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Technically, a computer is a programmable machine. This means it can execute a

programmed list of instructions and respond to new instructions that it is given.
Today, however, the term is most often used to refer to the desktop and laptop
computers that most people use. When referring to a desktop model, the term
"computer" technically only refers to the computer itself -- not the monitor,
keyboard, and mouse. Still, it is acceptable to refer to everything together as the

o Input Devices
Computer Hardware Devices used to input data, information and
instruction into the computer

Output Devices
Computer Hardware Devices the computer uses to deliver data to the
outer world. This devices enables the computer user(peopleware) to
read, see or hear information from the computer.

Storage Devices
Devices that stores data for future use.
o Processing Devices
Hardware devices used in processing data or information.

Computers are made of the following basic components:

1. System Unit/Case with hardware inside:
1. Power Supply - The power supply comes with the case, but this
component is mentioned separately since there are various types of
power supplies. The one you should get depends on the requirements
of your system.
2. Motherboard - This is where the core components of your computer
reside which are listed below. Also the support cards for video, sound,
networking and more are mounted into this board.

3. Microprocessor - This is the brain of your computer. It performs

commands and instructions and controls the operation of the
4. Memory - The RAM in your system is mounted on the motherboard.
This is memory that must be powered on to retain its contents.

5. Hard disk drive(s) - This is where your files are permanently stored
on your computer. Also, normally, your operating system is installed
6. CD-ROM drive(s) - This is normally a read only drive where files are
permanently stored. There are now read/write CD-ROM drives that use
special software to allow users to read from and write to these drives.
7. Floppy drive(s) - A floppy is a small disk storage device that today
typically has about 1.4 Megabytes of memory capacity.
2. Monitor - This device which operates like a TV set lets the user see how the
computer is responding to their commands.
3. Keyboard - This is where the user enters text commands into the computer.
4. Mouse - A point and click interface for entering commands which works well
in graphical environments.
A computer case is sometimes incorrectly referred to metonymously as a CPU
referring to a component housed within the case. CPU was a common term in the
earlier days of home computers, when peripherals other than the motherboard were
usually housed in their own separate cases.

Sometimes abbreviated as PSU, which is short for Power Supply Unit. The PS is
an internal hardware component used to supply the components in a computer with
power by converting potentially lethal 110-115 or 220-230 volt alternating current
(AC) into a steady low-voltage direct current (DC) usable by the computer. A power
supply is rated by the number of watts it generates.
The motherboard is a printed circuit that is the foundation of a computer and allows
the CPU, RAM, and all other computer hardware components to function with each
The Processor Socket
Is the home for the Central Processor Unit (CPU).
Memory Slots
Memory slots also call memory banks are for Random Access
modules (RAM).
Main Power Connector And The 4 Pins Connector
The main power connector is uses to get the electric energy
from the power supply which the motherboard require to
function properly.

24 Pins Main Power Connector

IDE, ATA And S-ATA Interface Connectors

The IDE/Parallel Advance Technology Attachment (PATA) interface is
used to connect hard drives and optic drives.
Modern computer mother boards have the new interface called Serial
Advance Technology Attachment (S-ATA).
Floppy Drive Connector

Floppy Drive Connector

PCI Slots
32 bit slots Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) are used to install
sound cards, graphic cards, Ethernet cards and modems.
The motherboard parts Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) and PCI
(PCIe) focus on graphic cards only.
Back Panel Connectors
Are used to plug the mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer, sound system
and any other peripherals you may have. The Back Panel
The back panel includes two Power Connectors. One is to connect
your computer to the wall outlet, and the other can be used to connect
the monitor power to operate from the socket on the back of the case.
Usually the power connector for the monitor is not used since many
use a power strip or a surge protector to control the power to all
The keyboard and mouse connectors are both normally PS2
connectors on new computers. A PS2 connector is a round connector
with 6 pins and a plastic key. The keyboard always uses the PS2
connector; however the mouse may be a serial mouse and may plug
into the serial cable on your computer. With modern computers,
normally a PS2 mouse will be used.

