All batteries except plain-vanilla AAs may constitute hazardous waste.com) or Resource 800 (800/430-7030. you may have to change a jumper--check your manual. rectangular black box. you should replace it with a newer-style black box like the Ray-O-Vac 844. In rare situations. rechargeable NiCd battery. If your PC has an old-style holder with four AA batteries. If you used a software package to save the CMOS settings. they fall into a few basic categories. newer setup programs should automatically detect hard disk parameters and other crucial information.
Inside Your Computer Computer Hardware and Maintance for Real People PART 2 – MEMORY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAM .
When stores pre-processed data you save a file. and makes good economic sense versus buying a new computer. is the computer’s “brain”. RAM can store data needed by the Processor. too. When you The Processor gets most of its data from RAM.The Big Three The hard disk is the computer’s long-term memory. All program and file data is stored on the Hard Disk. A newer processor would be rated at 300-500 MHz (million hertz). By the time you need a new processor. making a processor upgrade the least upgradeable item. When your computer is making noise. The Processor. Upgrading the processor is usually difficult. slowing the computer. and instructs components to do things. It can get data from the hard drive or from the Processor. The hard disk is made of a number of a flat rotating discs covered on one or both sides with some magnetic material. RAM can upload or save data very quickly. but cannot electricity to function. A normal PC’s Hard Disk has from 2-16GB (Billion Bytes) of memory storage space. Upgrading RAM is sometimes dramatically effective. itself. RAM also open a program it loads from the hard disk into RAM. The Processor does calculations. RAM (see right) and the hard disk work together. The speed of a processor is dependent on many things. When upload or save very quickly. The processor is a microchip. a unit of measurement that measures cycles of electricity. with marginal returns. RAM also needs of information. hard disk from RAM. With small amounts of RAM. or CPU. A normal PC has between 32128MB of RAM. the processor has access to less data. RAM is a Microchip designed to store and send data. When RAM is low the slower hard drive must continually feed data to RAM. it saves on the that the CPU may need at a later time. but cannot hold as much information as the The hard disk can hold a lot hard drive. orders data. you turn off the computer RAM is wiped clean. More RAM gives the processor more data to work with. A graphic card handles all the computations needed for 3-D graphics and frees the main processor to do other tasks. A graphics or sound card is basically a separate microprocessor with it’s own RAM. RAM is the computer’s short term or working memory. It is cost effective to upgrade your hard drive. it is usually the hard drive. you probably need more hard disk and RAM space. . including its rated speed and it’s ability to receive information quickly from RAM. Processor speeds are measured in Hz (Hertz).
What is RAM? RAM is short for Random Access Memory. Sometimes old acronyms persist even when they don't make much sense anymore (e. your computer uses empty space on your hard drive to keep track of what's going on (called "paging to disk"). or memory size. is why having lots of RAM makes your computer run faster. RAM is considered to be the resources which your computer uses for all of its computations. RAM is much faster than ROM is. your computer is "going virtual" . If while surfing on The Web you notice that your hard drive light is constantly running or is blinking a good amount of the time. which make them slower. It's a temporary work area in which your computer uses. The volatility of RAM also means that you risk losing what you are working on unless you save it frequently. The amount of memory. the "AT" in the old IBM AT stands for "advanced technology”. but its problem is in getting that information in and out. RAM is also sometimes called read-write memory or RWM. RAM needs to be writeable in order for it to do its job of holding programs and data that you are working on. Obviously. in a general sense. RAM is the place where your programs reside while they're running and where your open files are stored before you hit the "save" command. so of course it is hardly ever used. If active programs and files take up more room than your RAM has available. The hard drive can hold lots of information. The data stored in memory is temporary. RAM can’t hold as much information as the hard drive. It's a better name because calling RAM "random access" implies to some people that ROM (discussed below) isn't random access. but if it can’t get that data quickly it doesn’t matter how fast it works. but it can transfer data very quickly. The processor can process data very quickly.g. RAM is called "random access" because earlier read-write did not allow random access. The hard drive moves slowly.. due to the nature of how it stores information. That’s where RAM comes in. RAM chips don't. which is not true. in a computer determines the number of programs you can run at once. to do work. Hard drives have moving parts. which. If you do not save the data. Memory size also determines how fast your programs will operate. it will disappear when you turn off the computer. Memory works like a blackboard that is constantly overwritten with new data. This is actually a much more precise name.
hence it shortens its life.as we call it. .. • Software Support: Newer programs require more memory than old ones. In many ways. or the other solutions discussed in the storage section of this book. RAM works at the speed of light and is therefor much faster than trying to access the information using your hard drive. back it up. just get it off the system for safe keeping! Memory plays a significant role in the following important aspects of your computer system: • Performance: The amount and type of system memory you have is an important contributing factor to overall performance. Internet Explorer uses 8 meg of RAM and Windows 95 uses 8 meg of RAM therefore you need a minimum of 16 meg just to be on the Internet. This does not take into affect the amount of additional RAM your machine maybe using to load additional programs when your machine "boots up". because insufficient memory can cause a processor to work at 50% or even more below its performance potential. . If that information is considered to be valuable to you. More RAM (Random Access Memory) means a bigger work area for your machine to do its work and less work your hard drive has to do in order to keep up with your demands. This means that your machine is trying to run the programs by reading them off the hard drive then writing back to the hard drive and so forth.. Make sure you back it up onto either a tape backup system. • Reliability and Stability: Bad memory is a leading cause of mysterious system problems. it is more important than the processor. . A hard drive uses mechanics in order to deliver the information you are requesting and it is therefor slower. The more RAM you put into your machine the better it should run. It also has to go through more stuff before it is viewed by the user (you). . Ensuring you have high-quality memory will result in a . This is an important point that is often overlooked. making it last longer. quicker response times to your requests and most importantly of all. More memory will give you access to programs that you cannot use with a lesser amount. This kind of activity puts a lot of extra wear and tear on your hard drive. Keep in mind that it is your hard drive which is the device that holds All of the information you are and have been collecting. is the fact that it saves your hard drive from doing a lot of extra work.
an acronym for single inline memory module. On PCs. Typically. These circuit boards are either: SIMMs. A SIMM has a 32-bit path to the memory chips whereas a DIMM has 64-bit path. It the two do not confirm each other the data is ignored and resent. SIMMs hold up 8 (on Macintoshes) or 9 (on PCs) RAM chips. Also. SIMMs are easier to install than individual memory chips. • Upgradability: There are many different types of memory available. which are small circuit boards that can hold a group of memory chips. the ninth chip is often used for parity error checking2. If the sum is even. short for dual in-line memory module. Making a wise choice can allow you to migrate your memory it to a future system or continue to use it after you upgrade your motherboard. Because the Pentium processor requires a 64-bit path to Parity checking refers to the use of numbers called parity bits to check that data has been transmitted accurately. In post transmission the byte is again added together and its sum is checked with the parity bit. If the sum is odd. The bus from a SIMM to the actual memory chips is 32 bits wide. even high-quality memory will not work well if you use the wrong kind. a 1 is added as the ninth bit. In this way parity checking is used to reduce errors. or DIMMs. SIMMs and DIMMs RAM is kept on a circuit board. The eight bits (zeros or ones) in a transmitted byte are added up prior to transmission. and some are more universal than others.PC that runs smoothly and exhibits fewer problems. the ninth bit is a zero. are small circuit boards that hold memory chips. 2 .
when energized. The reason that DRAMs are used is simple: they are much cheaper and take up much less space. In fact. then the DRAM will lose its contents. compact memory. whether the memory cell is being used at that time by the computer or not. To build a 64 MB core memory from SRAMs would be very expensive. they usually mean Dynamic RAM. All PCs use DRAM for their main system memory. Some computers use SIMMs. instead of SRAM. so they're not interchangeable. you can install memory one DIMM at a time. If this is not done regularly. the reading action itself refreshes the contents of the memory. With DIMMs. plus a capacitor. The overhead of the refresh circuit is tolerated in order to allow the use of large amounts of inexpensive. Due to the way in which the cells are constructed. Different types of RAM There are many different types of RAMs. which is a type of RAM that only holds its data if it is continuously accessed by special part called a refresh circuit. This refreshing action is why the memory is called dynamic. even though DRAMs are slower than SRAMs and require the overhead of the refresh circuitry. including static RAM (SRAM) and many flavors of dynamic RAM (DRAM). many years of using DRAM has caused the design of these circuits to be all but perfected. you need to install SIMMs two at a time.memory. DRAMs are smaller and less expensive than SRAMs because SRAMs are made from four to six transistors (or more) per bit. Dynamic RAM (DRAM) When people refer to their RAM. and some let you combine the two by providing both types of slots. It may seem weird to want to make the computer's memory out of something that can only hold a value for a fraction of a second. The capacitor. The refresh circuitry itself is almost never a problem. holds an electrical charge if the bit . Many hundreds of times each second. this circuitry reads the contents of each memory cell. even if it continues to have power supplied to it. DRAMs are both more complicated and slower than SRAMs. DRAMs use only one. typically 1/4 the silicon area of SRAMs or less. A DIMM has 168 contacts and a SIMM has 72. some use DIMMs.
