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HP IT Essential I:
PC Hardware and Software v3.1

Module 3

Assembling a Computer

Before beginning any assembly process, it is a good idea to review safety procedures.
• • • • • • • • Keep the work area free of clutter and keep it clean. Keep food and drinks out of the work area. A computer monitor may store up to 25,000 volts, so avoid opening one unless trained to do so. Remove all jewelry and watches. Make sure the power is off and the power plug has been removed when working inside the computer. Never look into a laser beam. Lasers are found in computer related equipment. Make sure that a fire extinguisher and first aid kit is available. Cover sharp edges with tape when working inside the computer case.
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Basic Safety Procedures
• Use an antistatic mat and grounding wrist strap. • Use antistatic bags to store and move computer components. • Do not remove or install components while the computer is on. • Ground often to prevent static charges from building up by touching a piece of bare metal on the chassis or power supply. • Work on a bare floor because carpets can build up static charges. • Hold cards by the edges to avoid touching chips or the edge connectors on the expansion cards.

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Basic Safety Procedures
• Do not touch chips or expansion boards with a magnetized screwdriver. • Turn off the computer before moving it. This is to protect the hard drive, which is always spinning when the computer is turned on. • Do not place a circuit board of any kind onto a conductive surface. • Do not use a pencil or metal tipped instrument to change DIP switches or to touch components. The graphite in the pencil is conductive and could easily cause damage. • Do not allow anyone who is not properly grounded to touch or hand off computer components. This is true even when working with a lab partner. When passing components, always touch hands first to neutralize any charges.

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ESD Precautions
• Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is more commonly referred to as static electricity. • ESD is probably the greatest enemy when a user unwraps newly purchased computer parts and components while preparing to assemble the computer. • The best way to protect against ESD is to use an anti-static mat, a grounding wrist strap, and anti-static bags.

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ESD Precautions
Always review the ESD precautions before beginning the assembly process. • Keep all computer parts in anti-static bags. • Keep the humidity between 20 - 30 percent. • Use grounded mats on workbenches. • Use grounded floor mats in work areas. • Use wrist straps when working on computer parts, except when working on monitors or power supplies. • Periodically touch unpainted grounded metal parts of the computer to lower the static energy of the body.

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Computer Cases
• There are three basic types of computer cases: – Desktop – Tower
• Mini-tower • Mid-tower • Full tower

– Portable • Whether buying a tower or desktop, it is recommended that it conforms to the ATX standard and has at least a 250-watt power supply (300 watts is ideal.) • The desktop case is considered the most difficult to upgrade.
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Desktop Computers
• The desktop design is one of the more familiar case styles. Desktop units are designed to sit horizontally on the desktop. • The two important considerations in choosing a desktop case style for a computer are:
– Available desktop space – Form factor • The newest form factor, and the one most often encountered, is the ATX.

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Tower Computers
• Tower cases are usually designed to sit vertically on the floor beneath a desk. • Tower cases come in three sizes:
– Mini towers – Mid towers – Full-size towers

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Power Supplies
• The power supply is one of the most important parts that needs to be understood. The power supply unit provides electrical power for every component inside the system unit. • The power supply plays the critical role of converting commercial electrical power (AC), into DC required by the components of the computer. • There are two basic types of power supplies: – AT power supplies – Designed to support AT-compatible motherboards. – ATX power supplies – Designed according to newer ATX design specifications to support the ATX motherboard.
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Power Supplies
• There are two major distinctions between the legacy AT and the new ATX power supplies. – The AT power supply has two 6-pin (12 pins) motherboard power connectors (P8/P9) – The ATX power supplies use a single 20-pin power connector (P1). – In the ATX-compatible power supply, the cooling fan pulls air through the case from the front and exhausts it out the rear of the power supply unit. – The AT design pulls air in through the rear of the power supply unit and blows it directly on the AT motherboard.
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Power Supplies
• The power supply produces four (five in the ATX) different levels of well-regulated DC voltage for use by the system components. • These are +5V, -5V, +12V, and -12V. • In ATX power supplies, the +3.3V level is also produced and is used by the second-generation Intel Pentium processors.

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Power Supplies
ATX
Voltage
+ 12 volts - 12 volts

Wire Color
Yellow Blue

Use
Disk drive motors, fans, cooling devices, and the systems bus slots Some types of serial port circuits and early programmable read only memory (PROM) Motherboard, Baby AT and earlier CPUs, and many motherboard components ISA bus cards and early PROMS Most newer CPUs, some types of memory, and AGP video cards Ground -- Used to complete circuits with the other voltages
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+ 5 volts - 5 volts + 3.3 volts 0 volts

Red White Orange Black

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Motherboard Location Map
• A motherboard location map shows where the major components and hardware is located on the motherboard. A motherboard map can be found in the documentation that comes with the motherboard.

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Configuring the Motherboard
• Configuring the motherboard typically means the following: • Installing the CPU • Installing the heat sink and fan • Installing RAM • Connecting the power supply cables to the motherboard power connectors and connecting miscellaneous connectors to the correct switches and status lights on the front case panel. • Setting the system BIOS (Basic Input Output System)

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Configuring the Connectors
• For the disk controllers, always remember that a colored stripe on the data cable is pin-1. • Most modern connectors are "keyed" by a missing pin or a blocked connector, so they cannot be fitted the wrong way. • Usually, the colored wire(s) in a power cable are positive and the white or black wire(s) are ground or negative.

