Section 3 - System Components

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Section 3 - System Components
2014-01-24 15:32:31

Comptia A+ 801
Show Answers:

  1. What size is ATX form factor
    12" x 9.6"
  2. What size is mini-ATX form factor
    11.2" x 8.2"
  3. What size is micro-ATX form factor
    9.6" x 9.6" or smaller
  4. what size is mini-ITX
    6.7" x 6.7" or smaller
  5. describe the compatibility of ATX, mini-ATX, and micro-ATX
    all boards are compatible with cases (as long as they will physically fit)
  6. what is smallest ATX variation
  7. What are some characteristics of ATX form factors
    CPU is at back top below power supply; power supply blows air into case or pulls air from case to cool CPU; power cable runs from system case power switch to system board; power supply can use soft switch or soft power (can be controlled by OS)
  8. how much power does a mini-ITX form factor require
    less than 100 watts
  9. describe NLX form factor
    used for older slimline desktops; uses riser card in middle of board; rise doesn't have audio, joystick, USB, network, or modem ports; uses AGP video cards; can mount to motherboard to slide in & out of case easily
  10. describe BTX form factor
    better mgmt of performance & temp; processor at front and turned 45°; thermal module or shroud fits over processor to move heat out of system; many BTX cases are ATX compatible; BTX is not very widespread, mostly Dell
  11. compare various computer cases
    • desktop - sits horizontally and usually low-end systems; not meant for upgrading;
    •  tower - extensive expansion room; can have 1-10 or more drive bays
    •  small form factor - mini-ITX or mini-tower with expansion bays
    •  notebook - proprietary and vary greatly
  12. what components typically come with a computer case
    power supply, case fan, feet for bottom of case, screws for motherboard, additional external connectors that connect to motherboard headers
  13. what does a power supply do
    • converts AC to DC
    • verifies enough power to run system
    • draws air & blows air across components to cool
    • provides soft power to system
  14. pros and cons of AC and DC power
    AC is good for things that need a lot of power; DC is predictable, reliable, and good for things that don't need a lot of power
  15. What voltages does ATX power supply provide
    +3.3v, ±5v, ±12v
  16. what voltages does micro-ATX power supply provide
    +3.3v & ±12v
  17. what is a "rail" (when talking about power)
    a single voltage output circuit (each separate one is a "rail"); each rail can provide power to multiple devices; newer power supplies have multiple rails of the same voltage
  18. what is the most common voltage for computer components
    12v for hard drive, fan, etc.; 5v for older motherboards; 3.3v for newer motherboards
  19. how are power supplies rated
  20. what is a watt (when talking about power supplies)
    how much power can be supplied from the power supply
  21. how do you determine what size power supply you need
    find watt requirements of each circuit by multiplying volts * amp (V*A = W); add to find system total; 350w should be good for a basic user; 450-500w will probably be required for servers, etc.
  22. what kind of connectors do power supplies have
    20 pin, 20+4 pin, 20+8 pin, or 24 pin
  23. how do newer ATX power supplies differ from older ones
    older ATX power supplies blow air into case; newer ATX power supplies pull cooler air from front of case and blow out back of case
  24. what is soft power
    motherboard always has power and OS can turn computer off
  25. when do you know your power supply needs to be replaced
    system does not start, system shuts off, system reboots, fan does not run or is noisy; power supplies slowly degrade over time, usually don't just "die"
  26. How do you test power supply?
    have power supply plugged in; remove anti-static wrist strap; unplug from motherboard; turn power supply on; insert shunt on pin 16 and ground pin (15 or 17) to see if computer will boot up; can also test with multimeter through Molex connector (put ground into black center and positive lead in yellow or red)
  27. You know the exact amounts of voltages coming from the ±12v and the ±5v in your power supply.  At what point should you replace it?
    if <10.8v for 12v or <4.5v for 5v
  28. What are the voltages supplied by a 20 pin power connector
    +3.3v, ±5v, ±12v to motherboard; on older motherboards, CPU uses ±5v
  29. What are the voltages supplied by 24 pin power connector
    +3.3v, ±5v, ±12v; additional 4 pins are 12v; some are 20+4 so that you can use it on 20 pin or 24 pin board
  30. What is a 4 pin, P4 12v connector?
    power for the CPU; 12v instead of 5v, starting with Pentium 4; has 2 additional wires of 12v
  31. What is a 8 pin, EPS 12v connector?
    4 lines of 12v; used in older dual processor systems or newer quad-core processors; some may be 4 + 4 pin to use together or separately
  32. What is a 6 pin, PCI Express connector?
    used for PCIe graphics (PEG); plugs into video card; provides up to 75 watts; some are 8 or 6 + 2 pin & up to 150 watts
  33. What is a 4 pin Molex connector used for?
    PATA, IDE hard drives, optical drives, etc.; provides 5v & 12v
  34. What voltage corresponds to the red wire?
  35. What voltage corresponds to the yellow wire?
  36. What voltage corresponds to the black wire?
    black is the ground wire
  37. What voltage corresponds to the orange wire?
  38. What is a 4 pin mini-Molex connector used for?
    floppy drives; has 5v & 12v
  39. Describe a SATA power cable
    15 pins with 3.3v, 5v, & 12v
  40. What is this?
    4 pin Molex connector (accessory power)
  41. What is this?
    4 pin CPU (main) power connector
  42. What is this?
    20 + 4 pin main motherboard power connector
  43. What is this? 
    6 pin PCIe (PCI Express) power connector
  44. What is this?
    15 pin SATA power connector
  45. What is this?
    4 pin mini-Molex (aka floppy drive) power connector
  46. Which wire on a power supply is checked during bootup and while system is running and tells the computer that the power supply is working?