repeated structures. • Speed: SRAM is faster than DRAM. These have evolved over many years of using DRAM for system memory. These capacitors are tiny. so there isn't the complexity of making a single chip with several million individually located transistors. SRAMs have the following weaknesses. The transistor is used to read the contents of the capacitor. DRAM is manufactured using a similar process to how processors are: a silicon substrate is etched with the patterns that make the transistors and capacitors (and support structures) that comprise each bit. the process of reading the contents of each capacitor re-establishes the charge. . This is why the refresh circuitry is needed: to read the contents of every cell and refresh them with a fresh "charge" before the contents fade away and are lost. compared to DRAMs: • Cost: SRAM is. so their charges fade particularly quickly. SRAMs are used for specific applications within the PC. • Size: SRAMs take up much more space than DRAMs (which is part of why the cost is higher). for as long as power is supplied to the circuit.contains a "1" or no charge if it contains a "0". DRAM costs much less than a processor because it is a series of simple. There are many different kinds of specific DRAM technologies and speeds that they are available in. where their strengths outweigh their weaknesses compared to DRAM: • Simplicity: SRAMs don't require external refresh circuitry or other work in order for them to keep their data intact. which must be refreshed many times per second in order to hold its data contents. and then it fades away. The problem with capacitors is that they only hold a charge for a short period of time. byte for byte. Static RAM (SRAM) Static RAM is a type of RAM that holds its data without external refresh. several times more expensive than DRAM. In contrast. and are discussed in more detail in other sections. This is contrasted to dynamic RAM (DRAM). Refreshing is done by reading every "row" in the memory chip one row at a time.
which uses only one (plus a capacitor). Unfortunately. and we would use it exclusively if only we could do so economically. which is why DRAM is used for system memory. for which it is perfectly suited. . is said to be asynchronous. it is much easier to make than a CPU. which controls how often the processor can receive data (discussed in further detail later). Asynchronous memory works fine in lower-speed memory bus systems but is not nearly as suitable for use in high-speed (>66 MHz) memory systems. This is one reason why RAM chips cost much less than processors do. and a certain period of time later the memory value appears on the bus. This type of memory is much faster than asynchronous DRAM and can be used to improve the performance of the system. DRAM Conventional DRAM. they are discussed below. cache memory needs to be very fast. SRAM is superior to DRAM. which is why SRAM takes up much more space compared to DRAM. all signals are tied to the clock so timing is much tighter and better controlled. called "synchronous DRAM" or "SDRAM". is synchronized to the system clock. Because an SRAM chip is comprised of thousands or millions of identical cells. SDRAM VS. and not very large. The signals are not coordinated with the system clock at all. a memory access is begun. SRAM is manufactured in a way rather similar to how processors are: highly integrated transistor patterns photo-etched into silicon. 32 MB of SRAM would be prohibitively large and costly. With DRAM. Each SRAM bit is comprised of between four and six transistors. SRAMs are used instead for special kinds of memory called level 1 cache and level 2 cache memory (discussed below).These advantages and disadvantages taken together obviously show that performance-wise. This refers to the fact that the memory is not synchronized to the system clock. of the type that has been used in PCs since the original IBM PC days. which is a large die with a non-repetitive structure. A newer type of DRAM. Note that there are several different flavors of both asynchronous DRAM and synchronous DRAM. It is more suitable to the higher-speed memory systems of the newest PCs.
this is not reliable and cannot be counted on. Its speed is rated in a slightly different way. Note that older memory running at 100 or 120 ns also used "-10" and "-12" sometimes. This memory hasn't been used in years so there really shouldn't be any confusion between the two types. "-10" or "-07". In addition to being referred to using a nanosecond speed rating. This is really the same thing as a “ns” rating. you'll see something like "-6" or "-60". 60 or 70 ns in speed.RAM Speed Most conventional memory referred to as RAM is DRAM or SDRAM. Of course. an . is fast becoming the standard in today’s personal computers. This usually means 60 nanosecond DRAM. Very old systems use even slower memory: 100. Most asynchronous memory in modern systems is 50. This is why many Pentium systems running on a 66 MHz bus will work with 70 ns memory. depending on total memory capacity and the size of DRAMs being used. just expressed in a different way: for example. a speed that represents the minimum access time for doing a read or write to memory. a PC doesn't have a single memory chip. or a billionth of a second). However. Older systems (386 and earlier) use usually 70 or 80 ns RAM. Conventional asynchronous DRAM chips have a rated speed in nanoseconds (ns. 70 ns is fine for 486 or older PCs. Systems running with a clock speed (speed the processor can be fed information) of 60 MHz or higher generally require 60 ns or faster memory to function at peak efficiency. If you look at the chips themselves. SDRAM. in practice many companies rate their DRAM conservatively. 120 or even 150 ns. most have dozens. so that the memory will function at a higher speed than what is indicated. which is quicker than DRAM because of its ability to perform multiple requests for memory at the same time. Since a modern PC reads or writes 64 bits at a time. and then into banks. each read or write involves simultaneous accesses to as many as 64 different DRAM chips. and the memory controller manages which sets of chips are read from or written to. The chips are arranged into modules. This includes the entire access cycle. The suffix found on SDRAM chips is often "-12". SDRAMs are also often rated in terms of their maximum cycles or jobs per second. There are two different ways that these RAM chips are rated for speed. However. in MHz. The rated speed of the memory is a maximum. DRAM chips are usually marked with their speed via a suffix at the end of the part number. even when set to 60 ns timing.
L2 cache is also called SRAM. As it is permanently attached to main parts of the computer. is made up of two groups of extremely fast memory chips that allow your computer to operate faster. 10ns. Internal cache (L1) is built into the CPU. the CPU checks the next-fastest source — L2. and external cache (L2) resides on the motherboard. Both L1 and L2 store data recently used by the CPU. compared above with DRAM. If the data is not there. 7ns. If the data still cannot be found.SDRAM module with a 10ns rating would be called instead a "100 MHz SDRAM". This MHz number is not the same as saying that the SDRAM with that rating is designed for a system of that speed.066 gigabyte transfer rates on a motherboard's 66MHz bus Available in 1999 FPM [Fast Page Mode] Used in older computers of up to the Pentium 100MHz typical speeds are 60ns and 70ns Fastest access speed in CPU cycles being 5-3-3-3 . When the CPU needs data. and 12ns Fastest access speed in CPU cycles being 5-1-1-1 DDR SDRAM [Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM] Allow 1. onehundred-millionth of a second per cycle. The Cache When referring to memory the cache. pronounced cash. it first checks the fastest source — L1. 100 MHz is 100 million cycles per second. A 100 MHz SDRAM may not function in a 100 MHz system bus PC. the cache is not upgradeable. a time-consuming search of the slower regular RAM is required. Types of RAM SDRAM [Synchronous Dynamic RAM] (The main type of memory in use today) Can operate at motherboard bus clocks of over 100MHz Can synchronize to the system clock Typical speeds 6ns. which is the reciprocal of 10ns.
RDRAM [Rambus Dynamic RAM] Can operate at motherboard bus clocks of 133MHz. MDRAM [Multibank Dynamic RAM] Slightly faster the VRAM Used only on video cards. WRAM [Windows RAM] Introduced on the Matrox Millenium video card Slightly faster the VRAM Used only on video cards. Can transfer data at 533Mb/s per channel Supports up to four channels for a total speed of 2132Mb/s Access speed of 2ns . and 680VP chipsets The fastest access speed in CPU cycles being 5-1-1-1 Pipeline Burst SRAM Used as the L2. 6ns. Typical speeds 45ns. 590VP. and 70ns Fastest access speed in CPU cycles being 5-2-2-2 BEDO [Burst Extended Data Output] Only supported by the VIA 580VP. but can perform simple logical operations Used only on video cards. 50ns.5ns. 60ns. and 8ns VRAM [Video RAM] Used only on video cards.EDO [Extended Data Output] Can operate at motherboard bus clocks of up to 83MHz. cache on motherboards Typical speeds are 4. or level 2. SGRAM [Synchronous Graphics RAM] Like SDRAM.
0Gb Being Created by Intel and Rambus to be faster then RDRAM Available in 1999 ~ 2001 Upgrading RAM Are you tired of waiting for applications to open? Plagued by "Insufficient Memory" messages? A RAM upgrade may be the answer. remove one of your existing RAM chips and bring it to the store with you. Get a little too rough inserting a module and you're liable to break it. including EDO. click on the Start button. If you can’t find it just make sure you know exactly what kind of computer you have. easiest. you may wind up taking a trip to the computer shop to have a new motherboard installed (a worst-case scenario. scroll up to Settings. which will show the current amount of RAM. Your user manual will have all of this info if you have it handy. First. Get the manufacturer's instructions for dismantling the computer's case. click on Control Panel. Each type has its own merits. and consult the documentation that comes with the RAM modules. You should see a listing for memory. This is probably the cheapest. For machines running Windows 95 or 98. RAM modules and the slots where they're inserted are both made of plastic.nDRAM To be released with the Intel Merced processor Expected transfer rates of 1. and SDRAM. Any computer store will be able to look up what kind of RAM you need. if any. call the manufacturer or try digging around on its web site. Even worse. you need to determine what type of RAM your computer currently has and how much. Worse comes to worse. but it's best to stick with what's already installed to avoid compatibility problems.6Gb to 3. double click on System and click on the Performance tab. There are many different types of RAM. if you break the slots they go into. . Be sure you don't need to do any special tricks to get access to the RAM. If not. First check your computer’s documentation to see what kind of RAM you’ll need. Just use firm pressure--don't force. and most noticeable improvement you can make to your computer's speed. fast page. to be sure).