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CPU Interfaces
• There are two main types of CPU interfaces. – Socket type (e.g., socket 7) - Socket 7 has been the standard interface, although the newer systems are now using different sockets. It is the only interface used by at least one generation of Intel Pentium processors (Pentium I) as well as AMD and Cyrix chips. – Slot type (e.g., slot 1.) - Slot type interfaces use a slot similar to expansion cards. Slot 1 is the Single Edge Contact (SEC) interface used only by the Intel Pentium II processor family.

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RAM
• The two types of memory modules used on most PCs are: – Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM)

– Single Inline Memory Module (SIMM)

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RAM
• Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) – 168-pin – DIMM cards are inserted straight into the slots – When DIMM sizes are mixed on the motherboard, it is important to remember to put the DIMM with the largest memory size in the first bank.

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RAM
• Single Inline Memory Module (SIMM) – 72-pin – SIMM cards are inserted at an angle of about 45 degrees – Each bank of memory for a SIMM has two sockets. You must fill the first bank before moving onto the next. Additionally, each bank must be filled with RAM modules that have the same access time and size.
NOTE: A bank is a group of memory slot used to install RAM

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RAM
• Rambus Inline Memory Module (RIMM) – 184 pins – RIMM modules use only the direct Rambus memory chips (RDRAM) – RDRAM is characterized by its high bus speed. – RIMMs require that if you do not fill all RIMM slots with RDRAM memory, you must keep the empty slots filled with termination boards

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Connecting the Power Supply
• The power supply converts the alternation current (AC) line from your home to the direct current (DC) needed by the personal computer. • This process will vary depending on the type of motherboard that is being installed (AT or ATX). • Sometimes it is helpful to delay attaching the power connector to the board until all the components have been installed that need to go on the motherboard. • This allows for more working space inside the case.

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Connecting the Power Supply
• WARNING: Do not open the power supply it contains a capacitors which can hold Electricity (WHICH CAN KILL) even if the computer is power off for a week, if not longer. If you do open it WHICH IS NOT RECOMMENDED, take all precautions and ensure you work with one arm behind your back to direct the electricity away from the heart. Also ensure that you have no jewelry on (such as a watch or rings). However again THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED and still cannot protect you 100% and is still potentially dangerous.

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AT Power Supply
• AT power supplies are considered legacy • AT motherboards have a 12 pin connector and the AT power supply has two 6 pin connectors (P8 and P9). • Plug the P8 and P9 wire lead connectors in the 12-pin power connector. • Make sure the black wires are in the middle, right next to each other or the motherboard could be damaged.

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ATX Power Supply
• ATX is currently the most common type of power supply. • ATX motherboards have a single 20 pin connector (P1). • The connector is keyed for easy installation.

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Connecting Floppy Drives
• The floppy drive exchanges data with the motherboard devices, including the microprocessor, via a 34-pin flat ribbon (data) cable • Usually, a red stripe on the edge of the cable identifies pin-1. Lining the red-stripe edge with pin-1 of the drive connector or drive controller interface assures a correct alignment. • If the cable is incorrectly oriented it becomes immediately apparent on power up by the fact that the floppy drive LED light comes on immediately and stays on.

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Connecting Floppy Drives
• Current system BIOS versions can support up to two floppy drives on one controller via a daisy chain cable arrangement. Cable pin-outs 10 through 16 are crosswired between the middle drive connector and end drive connector, producing a twist that reverses the Drive Select (DS) configuration of the drive plugged into the end connector of the ribbon cable. This feature, called cable select, automatically configures the drive on the middle connector as Drive B and the drive on the end connector as Drive A. The twist is beside the Drive A connector.
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Installing a Hard Drive or CD-ROM
• Attaching the hard drive and CD-ROM are basically similar. • First, the jumper settings should be properly set.

• The designation of a hard drive or CD-ROM drive as either master or slave is generally determined by the jumper configuration, not by the order in which the drive is daisychained to the other drive. • The hard drive that is used to boot the computer should be set as the primary master • The only exception is if the drive is jumpered (set to) "cable select" and both the system and ribbon cable support cable select.
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Connecting a Hard Drive or CD-ROM
• Hard drives and CD-ROM drives communicate with the rest of the system using ribbon cables. • Ribbon cables are widely used to connect peripherals such as floppy drives and hard drives internally. • IDE cable ribbon cables used for hard drives and CD-ROM drives typically have 40 pins and can connect two devices to each cable.

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Power On Self Test
• Whenever a computer starts up, a series of tests are automatically performed to check the primary components in the system, such as the CPU, ROM, memory, and motherboard support circuitry. • The routine that carries out this function is referred to as the POST. • POST is a hardware diagnostics routine that is built into the system BIOS. • The basic function of the POST routine is to make sure that all the hardware the system needs for startup is there and that everything is functioning properly before the boot process begins.

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Power On Self Test
• POST also provides some basic troubleshooting to determine what devices have failed or have problems initializing during this pre-startup hardware check. • The POST routine provides error or warning messages whenever it encounters a faulty component. • Post error codes take the form of a series of beeps that identify a faulty hardware component.

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Power On Self Test
• If the Post advances up to the point where video can be displayed, the error codes are displayed on the monitor.
Error Code/Range Possible Problem

1xx 16x 2xx 3xx 5xx 6xx 17xx 86xx
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System board or BIOS CMOS, options or time not set Main memory Keyboard Color monitor Floppy drive Hard drive Mouse
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