Near the keyboard and mouse connectors is normally a connector for a

parallel printer called Parallel Printer Port. This is what is called a
parallel device, meaning that more than one line carries data in one
direction at a time. This is the connector you will plug your parallel
printer into. See your computers motherboard or owner's manual for
exact placement of these connectors.
Usually a little below the parallel printer connector are two Serial
Ports. There are two types of serial connectors, which are called DB9
and DB25. One type, DB9 contains 9 pins or sockets and the other
contains 25 pins or sockets. You will need to make sure your
connectors match for their given types. The serial cables are normally
used to connect a serial mouse, an external modem, or some other
device to your computer.
Below the parallel and serial connectors are a series of slots called
Expansion Slots. This is where additional cards are plugged into your
system. These cards are usually a video card, a sound card, internal
modem, and one or more network cards. Your monitor connector would
plug into a connector on your video card, and your speakers will plug
into a connector on your sound card. See your sound card and video
card manual for exact placement of these connectors on the card.
These cards are plugged into the motherboard and you must open your
case up to remove or add one of these cards.

Front Panel conectors

An integrated circuit (generally Intel or VIA) that is responsible for the
communications between the CPU interface, AGP, PCI and the memory.

An integrated circuit ( generally Intel or VIA ) on the motherboard that

is responsible for
the hard disk drive controller, I/O controller and
integrated hardware such as sound card or video card if present on the
The North Bridge is typically the larger chip that always has a heat sink
attached with it and the South Bridge is the
smaller one.

The microprocessor is the core of your computer. It processes instructions and
communicates with outside devices, controlling most of the operation of the
computer. The microprocessor usually has a large heat sink attached to it called

Cooling System. Some microprocessors come in a package with a heat sink and a
fan included as a part of the package. Other microprocessors require you to install
the heat sink and fan separately.
Short for Random Access Memory, RAM, also known as the computers primary
memory or system memory, is a term commonly used to describe the memory
within a computer. Unlike ROM, RAM is a volatile memory and requires power; if
power is lost, all data is also lost. Memory is a location where information is stored
that is currently being utilized by the operating system, software program, hardware
device, or the user.

SDRAM - Alternatively referred to as SDR-RAM, SDRAM is short for

Synchronous Dynamic RAM.

DDR - Short for Double Data Rate, DDR is memory that utilizes both the
rising and falling edge of the system clock that has the potential of
doubling the speed of the memory.

DDR2 - DDR2 is the second generation of DDR memory. DDR2 is capable

of operating at greater speeds of 400 MHz and higher, offers a greater
bandwidth potential, operates at lower power consumption, and generates
less heat.
DDR3 - Short for double data rate, type three, DDR3 is the successor of
DDR and DDR2 memory and is a type of memory (RAM) for a computer.
DDR3 has bus clock speed of higher than DDR2, and memory chips
range in size from 1 GB to 24 GB. DDR 3 memory chips are nearly 30%
more efficient in power usage than its predecessor, having a 1.5V supply
voltage (DDR2 - 1.8V).

Cache Memory - Cache memory is special memory that operates much

faster than SDRAM memory. It is also more expensive. It would be
impractical to use this memory for the entire system both for reasons of
expense and physical board and bus channel design requirements. Cache
memory lies between the microprocessor and the system RAM. It is used as
a buffer to reduce the time of memory access. There are two levels to this
memory called L1 (level 1) and L2 (level 2). The level 1 memory is a part of
the microprocessor, and the level 2 memory is just outside the


The secondary memory or the computer sometime called ROM(Read Only
Memory) and HDD short for Hard Disk Drive. This is where your files are
permanently stored on your computer. Also, normally, your operating system is
installed here.
Controller Interface Types
A hard drive is a mass storage device where your operation system is
installed along with many data files. There are two types of hard drives with
regard to the controller:
1. IDE - Short for Integrated Drive Electronics or IBM Disc Electronics, IDE
is more commonly known as ATA or Parallel ATA (PATA) and is a standard
interface for IBM compatible hard drives.