Some manufacturers recommend different methods of installing DIMMs. except that. With SIMMs. your computer is most likely connected to other things that are plugged in. a monitor. which is the key to getting it to seat properly. You're basically rotating it into place by starting at an angle. be sure to install the inside one first or you won't be able to get them both in.While some manufacturers recommend keeping the computer plugged in while you work on it to keep it grounded. and so on. whether it's a toaster or a computer. take a few minutes and label everything using masking tape and a magic marker. If you're afraid you might not be able to make sense of that jumble of cables later on. You should feel it snap into place. Unplug everything and disconnect all of the cables that are attached to your computer. such as a printer. If it doesn't. Always handle RAM modules (and other similar components) by their edges so you're holding plastic. and you won't have any problems. What is ROM? . rather than starting at an angle and rotating the module into place. A pair of SIMMs go in the next two available slots. it's best to do it that way. It does take some pressure to get them installed properly. Push it slowly but firmly into the slot while angling it up until it's perpendicular to the motherboard and its edge is parallel to the existing modules. Also. you'll need to put it in the slot directly adjacent to the other module or modules. If you're installing a DIMM. For safety's sake. you need to push it straight in--perpendicular to the motherboard. If your computer's manufacturer recommends a different method. keep yourself grounded. check to make sure you have everything lined up correctly and try again. If you're installing a DIMM. hold the RAM module so it's at a 45-degree angle to the motherboard and lined up correctly with the slot (aimed down from the module in front). you don't want to be digging around in an electrical appliance that's plugged in. we don't recommend this route. If you're installing a SIMM. Avoid touching the metal contacts. If your slots have clips. sometimes they'll close during a failed attempt to install a module and will need to be reopened on your second attempt. the procedure is the same.
which is stored in a ROM called the system BIOS ROM. (It's technically possible with erasable EPROMs. ROM chips are also used to store programs for hand-held computers and nifty devices such as digital watches or. Once data is programmed into the ROM chip. There are two main reasons that read-only memory is used for certain functions within the PC: • Permanence: The values stored in ROM are always there.) Read-only memory is most commonly used to store system-level programs that we want to have available to the PC at all times. and the data it contains will still be there.ROM is a type of memory chip that does not lose information. these can be thought of as "mostly read-only memory" The following are the different types of ROMs with a description of their relative modifiability: . whether the power is on or not. it's just not possible. A hard disk is also non-volatile. there are times when being able to change the contents of a ROM can be very useful. ROM BIOS chips are used to store information for starting up your computer. Remember that when you first turn on the PC the RAM memory is empty. You are not going to find viruses infecting true ROMs. Having this in a permanent ROM means it is available when the power is turned on so that the PC can use it to boot up the system. even when the power is turned off. For this reason. but regular RAM is not. While the whole point of a ROM is supposed to be that the contents cannot be changed. though in practice never seen. for example. A ROM can be removed from the PC. it is called non-volatile storage. and then replaced. For example. for the same reason. as opposed to RAM which can be both read and written. its contents cannot be altered. ROM is a type of memory that normally can only be read. The most common example is the system BIOS program. so there has to be something for the PC to use when it starts up. stored for an indefinite period of time. There are several ROM variants that can be changed under certain circumstances. • Security: The fact that ROM cannot easily be modified provides a measure of security against accidental (or malicious) changes to its contents.
this refers to reprogramming the BIOS EEPROM with a special software program. When you hear reference to a "flash BIOS" or doing a BIOS upgrade by "flashing". but remember that this rewriting is done maybe once a year or so. and it is comparable in terms of its flexibility. which can be erased under software control. This product is analogous to a commercial software CD-ROM that you purchase in a store. and since RAM stands for "random access memory". In fact. compared to real read-write memory (RAM) where rewriting is done often many times per second! Note: One thing that sometimes confuses people is that since RAM is the "opposite" of ROM (since RAM is read-write and ROM is read-only). A little glass window is installed in the top of the ROM package. • Programmable ROM (PROM): This is a type of ROM that can be programmed using special equipment. much the way that a processor is. This is useful for companies that make their own ROMs from software they write. This is similar to the way a CDROM recorder works by letting you "burn" programs onto blanks once and then letting you read from them many times. • Erasable Programmable ROM (EPROM): An EPROM is a ROM that can be erased and reprogrammed. • Electrically Erasable Programmable ROM (EEPROM): The next level of erasability is the EEPROM. Here we are blurring the line a bit between what "read-only" really means. This is the most flexible type of ROM. Ultraviolet light of a specific frequency can be shined through this window for a specified period of time. but only once. this technology is analogous to a reusable CD-RW (discussed later). just like burning a CD-R (discussed later). Obviously this is much more useful than a regular PROM. and is now commonly used for holding BIOS programs. which will erase the EPROM and allow it to be reprogrammed again. Continuing the "CD" analogy. they think that ROM is not random . This is inflexible and so regular ROMs are only used generally for programs that are static (not changing often) and mass-produced. because when they change their code they can create new PROMs without requiring expensive equipment. through which you can actually see the chip that holds the memory. encoded in the silicon itself. it can be written to.• ROM: A regular ROM is constructed from hard-wired logic. programming a PROM is also called burning. but it does require the erasing light. It is designed to perform a specific function and cannot be changed.
. just not writeable.access. This is not true. RAM gets its name because earlier read-write memories were sequential. so it is random access as well. any location can be read from ROM in any order. and did not allow random access.
Inside Your Computer Computer Hardware and Maintance for Real People PART 3 – SAVE. SAVE. STORAGE SOLUTIONS . SAVE.
touch your computer's case. anything metal. .WARNING: Whenever you are working inside of your computer. or use a static bracelet. Computer components are sensitive and can be damaged by static electricity. power supply. make sure you ground yourself first. To ground yourself.
including its rated speed and it’s ability to receive information quickly from RAM. More RAM gives the processor more data to work with. The processor is a microchip. The Processor. the processor has access to less data. A normal PC’s Hard Disk has from 2-16GB (Billion Bytes) of memory storage space. A newer processor would be rated at 300-500 MHz (million hertz). is the computer’s “brain”. A graphic card handles all the computations needed for 3-D graphics and frees the main processor to do other tasks. RAM is the computer’s short term or working memory. Upgrading the processor is usually difficult. and makes good economic sense versus buying a new computer. RAM is a Microchip designed to store and send data. it saves on the that the CPU may need at a later time. slowing the computer. itself. A normal PC has between 32128MB of RAM. When stores pre-processed data you save a file. It is cost effective to upgrade your hard drive. It can get data from the Hard drive or from the Processor. The speed of a processor is dependent on many things. or CPU. RAM can store data needed by the Processor. Processor speeds are measured in Hz (Hertz). By the time you need a new processor. RAM (see right) and the hard disk work together. RAM also open a program it loads from the hard disk into RAM. When you The Processor gets most of its data from RAM. When your computer is making noise. A graphics or sound card is basically a separate microprocessor with it’s own RAM. All program and file data is stored on the Hard Disk. you turn off the computer RAM is wiped clean.The Big Three The hard disk is the computer’s long-term memory. it is usually the hard drive. RAM can upload or save data very quickly. orders data. hard disk from RAM. a unit of measurement that measures cycles of electricity. When RAM is low the slower hard drive must continually feed data to RAM. With small amounts of RAM. RAM also needs of information. and instructs components to do things. too. . but cannot electricity to function. you probably need more hard disk and RAM space. When upload or save very quickly. with marginal returns. making a processor upgrade the least upgradeable item. The hard disk is made of a number of a flat rotating discs covered on one or both sides with some magnetic material. Upgrading RAM is sometimes dramatically effective. The Processor does calculations. but cannot hold as much information as the The hard disk can hold a lot hard drive.