    power_good wire (#8)
  47. Which wire in the power supply is responsible for soft power?
    power_on wire (#16)
  48. Which wire in the power supply is responsible for providing constant power to the computer?
    5volt_standby wire (#9)
  49. what does it mean when connectors are bundled together on the power supply
    they perform the same function, but have different connectors so that you can match them to your components
  50. What is the status of the power in this photo?
  51. When buying a motherboard, what must you make sure is compatible with the motherboard?
    Case and power supply
  52. Steps to install motherboard?
    Static precautions. Install connector faceplate. Install standoffs, matching holes in motherboard to holes in case. Place motherboard in case. Gently push ports through holes in faceplate. Screw fine-thread screws with non-conductive washers through motherboard into standoffs. Connect power supply to motherboard, CPU, ports, and lights. Install expansion cards and drives.
  53. What is a connector faceplate?
    Comes with motherboard to restrict airflow by blocking openings between ports in case.
  54. What do you install between motherboard and case?
    Standoffs - little metal "feet" that hold motherboard off bottom of case to allow airflow and prevent electrical contacts from touching case and short circuiting
  55. How much data can a 32 bit CPU manage?
    Up to 4 GB
  56. How much data can a 64 bit CPU manage?
    Up to 16 TB
  57. What is the compatibility of 32 bit and 64 bit CPUs, operating systems, and apps?
    A 64 bit CPU needs a 64 bit OS and apps to work at its full potential. Most 32 bit apps can run on a 64 bit system.
  58. What does an instruction set do?
    Dictates what operations a CPU can perform
  59. What instruction set does a 32 bit system use?
  60. What instruction set does a 64 bit system use?
  61. What is hyperthreading?
    Allows a single processor to run 2 sets of instructions at the same time (parallel)
  62. what is process size?
    manufacturing process used to etch transistors onto silicon wafer that becomes the CPU; smaller transistors means smaller CPU with more transistors and less power consumption; is expressed in microns or nanometers (100 nm = 0.1 microns)
  63. What is cache memory?
    • Fast, static memory on the CPU, accessed directly by processor without using system RAM
    • Level 1 - smallest cache; stores instructions for processor; in multi-core systems, each processor will have its own L1 cache; some processors may have two L1 caches, one for instructions and one for data
    • Level 2 - additional cache for instructions and data; may be shared between 2 or more cores or not
    • Level 3 - in multi-core systems, shared between all cores
  64. What is throttling?
    Dynamic slowing down or speeding up CPU as needed based on current operating conditions
  65. What is overclocking?
    Manually adjusting CPU clock speed and voltage over what is set by manufacturer to increase performance; can also overclock PCIe bus and memory
  66. What is virtualization?
    Allows single machine (host) to perform as multiple virtual machines (guests); performed by adding layer between physical system and operating system, which acts as hardware to guest systems; special instructions supported by processor; processor must have VT (Virtualization Technology by Intel) or AMD-V (AMD Virtualization)
  67. The two most common types of video cards
    PCI Express & AGP
  68. What should you do after installing a new video card?
    Disable the onboard video card, install drivers, and configure video display.
  69. What are the two methods of linking multiple GPUs?
    Crossfire & Scalable Link Interface (SLI)
  70. What is an easy way to tell if you have an integrated video card on your motherboard?
    If you have a video connector on the faceplate.
  71. What are the basic steps to installing multiple, linked video cards?
    • 1. Make sure your motherboard supports Crossfire or SLI and has multiple PCIe 16x slots.
    • 2. Make sure the video cards support Crossfire or SLI.  You need two or more identical video cards.
    • 3. Make sure your motherboard supports the video cards.
    • 3. Check motherboard documentation to see what steps need to be taken to enable Crossfire or SLI.
    • 4. Install video cards.
    • 5. Follow instructions to link video cards (may be automatically done by BIOS or may need Crossfire bridge clip).
    • 6. Connect video cards to power supply (if necessary) (usually 6-pin or 8-pin and maybe auxiliary power cable for Crossfire).
    • 7. Hook up monitor(s). (Although you now have tons of monitor ports, the output will only be sent through the first card.)
    • 8. Configure BIOS (if necessary) to disable onboard video card and/or enable new video cards.
    • 9. Install video card drivers.
    • 10. Configure video cards and direct them how to draw single screen (top/bottom, left/right, one line each).