At the beginning all ribbon

cables were being made of
supporting a certain range
of standards.
Nowadays, there are cables
of 80 wires and they are supporting higher
Note for both, only connectors with 40 pins are
2. SATA - Short for SerialATA, SATA 1.0 was first
released in August 2001 and is a replacement for
the Parallel ATA interface used in IBM compatible
computers. This cable helps make a much easier
cable routing and offers better airflow in the
computer when compared to the earlier ribbon cables used with ATA drives.
CD-ROM drive(s) - This is normally a read only drive where files are permanently
stored. There are now read/write CD-ROM drives that use special software to allow
users to read from and write to these drives.
Like hard disk, CD-ROM interface to the computer by using either the IDE (PATA or
ATA) or the SATA interface. There are two primary types of CD-ROMs today.
1. Read only
2. Read and Write CD-ROM
The primary performance concern of CD-ROM drives is their speed. Speeds
are expressed in terms of 1X, 2X, 4X, which is the number of times the drive
is than the standard CD-ROM reader. Of the read only type, speeds have
exceeded 50X. CD-ROMS of up to 40X speeds and beyond can be purchased
today for a reasonably low price.
Alternatively referred to as a video display terminal (VDT) and video display
unit (VDU), monitors are used to view your data on a computer. The characteristics
of your monitor are very important for your system performance since the quality of

your video will significantly affect your computing experience. There are two typical
types of monitor, the CRT and LCD.

CRT - Stands for Cathode-Ray Tube, CRT is the electron beams within a
monitor that move across your screen either interlaced or non-interlaced
hitting phosphor dots on the inside glass tube.
Within the CRT are three electron guns, red, green, and blue. Each of these
guns streams a steady flow of electrons, left to right, for each line of your
monitor. As the electrons hit the phosphors on the CRT, the phosphor will
glow certain intensities.

LCD - Short for Liquid-Crystal Display, LCD is a flat display technology

used in laptops, cell phones, calculators and, flat screen displays.
LCD emits a very small amount of radiation and consumes less power
compared to CRT.

One of the main input devices used on a computer, a PC's keyboard looks very
similar to the keyboards of electric typewriters, with some additional keys. This is
where the user enters text commands into the computer.
A hardware input device that was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963, who at
the time was working at the Stanford Research Institute, which was a think tank
sponsored by Stanford University. A point and click interface for entering commands
which works well in graphical environments

Alternatively referred to as a graphics
card, video adapter, video board, or
a video controller, a video card is an
internal circuit board that allows a
display device such as a monitor to
display images from the computer.
Today's video cards are most commonly
Graphic Port), PCI (Peripheral Component
expansion slot on the motherboard,
however, can also be found on-board.
Alternatively referred to as a sound board or an audio card, a sound card is an
expansion card or integrated circuit that provides a computer with the ability to
produce sounds that can be heard by the user either over speakers or headphones.

In the picture to the right, is an example of what a sound card may look like from
the back of your computer and the connector symbols usually found next to each of
the connections. With almost every sound card you'll have four connections: sound
out or line out, sound in or line in, Microphone, and MIDI (Joystick). In the case of
this picture, the first white connection is the digital in connection. Next, the generic
blue sound in connection found on every sound card and represented by an arrow
pointing into sound waves. Next, the microphone connection is a pink connection
with a symbol of a microphone and sound waves. Finally, this sound card has three
sounds out connections: green, black, and orange. Most generic sound cards will
only have one sound out that is colored green and will be represented with an arrow
pointing out of the sound waves as shown in the picture to the right.

LAN is short for Local Area Network, a LAN Card is also
commonly referred to as an Ethernet card and network
adapter and is an expansion card that enables a computer to
connect to a network such as a home network or the Internet
using an Ethernet cable with a RJ-45 connector.

Alternatively referred to as IEEE-1394,
FireWire was developed by Apple in
1995 and is a bus that has a bandwidth
of 400-800 Mbps, can handle up to 63
units on the same bus, and is hot
swappable. Users more familiar with USB
can relate FireWire to USB as it has a lot
of the same similarities.


The following are the examples of OHS that is related to computer

hardware servicing.

1. Contingency measures during workplace accidents, fire and other

emergencies are recognized.

2. Personal protective equipment are correctly used in accordance with

organization OHS procedures and practices.

3. Hazard/risks in the workplace and their corresponding indicators are

identified to minimize or eliminate risk to co-workers, workplace and

4. Always discharge bodys static charge before touching any part of the

5. Be careful with tools that may cause short circuit.
6. Take off any metal objects on your arms or fingers such as bracelets, rings or

7. Wear rubber sole shoes when standing on the ground or in a concrete floor.
8. Fully shut down and unplug the computer before you make any attempts to

disassemble the tower.