a hard disk is not that different from a cassette tape. Most computers come with one hard drive. Whereas disk access times are measured in milliseconds.they store changing digital information in a relatively permanent form. They give computers the ability to remember things when the power goes out. Understanding hard disk operation .The Hard Drive The hard drive is the primary device that a computer uses to store information. as opposed to the flexible plastic film found in tapes and floppies. How Hard Disks Work Hard disks have been around since they were invented in the 1950s. and it will "remember" the magnetic flux patterns stored onto the medium for many years.the magnetic medium can be easily erased and rewritten. Hard disks have a hard platter that holds the magnetic medium. Both hard disks and cassette tapes use the same magnetic recording techniques described in the HSW article entitled How Tape Recorders Work. These billions of hard disks do one thing well . Every mainframe and supercomputer is normally connected to hundreds of them. They were originally called "fixed disks" or "Winchesters" (a code name used for a popular IBM product). At the simplest level.and optimizing . They started as large disks up to 20 inches in diameter holding just a few megabytes. called drive C. Nearly every desktop computer and server in use today contains one or more hard disk drives. Both hard disks and cassette tapes also share the major benefits of magnetic storage . You can even find VCR-type devices and camcorders that use hard disks instead of tape. located inside the computer case. The hard disk can have a huge impact on the performance of your PC: The fact is that the rotating magnetic media of the hard disk is one of the severest performance bottlenecks.can eliminate teeth-grinding delays. system RAM performance is counted in nanoseconds. They later became known as "hard disks" to distinguish them from "floppy disks". causing second-long delays while fat programs spin off the disk and into RAM. Let's look at the big differences between the cassette tapes and hard disks so you can see how they differ: .
or they could be the records of a database. you have to fast-forward or reverse through the tape to get to any particular point on the tape. This can take several minutes with a long tape. • With a tape. the magnetic recording material is layered onto a high-precision aluminum or glass disk. Data is stored onto the disk in the form of files. Times between 10 and 20 milliseconds are common. The size of these domains is made possible by the precision of the platter and the speed of the media. a file is simply a string of bytes.• The magnetic recording material on a cassette tape is coated onto a thin plastic strip.000 inches per second (about 150 MPH or 225 KPH)! • The information on a hard disk is stored in extremely small magnetic domains compared to a cassette tapes.the amount of time it takes between the time that the CPU requests a file and the first byte of the file starts being sent to the CPU. A file is simply a named collection of bytes. • The seek time . In a hard disk the read/write head "flies" over the disk. the read/write head touches the tape directly. . the hard disk retrieves its bytes and sends them to the CPU one at a time. No matter what it contains. Rates between 5 and 40 megabytes per second are common. When a program running on the computer requests a file. A hard disk can also access any of its information in a fraction of a second. The hard disk platter is then polished to mirror smoothness. • The tape in a cassette tape deck moves over the head at about 2 inches (about 1 cm) per second. • In a cassette tape deck.the number of bytes per second that the drive can deliver to the CPU. On a hard disk you can move to any point on the surface of the disk almost instantly. There are two ways to measure the performance of a hard disk: • The data rate . A hard disk platter can spin underneath its head at speeds up to 3. or they could be the pixel colors for a GIF image. A typical desktop machine will have a hard disk with a capacity of between 2 and 8 gigabytes. In a hard disk. • Because of these differences. The bytes might be the ASCII codes for the characters of a text file. however. a modern hard disk is able to store an amazing amount of information in a small space. never actually touching it. or they could be the instructions of a software application for the computer to execute.
.The other important parameter is the capacity of the drive . as well as a highly filtered vent hole that lets internal and external air pressures equalize. The electronics also assemble the magnetic domains on the drive into bytes (reading) and turn bytes into magnetic domains (writing). Inside a Hard Disk The best way to understand how a hard disk works is to take a look inside.the number of bytes it can hold.] Here is the inside of a typical hard disk drive: It is a sealed aluminum box with controller electronics attached to one side. The electronics control the read/write mechanism and the motor that spins the platters. so this is not something to try at home unless you have a defunct drive. The electronics are all contained on a small board that detaches from the rest of the drive: Underneath the board are the connections for the motor that spins the platters. [Note that opening a hard disk ruins it.
A typical sector is shown as the darker section five rows from the edge.600 or 7.200 RPM when the drive is operating. It can be constructed using a high-speed linear motor. This arm is controlled by the mechanism in the upper-left corner. Either at the drive or the operating system level. The arm and its movement mechanism are extremely light and fast.it is an amazing thing to watch! In order to increase the amount of information the drive can store. most hard disks have multiple platters. which sectors are pieshaped wedges on a track. second row in. 256 or 512.Removing the cover from the drive reveals an extremely simple but very precise interior In the above picture you can see: • The platters. Tracks are concentric circles. • The arm that holds the read/write heads. Sectors Tracks and Clusters Data is stored on the surface of a platter in sectors and tracks. and is able to move the heads from the hub to the edge of the drive. which typically spin at 3. This drive has three platters and six read-write heads. like this: A typical track is shown as the colored ring. . These platters are manufactured to amazing tolerances and are mirror smooth. sectors are often grouped together into clusters. A sector contains a fixed number of bytes for example. The arm on a typical hard disk drive can move from hub to edge and back up to 50 times per second . The mechanism that moves the arms on a hard disk has to be incredibly fast and precise.
you will need to connect the cable to the motherboard. remove it from the master position pins and place it over the slave position pins. you will need to connect the data cable correctly to your new hard drive. you may have to select whether to install it as a master or slave before you actually hook up the drive in your system. To start. If you are replacing an existing drive or adding a second drive to an existing controller. The master/slave setting allows you to have two drives attached to the same controller. The first drive attached to the data cable (covered in the next step) will usually be the master and the second drive attached to that cable would be the slave. So check the installation guide for your new drive.Installing a Hard Drive Depending upon the drive you've purchased. Your motherboard should be imprinted with a “0/1” designation so that it is easy to see where the striped side of the cable should connect. or if you are connecting the new drive to a second controller. If you are adding the drive to a controller to which you have already attached the existing drive. Usually. Connect the cable so . The illustration below shows the master/slave jumper on a Western Digital drive. To change the jumper position from master to slave. In either case. So if you are replacing a single existing drive. Some newer drives will automatically choose master or slave status based on how they are connected. this involves changing a jumper. Most drives come set to be the master by default. you won't need to make any changes. turn your drive over and look at the printing on the circuit board to locate the pin settings for the master/slave jumper. If you are adding a drive to a second controller. the data cable will already be connected to your motherboard. Refer to your owner's manual for the specific details for the drive you have purchased. you will want to set your new drive as the slave.
with disk compression. use disk compression! Compressing your hard drive means squeezing down data and programs sizes artificially using software.specific files or your entire hard-drive. Buy another hard drive or get the upgrade in the first place. pictures. pay for it. It makes a 500MB drive "pretend" to have 1000MB of space by compressing the files when not in use and de-compressing (or inflating) the files when you need them. Unfortunately. you will really pay for it when the drive fails. While compression can be used selectively to archive single files or selective programs.under any circumstances. Determining what to save will play an important factor in this decision . That’s it. The components of a compressed hard drive have to do double-duty (squeezing or inflating) files which otherwise could be "read or written" to the hard drive in half the time. Otherwise. Now connect the other end of the data cable to the back of the hard drive. The hard drive’s "‘read/write" arm is therefore constantly moving around. There are two primary methods for doing a backup: online and on-site backups. . Compression’s hidden damage is the physical wear-andtear it causes on the hard drive parts. With a backed-up computer. this doesn't have to happen to you. Back-Up Your Hard Drive Backing up the files on your computer may save you a ton of headaches if you ever mistakenly wipe your hard drive. and its springs and bearings are doing more work than intended in a shorter amount of time. compressing the entire drive is a bargain with the devil. notes. again matching the striped side of the cable with the 0/1 pin position on the drive itself. many people don't take the time to do so. and programs. you can understand the frustration of losing all your important documents. If you need extra storage space. for whatever reason. If you've ever accidentally reformatted your drive.that the colored stripe matches up with the 0/1 pins on the motherboard. One way to back-up your system is to install another hard disk on your computer. You’re done! Disk Compression Do not .
arcoide. CD recorders can also be used for numerous other uses. but it is an alternative nonetheless. One such site is iDrive. A typical disk-imaging program costs between $60 and $100.com). For about $100 you can get a regular CD recorder (sometimes called Burners) which use blank CD's that can only be recorded once (these are the most secure). Two of these online backup companies include @Backup (www.com). The cost for re-writeable CDs is about $5 while the write-once versions are. The disks themselves usually cost around $15. An external Zip Drive will usually run you about $130. Blank CDs can hold up to 650MB worth of data. under a dollar apiece. erased and recorded just like floppies and hard drives. These drives use special disks that can store up to 100MB (Megabytes) of data. Two standard backup systems are Arco Computer Products' DupliDisk (www. Internet Back-Up You can also backup computer files utilizing the Internet. CD Recorder Another method of backing up computer data is to use a CD recorder.symantec.atbackup. and can be written over as many times as you need. you can store up to 100MB of data. Numerous online companies offer space for storing important data. you have to see their banner advertising and you get much less storage.intel.in addition to buying a disk mirroring or imaging system. There are even a couple of sites that offer free Internet Storage. Zip Disks If you want to back-up just your data files. about 25 Megabytes. you can think about buying a Zip Drive. backing-up or copy software. including saving files. Of course. or making music CD to play in your car stereo. many times.com .com) and Norton Ghost 2000 Personal Edition (www. For around $100 a year. There are two basic types you can buy. These systems allow you to clone your existing hard drive to the one that will become your backup. You can get a CD re-writable for about $200 that will allow you to use a special CD that can be recorded.com) and Intel's Answer Express Support Suite (www.
If there is a buildup around the drive. and make sure it is mounted properly.0. making your standard grinding noise. Damaged sectors: Damaged Areas on the Disk 2. Hard Drive Maintenance Scandisk scandisk checks your hard drive for efforts drive for errors. Don't position the computer where it will receive a constant external vibration to it. Bad Dates and File Names: Unorthodox date types and file Names . Sometimes the bearings will fail and start to grind against each other.idrive. Remember that the heads and platter are extremely close together (about 0.com). this will release coolant and cause potential problems). Another bad thing to do to hard drives is make a rapid temperature change. If your computer is running very slow you may want to run scandisk. causing the drive to overheat and behave erratically. a human hair is 100 microns). 3. make a backup of any important data and check into either having it fixed or purchasing a new one.(www.3 . What damages a hard drive? Dust is a major problem for the hard drive. Blowing out the inside of the computer using a can of compressed air once a year can help to avoid this (make sure you don't spray it upside-down.6 microns. Excessive vibration to the drive is also not a good thing. Scandisk check for three things: 1. If this seems to be the case. it can act as insulation. though. Condensation can build up inside the drive and quickly destroy it when you turn it on. Cross Referenced Files: The computer thinks two files are in the same place on the disk.
how fast?" If you find a bad spot or two on a surface scan. Make sure you keep your data backed up. You should back up your data and buy a new hard drive NOW! If you run it a second time and it does not find anything. it is time to start watching carefully. the key here is "Is the problem growing and if so. The following chart should help you to perform maintenance on your drive . it will ask you if you want to perform a thorough surface scan. A few bad spots (up to ten) is considered normal by most hard drive manufacturers. Watch for new spots.Click on "Start" After the standard scandisk is done. stop. Does it find more?. Run a surface scan every day and watch to see if it finds anymore. You should run a surface scan on a semi-regular basis because it will tell you if your hard drive is preparing to fail in the not too distant future. Hence the computer becomes slower. If it finds more. after it gets done. To use Disk Defrag double click “My Computer”. Windows will break up files and save them in these spaces. click the "Start" button Click on "Programs" Click on "Accessories" Click on "System Tools". You should always run Scandisk before you run Disk Defrag. Choose “Properties” from the drop down menu. Click on "Scandisk" Pick the drive (C:). then Right Click the “C” drive.To run Scandisk. causing the disk to spin further to re-load these broken up files. or it finds 15 or twenty. and puts them back in order. Defrag reorganizes all the files. This should give you an idea of how fast you will need a new hard drive. then Tools. run it again. begin running the surface scan at least once a week. If you run it everyday for a week or so and no more spots are found. Click “Defragment Now”. run it again when it finishes. Disk Defrag When files are deleted an empty space is left on the drive. During future saves.
Activity and What it Does
Scandisk - scans any disk (floppy or hard) for errors in file allocation or physical defects
Once a day - Standard scan (scans only file allocation for errors) Once every two weeks Thorough scan (In the Scandisk dialog box, be sure that Thorough is checked in the Type of Test area). Note: A Thorough scan will take a long time, so you might do this just before lunch break or over night. Use a Thorough scan every time you scan a floppy.
Once a month Standard scan Once every three months - Thorough scan Always after a system lockup that requires a cold or warm boot, or a reset.
1. Double-click on the My Computer icon located on the desktop
2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Right-click on the drive icon that you want to scan Click on Properties Click on the Tools tab Click on "Check Now…" in the Error-checking status area Be sure the drive you want to scan is highlighted; that the box next to "Automatically fix errors" is checked. Click Start Click on Close to finish Double-click on the My Computer icon located on the desktop Right-click on the drive icon that you want to scan Click on Properties Click on the Tools tab Click on "Defragment now…" in the Defragmentation status area If the drive you want to defrag isn’t the one listed at the top of the dialog box, click Select Drive… and choose the drive to defrag. Click Start Click on Close to finish.
Defrag - relocates fragmented files on the hard drive to place all the allocation units for a file adjacent to one another. Improves access time. Not typically necessary on floppies.
7. 8. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Once every two weeks Note: Defragmenting a hard drive can take a long time. You might want to start a defrag just before lunch.
Once every two weeks You should complete a Scandisk before you defrag .
Inside Your Computer Computer Hardware and Maintance for Real People
PART 4 – MODEMS, MONITORS, AND SCANNERS
In this part of Inside Your Computer we’re going to talk about some of the other stuff that doesn’t really fit into any other part of the class. Modems, monitors, scanners, expansion cards, ports, printers, and digital cameras—maybe even some other stuff… Ready? MODEMS Why does line speed matter? Line speed effects your total Internet experience. It’s all about waiting, folks. The faster your line speed, the less time you wait for web pages and data to load. Searches happen faster and the Internet provides a less frustrating experience. Business that use the Internet to transfer large files are most effected by line speed, but as the Internet moves into different aspects of our lives, line speed will become more important to everyone. When we all watch TV over the Internet— it’ll happen—our line speed will have to be fast enough to carry the massive amount of data needed to provide us with moving pictures and sound. At Learn iT! we employ high-speed DSL lines (discussed below). However, most of the sites featured in Necessary Internet are easily viewed on a lower speed home modem. What does “56Kb” mean, and what does my modem do, anyway? To answer this question, you must know a little bit into how computers work. As discussed in the part 1 of this class, computers communicate in what’s called a binary language. “Bi” means two and “nary” means number. To review, computers basically have only two choices in their language, 0 and 1. In English, we have our alphabet, twenty-six symbols with which we make up our language. The only symbols your poor computer has in its language are zero and one. With these zeros and ones, the computer makes up codes. For example, if you hit the “A” button on the keyboard the computer registers “00000001”. Aside from taking in a bunch of bits, what does your modem do? A standard modem helps your computer communicate over regular phone lines. Standard Internet traffic shares phone lines with people talking. An analog signal is a signal that travels in a wave, like a sound wave or a light wave. The voice bandwidth
Most new computers come with a 56K modem. you're tired of waiting hours for graphics to load through your old 28. You can upgrade to a 56K modem for as little as $25.00 (current prices). Installing an External Modem . cutting into our ability to communicate with each other.msn. How do I upgrade my modem to 56K? So. Internal modems generally cost less than external modems. The only major decision you need to make is whether to get an internal or external modem. and they take up less desk space. you can help yourself by upgrading to a 56-kbps modem.carries an analog signal. Who isn't? Limited bandwidth is a sad fact of life for most people who don't have access to cable or DSL service. have a website that will measure your download speed for free. The government wants to make sure that phone lines don’t become congested with Internet traffic. Your modem translates your computer’s digital signal into an analog signal so the information can be sent over a standard line. The modem also interprets incoming analog signals and converts them into digital signals your computer can use. Best of all.asp What are my line speed options? Standard Modem: Up to 56Kb Federal Law limits the speed of Internet traffic that one computer can create over normal analog phone lines. Microsoft.com/topics/bandwidth/speedtest500. But while you're waiting for technology to come to your hometown. public servants that they are. Almost all Internet service providers provide 56K service. It’s located at: http://computingcentral. a new modem is one of the easiest peripherals to install.8-kbps modem. some for as low as ten dollars a month. External modems are easier to install and to detach and take with you. It will speed things up. and it won't cost a mint.
double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon in the Control Panel. if not. Unless your modem is brand new. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): Up To 1. With an external modem. Once you've got that. connect the serial cable to the port on the back of your PC. Instead of sharing space with the analog voice waves a DSL modem sends digital signals over a different part or bandwidth of . phone lines. Now start up your system. physically removing the hardware is as easy as unplugging the serial cable. If your modem is Plug and Play (most new ones are). simply plug the USB cable into the USB port on the back of your system (the port should be labeled. If Windows doesn't have the correct drivers. check the manual). and get the appropriate cable. A DSL Internet line uses a different bandwidth on the phone line you already have. Windows 95 or 98 may have the drivers for it already.You'll need to remove the software for your old modem.) Check whether you have a 9. If your modem uses a serial cable. and click Add/Remove. plug in the power supply. Then shut down your system.or 25pin serial port. locate and select the software for your old modem. make sure you have the proper cable. Windows will tell you that it has detected new hardware and proceed to locate and install the appropriate drivers. and then attach the phone line to the modem's jack. and unplug all the cables. Then run your phone cord from the phone to the jack labeled phone on the back of the modem. If your modem and computer are USB compatible (USB and other ports are discussed later in this section). it will prompt you to install the floppy disk or CD-ROM that came with your new modem. To do this. and power supply. 384Kb For Home Use The hottest new thing is DSL. Do so now. (Many modems do not include a cable.5Mb. You can buy it at any computer store for five to ten dollars. or they may come with the wrong kind for your computer. Now you're ready to install your new modem. and run a cord from the wall jack to the jack labeled line in on the back of the modem.