9. Replace only fuses with those proper rating.
10. Hold the components by the edges and do not touch the ICs.
11. Read and follow instructions on the manual carefully.
12. Do not use excessive force if things dont quite slip into place

13.Make sure your hands are completely dry to avoid damaging any mechanical
parts as well as to avoid electrocution.
Short for Basic Input/Output System, the
BIOS, ROM BIOS, or System BIOS is a chip
located on all motherboards that contain
instructions and setup for how your system
should boot and how it operates. In the picture to
the right, is an example of what a BIOS chip may
look like on your computer motherboard.
The BIOS includes instructions on how to load
basic computer hardware and includes a test referred to as a POST (Power On Self
Test) that helps verify the computer meets requirements to boot up properly. If the

computer does not pass the POST, you will receive a combination of beeps
indicating what is malfunctioning within the computer.
Three major brands of BIOS chip

In most PCs, the BIOS has 4 main functions as mentioned below.

1. POST - Test the computer hardware and make no errors exist before loading
the operating system.
2. Bootstrap Loader - Locate the operating system. If a capable operating
system is located, the BIOS will pass control to it.
3. BIOS drivers - Low level drivers that give the computer basic operational
control over your computer's hardware.
4. BIOS or CMOS Setup - Configuration program that allows you to configure
hardware settings including system settings such as computer passwords,
time, and date.
The computer power-on self-test (POST) tests the computer to make sure it meets
the necessary system requirements and that all hardware is working properly before
starting the remainder of the boot process. If the computer passes the POST the
computer will have a single beep (with some computer BIOS manufacturers it may
beep twice) as the computer starts and the computer will continue to start normally.
However, if the computer fails the POST, the computer will either not beep at all or
will generate a beep code, which tells the user the source of the problem.
A beep code is the audio signal given out by a computer to announce the result of a
short diagnostic testing sequence the computer performs when first powering up
(called the Power-On-Self-Test or POST).Each of the three major BIOS brands has its
own error code.

Beep Code
1 short

AMI BIOS beep codes (American Megatrends Inc.)

DRAM refresh failure

2 short

Parity circuit failure

3 short

Base 64K RAM failure

4 short

System timer failure

5 short

Process failure

6 short

Keyboard controller Gate A20 error

7 short

Virtual mode exception error

8 short

Display memory Read/Write test failure

9 short

ROM BIOS checksum failure

10 short

CMOS shutdown Read/Write error

11 short

Cache Memory error

1 long, 3 short

Conventional/Extended memory failure

1 long, 8 short

Display/Retrace test failed

IBM BIOS beep codes


Beep Code
No Beeps

No Power, Loose Card, or Short.

1 Short Beep

Normal POST, computer is ok.

2 Short Beep

POST error, review screen for error code.

Continuous Beep

No Power, Loose Card, or Short.

Repeating Short Beep

No Power, Loose Card, or Short.

One Long and one Short Beep

Motherboard issue.

One Long and Two Short Beeps

Video (Mono/CGA Display Circuitry) issue.

One Long and Three Short

Three Long Beeps

Video (EGA) Display Circuitry.

One Beep, Blank or Incorrect


Video Display Circuitry.

Keyboard or Keyboard card error.

AWARD BIOS beep codes

1 long, 2
Any other

Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize
the video screen to display any additional information
RAM problem.

Alternatively referred to as a Real-Time Clock (RTC),
Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) or CMOS RAM, CMOS is
Semiconductor. CMOS is an on-board semiconductor
chip powered by a CMOS battery inside computers that
stores information such as the system time and date
and the system hardware settings for your computer. A
CMOS is similar to the Apple Macintosh computer's
PRAM. In the picture to the right, is an image of a CMOS
battery on a IBM compatible computers motherboard
and the most common CMOS battery you're likely to
encounter with your computer.
In the bottom right picture, are examples of batteries
that may be used in a computer to power the CMOS
memory. As mentioned above the most common
battery is the coin cell battery (lithium battery), usually
about the size of a U.S. Nickel.
The standard lifetime of a CMOS battery is around 10
Years. However, this can vary depending on the use
and environment that the computer resides.