A DSL modem is usually made of an external modem (a box that sits outside your computer) and a network card (NIC Card).flashcom. The cost (usually around $400/mo) is higher than home service. though. you’ll know something is different. This means that home users can use the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time with only one line! On top of that. of course. most people can spend as little as ten dollars more a month and get Internet service seven times faster! Do the Math: Normal Service: $20/mo (phone line) + $20 (extra phone line) + $20. Considering that many people have two phone lines. a DSL line is always on. Most home DSL users can sign on at 384Kb. Some companies offer a free modem and installation with a service commitment. when you take into account that a DSL line can eliminate the need for an extra phone line. For home users DSL usually runs about fifty dollars a month. including Internet service.com/products/business/fastrak/dsl www. (DSL + Internet service) = There is a catch.the same phone line. Business DSL is available at up to 1.pacbell. The cost can be offset. You normally have to buy a special DSL modem and a network card ($100-200).com Can I install a DSL modem myself? Yes. though. Ask your DSL provider . The first time you look through twenty websites in the time it used take you to log on.00 (Internet service) = $60/mo DSL Service: $70/mo $20/mo (phone line) + $50/mo. DSL links: www.5Mb/sec. almost seven times as fast as with a 56K modem. one for the Internet and one for voice. DSL Internet service is more expensive for most users. but is still a bargain when compared to other high-speed options. Never again will the evil modem screech of death invade your home.
The phone company may still need to come out to slightly modify your wall jack. With speeds of up to 36 Mbps. was the first successful system that supported digitized voice transmission. Because it works with your existing TV cable. While similar in some respects to a traditional analog modem. That means that even though it may provide fast service. Try to sign on during the Super Bowl… Cable modems usually run about $40/mo. but is available in other bay area locations. but basically the line goes from the wall. Cable Modems You can also receive high-speed Internet access from your cable TV network. out of the modem and into your computer. providing 44. The more people using cable internet service and the more people watching cable TV the slower the service. It is not a guaranteed service. it doesn't tie up a telephone line. the T-3 line. including Internet service. which is the rental of some portion of the 24 channels in a T-1 line.S. The system uses four wires and provides full-duplex capability (two wires for receiving and two for sending at the same . The original transmission rate (1. T-1 & T-3 Lines The T-carrier system. cable service is not yet available in San Francisco. into the modem. a cable modem is significantly more powerful. or line. with the other channels going unused.544 Mbps) in the T-1 line is in common use today in Internet service provider connections to the Internet.736 Mbps. Another frequently installed service is a fractional T-1 line. Cable modems are devices that allow high-speed access to the Internet via a cable television network. Another level.which kind you need before you buy it (there are different kinds). in the 1960s. The T-carrier system is entirely digital. Sadly. is also commonly used by ISPs. Cable modems have some drawbacks. capable of delivering data approximately 500 times faster. was introduced by the Bell System in the U. cable modems can download data in seconds that might take days with a standard dial-up connection. your cable company doesn’t guarantee speedy lines.
You will find ports in the back of your computer and on the inside. Traditionally. Earlier (in part 1) we discussed the different bus types that shuttle information along. SCSI PORTS Unfortunately.time). optical fiber. For example. Different ports are sometimes better to use than others. If you buy a type your computer doesn’t support you will either be out of luck or end up buying all kinds of new equipment needed to allow you to use your new toy. as expansion ports. Read the box before you buy something to find out what kind of port it uses. and other media. or about 20 times faster than a serial port. both systems leave much to be desired The SCSI port provides very fast (5 megabytes/second or faster) connections to as many as 7 external and internal devices! . There are different types of ports to go along with the different types of buses that plug into them. Parallel Ports The second method is the parallel port. PORTS AND EXPANSION SLOTS A port is a plug. and requires a separate port for each device. A number are possible. PC-based computers have used two techniques to attach external peripherals devices such as scanners and printers. which allows transfers of about 200 kilobytes/second. (The four wires were originally a pair of twisted-pair copper wires. Serial Ports The first method of connection is the serial port. digital microwave. The parallel port also only supports one device per port. which provides up to 115kilobits/second-transfer rate. but can now also include coaxial cable. They look like vacant plugs. You will mostly be concerned with port types when buying peripherals like a scanner or a printer. although clever switching techniques can partially alleviate that problem. a USB port will work a scanner faster than a parallel port.
graphics capabilities. scanners. it's also possible to build USB hubs into keyboards. and USB hubs in monitors and keyboards. if you buy something like a modem or a graphics card. The USB connector itself is a small trapezoidal locking connector which can't be inserted upside-down. More importantly.As popular as SCSI has become. The USB is slower than SCSI. and add-ons. it will go in an expansion slot. The trick is this: If it looks like it’ll fit. it probably will. Cabling problems have been the source of many errors and lockups on systems that use SCSI to communicate with external peripherals. The boards inserted into the expansion slots are called expansion boards. this expansion standard allows for transfer rates up to 12 megabits/second. and SCSI cable and connector requirements are very strict. USB-to-serial port converters. but faster than the alternatives and much cheaper than SCSI. . external LS120 removable drives. Since the USB port also provides electrical power. Current USB devices include mice. Basically. desktop video cameras. USB Ports In an attempt to alleviate the costs and complexity of SCSI while providing a flexible and fast expansion port. the Universal Serial Bus was proposed at a conference in 1995. cards. Nearly all personal computers except portables contain expansion slots for adding more memory. gamepads. some devices won't require additional power adapters or cables. SCSI devices are typically more expensive than their parallel port counterparts. monitors and other devices. and other new peripherals. joysticks. about 5 times faster than a parallel port or 100 times faster than a traditional serial port. Abbreviated USB. Although you can purchase a USB hub as an independent device. expansion cards . Expansion Slots An expansion slot is an opening inside a computer where a circuit board can be inserted to add new capabilities to the computer. and support for special devices. keyboards. the costs of SCSI can be substantial. Future USB devices will include external modems. but DON’T FORCE IT. a single USB port can be split into several more USB ports via a USB hub. add-ins .
For example. graphical. Video & Sound Cards A video or a sound card is basically a separate computer with it’s own processor and RAM. Macintosh equipment has always been plug and play. At this point. and PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) which is a 32 bit interface between the expansion card and the PC bus. Prepare the expansion card for installation and remove the computer cover according to the instructions in your computer manual. A circuit board you can install in your computer to add a new feature. SOUND CARDS. ECT So. Also called an expansion board. You don’t need to worry about which is which until you start filling up your slots. that’s what. what goes in these slots? Expansion cards. Plug and Play eliminates complicated installation procedures. a network card. CARDS – VIDEO CARDS. you should read the documentation that came with the expansion card for . it shuttles the instruction out to the appropriate card for processing. When the computer sees an video. An Expansion Card can be a peripheral device for your computer such as modem.Plug and Play Plug and play is the computers ability to add new features to a computer and immediately use them. windows does the same thing now. TV tuner or it could just be some kind of interface to connect to a peripheral device such as a SCSI card. or sound instruction. printer port or serial port. 1. an expansion card can add CD-quality sound or a modem. This leaves the main processor free to do other things. Installing an Expansion Card The most common Expansion Cards in the market come in two type of interfaces: ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) which can be 8 bit or 16 bit.
or other information for your system. and won’t get in the way of other cards. secure the bracket with the screw you removed on the metal filler bracket. Insert the card edge connector firmly into the expansion slot on the motherboard.information on configuring the card. first check and see if there is enough support on the back of the motherboard to resist the pressure. If the card won’t go in. When the card is firmly seated in the slot and the card-mounting bracket is flush with the brackets on either side of it. making internal connections. Windows 95 will recognize and configure the card for your system. 9. 4. Choose the slot for the expansion card. try rearranging the cards so that they will fit. . If so. pick any of the long slots on the motherboard. If the expansion card is full-length and extends to the front wall of the chassis. If you are installing an ISA card. reconnect your computer and peripherals to their power sources. 5. Gently push the card straight down into the slot while you fit the metal card-mounting bracket into the card slot opening on the back panel of the chassis. 7. 6. Remove the metal filler bracket that covers the card slot opening for the expansion slot you intend to use. If you are using a PCI slot. See the documentation that came with the card for information on its cable connections. Be very careful. 8. you should check that the card doesn’t interfere with any other card or cable. don’t force it or you may damage the motherboard. Always refer to the documentation. 2. and turn them on. Replace the computer cover. Before choosing just any slot. Connect any cables that should be attached to the card. pick any of the short slots. then slide the card into the chassis. Assuming the card is Plug-and-Play compatible (almost all are) (PnP). insert the front end of the expansion card into the corresponding card guide on the inside of the front chassis wall. 3. Remember to save the screw because you will be using it to install the expansion card. which came with your specific card.
or which doesn't support high resolutions and refresh rates. CPUs. so modern monitors are often called "RGB" monitors because they have separate guns for the red. You may be tempted to reduce that cost by purchasing a monitor which is physically small. and a component of that type purchased today will be completely superseded within 18-36 months. Powerful magnets determine the position of the electron beam for each of the three electron guns. green and blue components of the image. The computer instructs the monitor to sweep the electrons across the display. or you're thinking about purchasing a new one. the display screen which the computer uses to display text and graphics. chemicals that glow when stimulated by highenergy electrons. you need to understand how monitors work and how their performance is specified. Each of the electron guns is used to illuminate one of the three colors. the electron guns first illuminate the upper left corner of the display. CD-ROMs. but with a fairly flat surface at the front which makes up the view screen. A modern computer monitor consists of 3 electron guns at the back of a cathode ray tube (CRT). green and blue phosphors. you know that the most expensive single component other than the computer itself is the monitor. But a quality. green and blue electron beams by sending electrical signals to the monitor's .MONITORS Perhaps you've already purchased a computer. from left to right (1). The CRT is a blown glass tube much like a light bulb. The front of the CRT is sprayed with a pattern of red. To be able to properly evaluate a monitor. mid-priced monitor will last for many years of productive use. and will usually follow you as you upgrade from one computer to the next. Monitors do not become obsolete as quickly as other computer equipment. As the electron beam sweeps across. and printers is very rapid. If you have any experience shopping for a computer. Technological advancement in hard disks. it is also the safest investment of your money. You should resist that temptation! Although a quality monitor is expensive. the computer varies the intensity of the red. As shown above.
and that they will suffer eye strain and fatigue if the refresh rate is below about 70 Hz. Resolution Another important factor in choosing a monitor is resolution. or picture elements. The lower the resolution. windows. To appear clear and flicker free. This technique of illuminating the screen is called "raster scanning". and it's one of the most important numbers associated with the performance of your monitor. Hence. and the more space you have on your desktop for letters. In scientific jargon. the pattern they show is what makes up the image: In the diagram above. This is simply referred to as the "refresh rate". during which the entire monitor is re-drawn. When the first horizontal sweep (1) is finished. the horizontal refresh rate in this case might range from 30 kHz to 70 kHz. Hence. the letter "A" is shown in pixels. and the less . 7) until the entire screen has been illuminated. Pixels are either illuminated or not. and the abbreviation for Hertz is Hz. The number of pixels on the screen determines the resolution of the monitor. A monitor image is made up of "pixels". the lower the number of pixels. Refresh Rate The electron beam sweeps across the monitor at an extremely high rate. the more pixels. At the end of that sweep. numbers.electronic controls. occurs approximately 60-90 times per second. the entire screen is refreshed at a rate of 60 Hz to 90 Hz. and they start again on the left and proceed to the right (3). the beam is moved down again (4) and proceeds to the right again (5). a single cycle or sweep is referred to as "1 Hertz". A single vertical sweep. and is typically measured in the range of 30000 to 70000 sweeps/second for a high performance monitor. and images. The entire image on a computer screen is made up of pixels. The number of horizontal sweeps that the monitor can make in a second is called the horizontal refresh rate. The higher the resolution. Each pixel is turned on or off to make up the image. the computer industry has standardized on a refresh rate of 75 Hz. a monitor must operate with a refresh rate of at least 60 Hz. The process repeats (6. Studies have shown that many people are sensitive to refresh rates well above 60 Hz. the electron beams are moved down slightly (2). Therefore.
closer spacing of the mask holes -.space you have available on your computer's desktop. Dot Pitch The first is "dot pitch". This is expressed as a product of the form "1024x768". This practical value indicates how much apparent desktop space will be available to your operating system and applications. the maximum refresh rate drops dramatically as the resolution increases. Dot pitch is the distance between the red. Resolution is measured in two ways. and that 1280x1024 has a low refresh rate that would only be acceptable for specialized uses. but as it does. blue. and green dots on your screen. Here's a table of the resolutions vs.will produce sharper text and graphics. As a result. This dot pitch is the theoretical maximum resolution of the monitor. and the second the number of pixels up and down. Whether a . monitors with smaller dot pitch -. In general. The resolution can get very high.26 mm. not everyday desktop use. The second way to express the resolution is the number of horizontal pixels and the number of vertical pixels. the refresh rate for a popular monitor. the refresh rate is actually an inverse function of the resolution. we see that the highest usable resolution for this monitor is 1152x870. usually given as a fraction of a millimeter. the electron guns have to sweep over the screen more. expressed as the distance between the holes in the shadow mask or aperture grill. Effective dot pitch is also a function of the sharpness of the electron guns and the quality and spacing of the phosphors. the NEC M700: Resolution 640x480 800x600 832x624 1024x768 1152x870 1280x1024 Maximum refresh rate 120 Hz 110 Hz 110 Hz 86 Hz 75 Hz 65 Hz As you can see. The first is the number of pixels across the screen. Typical dot pitches for high performance monitors range from 0.22 mm to 0. Following the 75 Hz rule.
then. The ability to display extremely high resolutions at an acceptable refresh rate will be a substantial cost premium. Choosing a monitor. Regardless of the quality of a small monitor. 19".monitor can support extremely high resolutions and high refresh rates is a function of the electronics in the monitor. it will never be able to show a clear picture at resolutions like 1024x768 and 1280x1024. 15". the very high resolutions are only usable on larger monitors. and 21". The viewable image size should always be listed along with the tube size. the viewable size of the monitor is usually slightly smaller. sophisticated front-panel adjustments. That means you'll have to run at a lower resolution with the corresponding sacrifice in desktop space for windows & applications. or special power-saving or low-radiation features. because the extreme edges of the tube are not usable for screen display due to distortion. Subjective image quality can only be judged one way: by looking at a monitor in operation at a high resolution. However. will involve balancing the following factors: • Maximum usable resolution @ 75 Hz refresh rate • Viewable screen size • Other value-added features • Subjective image quality. . 17". You can convert the diagonal measure to horizontal & vertical dimensions using the 3:4:5 triangle rule: vertical measure/3 = horizontal measure/4 = diagonal measure/5 The retail price of the monitor will correspond most directly to the tube size. Other value-added features might include built-in speakers. measured diagonally. so you shouldn't purchase a monitor capable of much higher resolutions than you plan to use. Monitor Size The final (and most obvious) feature of a monitor is the physical size of the picture tube. the clearer the picture will be at whatever resolution you choose to use. and • Price We have already discussed the first two elements in this list. The larger the monitor. Standard tube sizes for consumer-grade computer monitors are 14". And in many cases.
Here are some things to look for when making a subjective analysis of a monitor: • Sharpness of individual pixels. If you purchase a small. just keep trying until you find a monitor you like. This is the same type of display used in most digital wristwatches. The monitor is the single most important component in your computer system. • Uniform color without blotches. CRTs are very difficult to manufacture. quality control is not as good as it could be. Don't be dismayed. and it is important to arm yourself with research and information before buying. don't hesitate to return it for a replacement. particularly as the tubes get larger. • Highly adjustable brightness and contrast If you purchase a monitor which doesn't meet your expectations. LCD screens use less power and are much lighter and thinner than the screens used for desktop computers. substandard display. and will not lose value like a bargain unit. Remember that you've got to live with and look at your monitor for as long as you own it. To be satisfied with a monitor. • Clarity of black text against a white background. co-workers. all of your time in front the computer will be correspondingly substandard. and there is substantial variation in the quality of the finished product. and monitor manufacturers may occasionally try to "pull a fast one" by packaging a marginal unit for retail sale. Look at the monitors in use by your friends. But a large. All laptops use LCD displays and you can buy them for home too. and at the computer store. Should I buy a CRT or an LCD? CRTs are cheaper and more flexible The vast majority of desktops currently . Flat Screen (LCD) Monitors A flat screen monitor uses a LCD display. Unfortunately. bright and sharp display with high usable resolution will serve you for many years.I can't emphasize that last point enough. purchasing a monitor sight unseen is just a gamble. • Clean straight lines along the edges of the display. you need to see that model in operation first.
even 14. and their clarity makes it easier to view higher resolutions at smaller screen sizes. 15-inch monitors generally aren't usable above 800x600. or focus problems.have a CRT monitor. which you can't get on an LCD. Also. it will be easier to choose an all-digital solution. prefer to have control over color-calibration and color-temperature settings. To use a lower resolution.5-inch LCD panels display 1. LCDs have a single optimum resolution. after a simple setup . either a smaller portion of the panel is used for the display or the pixels have to be scaled up to fill the screen. the latest LCDs are all digital. unlike CRTs. flat-panel LCDs for desktops use rodshaped molecules that bend light to produce an image rather than electron guns that light up the phosphors on the viewing area of a glass tube. You had to be a graphics professional to need a scanner. which can result in distracting artifacts. and it’s easy to see the advantages of LCDs. SCANNERS Scanners used to be a complicated business. this makes for more accurate color information and pixel placement. these desktop LCDs remain significantly more expensive (at least $400 more) than CRTs of an equivalent size.024x768 well. In contrast. 30-pound CRT against a panel that's less than 7 inches deep (including the base) and weighs 12 or 13 pounds. Though prices have dropped. This means that graphics cards with digital outputs don't have to convert the graphics information into analog form as they would with a typical monitor. convergence. CRTs also work well at multiple resolutions. LCDs that plug into standard analog VGA ports actually have to perform a second conversion back to digital (because LCD panels are digital devices). particularly those working with print output. Now that the industry's Digital Display Working Group has finally settled on a standard and more graphics cards will be shipping with digital options. a rocket scientist to hook one up. Theoretically. Many graphics professionals. and a big spender to afford the steep prices. anyone who wants to archive photos or documents can pick up a scanner for less than $100 and. They don't have a CRT's geometric. For example. LCDs. Today. As in notebooks. Compare a 15-inch deep. In contrast. Full-motion video also generally looks better on a CRT. often resulting in a more blocky look. on the other hand are less intrusive and clearer.
and a bare-bones monochrome model will leave you unsatisfied if you want to post photographs on the Web. Some scanners even let you scan straight from photo negatives and slides. A top-of-theline flatbed scanner might not be what you need if you're just scanning bills. Resolution Resolution is the amount of detail a scanner can detect. With people storing documents electronically and sending photos across the Internet. Beware of companies that promote or emphasize their device's interpolated (or enhanced) resolution. The latest scanners have seen vast improvements in installation. and scanners can be a super alternative to digital cameras for getting photos onto your Mac or PC. And with prices on flatbed and photo scanners falling to all-time lows. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). they're often more affordable than the average printer. This process. smaller. What's important to keep in mind is that interpolated resolution doesn't add any new information to the image—it just adds pixels and makes the file larger. and what you buy depends on your budget and your needs. To improve resolution in certain limited respects. optical and interpolated or enhanced. It’s what is actually scanned. better usability. the resolution can be increased using software. adds pixels to the image. When you buy a scanner the resolution or dpi number you pay attention to is the optical resolution. Faster speeds. called interpolated or enhanced resolution. To do so. with newer. the new pixel will be made red. software evaluates those pixels surrounding each new pixel to determine what its colors should be. clunker models. and lower prices cover just three of the advantages that current scanners can bring. scanners are becoming as familiar on home desktops as they are in art directors' offices. This same thing can be done in a photo-editing program such as Photoshop by resizing the image. Beware of claims about resolution for cameras and scanners because there are two kinds. They're also an excellent way to beat office clutter by allowing you to scan paper documents to your hard drive. For example. You're getting . if all of the pixels around a newly inserted pixel are red.process. A higher resolution results in more detailed scanned images but requires more scanning time and storage space. and more wieldy USB and parallel port models catching up in speed to older. But there are several varieties of scanners from which to choose. Many of these new scanners come with a one-button start process that conveniently lets you bypass a sea of menu settings. begin scanning with the push of a button. The optical resolution of a camera or scanner is an absolute number.
Always check for the device's optical resolution. Business users that scan high volumes of documents will want a faster model (USB or possibly SCSI) and an automatic document feeder. Generally. the scanner is geared toward graphics professionals. For an around-the-house scanner. Going for a bargain scanner means you may get exactly what you pay for: slow speeds and sloppy image quality. In fact. don’t buy any other kind. If this isn't provided. scanners that were out of reach a few years ago are now a regular sight on desktops everywhere. Most midlevel flatbed scanners (in the range of $150-to-$300) are fine for color photographs and are more than sufficient for grayscale documents. if you see mention of optical density on a package. What accounts for the difference? More expensive scanners tend to have a higher optical density than their less pricey counterparts. Graphics professionals should also focus on speed but consider optical density and a transparency option. which make them better suited to scan transparencies for high-end graphics use. Flatbed scanner prices start at around $100 and can skyrocket into the thousands-of-dollars range. Resolution needs (in dpi): • Internet: 72 dpi • Line art or cartoons: 300 dpi • Magazine quality: 400-700 dpi • Photo quality (can’t tell the difference from a photo) 1000+dpi Flat Bed Scanners A good flatbed scanner is hard to pass up these days. and even slides and negatives if your flatbed has a transparency attachment. look for a user-friendly model with an external Start button and either a USB or a parallel port hookup. solid image quality. All flatbed shoppers will want at least 600 dpi and 24-bit color depth. Digital Cameras . though heavy graphics use requires rates of 30bits to 36 bits. as well. and plummeting prices. With plenty of speed. flee the product—you're dealing with marketing people who don't have your best interests at heart. photographs. You can do just about anything with many flatbed scanners: scan documents.less than you think you are.
However. these flashes do not work well beyond 10 feet). they don't use the even better mammoth glass plate view cameras used by Jackson and Muybridge after the Civil War. Choosing a Digital Camera Listed below are the key features of consumer-level digital cameras. which can provide a much more powerful and versatile flash.Digital cameras are only a few years old and are just now beginning to make serious inroads into photography. This is true.20 seconds. Keep in mind that a camera with a "Hot Shoe" or "Flash Sync. Flash Type The flash makes a burst of light for shooting inside or in low-light conditions. They have yet to be fully accepted by some photographers." will often come with the standard builtin flash as well.$2. they'd be using mules to carry their equipment. And if they do use 8 x 10 cameras. The type(s) of flash available vary from camera to camera. 80% of the cameras are between $200 and $900.500. in comparison to external flash options. Price $50 . despite some current limitations. at the camera's maximum resolution setting. Delay Between Shots also known as Recycle Time or Lag Time The amount of time (measured in seconds) it takes the camera to process and store an image when shooting in normal mode (non-burst). Photographers who don't accept digital cameras generally base their arguments on the fact that the images are not as good as film-based cameras. with a median price of $450. If they really wanted quality. . The flashes built into most digital cameras have limited range and adjustability (on average. See glossary for definitions of the types of flash listed below. yet these same photographers most likely use 35 mm SLR cameras that are not as good as 8 x 10 view cameras. digital cameras are the wave of the future and it's only a matter of time before most photographs are taken with these kinds of cameras rather than traditional film-based cameras. Range: 1 . So much for their argument being based on the quality of the image.
" A "2X" optical zoom.5" Floppy Disk . Range: (640 x 480) Minimum Computer Resolution (1024 x 768) Film Resolution of 3"x5" print (1280 x 960) Film Resolution of 4"x6" print (1600 x 1200) Film Resolution of 8"x10" print (1920 x 1600) Very High Resolution Rapid-Fire Shots Rapid-Fire is also known as Burst Mode or Continuous Shooting Mode. means that if the camera's minimum focal length is 50mm. Typical range Range: 1 . Via Removable Memory . More than 50% of digital cameras on the market today do not have an optical zoom. Optical Zoom An optical zoom magnifies the image using a real multi-focal length lens (a digital zoom only enlarges the center 50%). This feature allows you to take multiple rapid-fire shots with one touch of the exposure button. Range: 0 (No optical zoom) . Options: Via 3. Ease of Download This refers to how the camera downloads its pictures to your computer or printer.Options: No Flash. The higher the resolution . and copying them onto the computer effectively transfers the images. Hot Shoe.14X. Magnification level is measured in degrees.64 shots.e. Resolution is expressed in pixels. Off/On/Auto. for example. such as "2X" or "3X. then it has the ability to take pictures up to 100mm. Some digital cameras offer more than one means of downloading your images. Taking the floppy out of the camera and putting it into your computer. and refers to the "true" (i.Many digital cameras store images on removable memory devices that can be swapped in and out of the camera like rolls of film .the better the picture. non-interpolated) resolution of the camera. Flash Sync. Red-Eye Reduction. the camera stores its images on the same floppy disks that you use in your PC or Macintosh.With this feature. Resolution The resolution of a digital camera refers to the sharpness of its pictures.
floppy disks. Via SCSI Cable . PCMCIA Type II or III cards do not require a card reader to download the images. which are typically purchased as an additional accessory (i. Via USB Cable . Camera Size Camera Size is a proxy for categorizing the varying dimensions and weights of digital cameras. it is important to note the high resolution or maximum resolution setting on the camera before evaluating this figure. This method is relatively slow. which comes shipped with the camera (some cameras allow you to add memory. but still quite common. using the amount of memory. The greater the resolution. It is important to note however.(CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards are two common examples).SCSI is a form of image transfer involving a high-speed bus cable system. which in turn will increase the number of images which can be stored). These can then be used with a variety of card readers (depending on the type of storage). you can insert the card directly into laptop computers." this technology allows one to download images without using cables or wires.The most standard type of serial cable is identified as a "RS232" interconnector. but is also extremely slow. Range: 1 . Via Serial Cable . Therefore. Image Capacity (at hi-res) This refers to the camera's memory capacity for images shot at high resolution. "Removable Memory" does not include 3. and won't work on PC's with slow/older processors. they are not provided by the manufacturer "in the box"). the more memory space is needed. "in parallel").e.5 in. Via Parallel Cable . Also known as "IrDA. Via Infrared . used only with Macintosh computers and high-end PCs. in comparison to a USB cable connection.e.. .A USB (short for universal serial bus) cable transports images from your digital camera via a connection that is much faster than a serial or parallel cable.A parallel cable transfers images faster than a serial connection.3.000 images.Infrared transmission uses invisible light to transfer pictures to your computer or printer. as it is able to send multiple bits of information at the same time (i. that this type of connection can only be used with the newer Pentium computers.
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