  72. What are the most common slots for video cards?
    • PCIe = 16x
    • AGP = 4x or 8x
  73. Describe an onboard video card's location
    Usually on Northbridge chip; part of system bus (PCI, PCIe, or AGP)
  74. What signals are used for TV tuners?
    • Digital = ATSC
    • Analog = NTSC, PAL, and SECAM
  75. What is HDCP?
    High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection
  76. What power connector is found on PCI Express cards?
    6-pin or 8-pin
  77. All other things being equal, is a faster CPU a better CPU?
  78. what are some ways to improve performance of a computer?
    more RAM, better cooling, faster disk speed
  79. what should you consider when looking at replacing your processor?
    whether your motherboard will support that speed of processor
  80. What is a dual-core processor?
    Two processors on a single chip.
  81. you want to upgrade to a dual-core processor. what should you be aware of?
    you must have software to take advantage of a dual-core processor; and dual core is better but not 2xs better.
  82. what should you be aware of when overclocking?
    can cause instability, component damage, void the warranty; may require more voltage and increase heat output (may need to upgrade cooling); mobo bus, processor, and memory settings should also be adjusted
  83. what is a PGA socket
    Pin Grid Array - pins are on the processor
  84. what is LGA socket?
    Land Grid Array - pins are on socket, not processor
  85. what are basic steps for installing a processor?
    • 1. anti-static wrist strap & mat
    • 2. newer CPUs get very hot; make sure to use thermal paste and heat sink
    • 3. gold triangle = pin 1
    • 4. power connection from fan to mobo
    • 5. go into CMOS set up to set up CPU speed (multiplier)
  86. describe RAM
    Random Access Memory: nonlinear, fast, not persistent
  87. what are two main types of RAM?
    DRAM (Dynamic) - most common type; uses capacitors and transistors; capacitor either charged or uncharged; stored in bits (binary); has to be refreshed every few miliseconds; used for main computer memory; series of DRAM chips on stick of RAM; made up of cells, each with an address; higher storage capacity, simpler, and cheaper than SRAM

    SRAM (Static) - does not have to be refreshed less than DRAM (unless nonvolatile (nvSRAM)); uses switches (either on or off); stored in bits (binary); used for cache memory; lower storage capacity and higher cost than DRAM but uses less power and faster
  88. what is MCC?
    Memory Controller Chip - tracks addresses on DRAM (where is cell & what's on it); communicates with CPU through Address Bus; may be on Northbridge chip or on processor
  89. describe SDRAM
    synchronized with system clock; 1 instruction per cycle (max 64 bits = 1 "word"); usually computer has 8 memory modules, each storing 8 bits/cycle; 3.3v; 33-166MHz, matching mobo; aka SDR (single data rate) SDRAM; no longer used in new computers
  90. describe DDR SDRAM
    Double Data Rate SDRAM; 1 command/cycle & 2 data sets; twice as fast as SDR; 2.5v; bus frequency of 100-200 MHz; no longer used in new computers
  91. describe DDR2 SDRAM
    2xs DDR SDRAM; 4 data sets (words)/cycle; 1.8 v; bus frequency of 200-533 MHz; buffer between bus & memory; memory frequency is half of bus frequency (100-266 MHz)
  92. describe DDR3 SDRAM
    2xs DDR2 SDRAM; 8 data sets/cycle; 1.5 v; us frequency of 400-1000 MHz; memory frequency is 1/4 of bus frequency (100-250 MHz)
  93. describe RDRAM
    Rambus RAM; 32 or 16 bits/cycle; 2 sets of instructions (words)/cycle; 2.4 v; bus frequency 400-800 MHz; must have heat spreaders; memory controller on each chip; data must pass through each in line; must have continuity modules in empty slots; no longer used in new computers
  94. how does single channel memory work?
    data goes to single MCC to multiple memory modules
  95. how does dual channel memory work?
    data goes to multiple MCCs to one or more memory modules; memory modules are assigned to specific MCC
  96. what are some important facts about dual channel memory?
    this is a mobo configuration (the memory controller), not specific type of memory; dual channel can be DDR, DDR2, etc., however must use DDR3 for triple channel
  97. what is SIMM
    single inline memory module - 32-bit; pins on both sides, but are redundant; in older computers, before SDRAM & DDR
  98. what is DIMM
    dual inline memory module - pins on both sides, each unique; SDRAM; usually 8 memory chips; RDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3
  99. what is SO-DIMM
    small outline DIMM - usually 4 memory chips; smaller to fit in smaller cases; RDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3
  100. what is RIMM
    Rambus inline memory module - single channel is 16-bit and must be installed in pairs; dual is 32-bit and can be installed as single units; all slots must be filled with RIMM or continuity module
  101. what must you do before purchasing memory for a computer
    check mobo documentation; memory must be compatible with mobo in form and voltage; also need to know how many memory slots, what type and speeds are allowed, and max memory that can be installed
  102. what is PAE
    Physical Address Extension - increasing a 32 bit system to allow it to access 36 bit addresses, effectively increasing the theoretical max memory size of the system from 4 GB to 64 GB
  103. what is parity?
    type of error correction where 1 or 0 is appended to each byte so that total number of 1's is always either even or odd; detects errors in only one bit, but does not correct them because it does not know the specific bit containing the error; not found in newer computers
  104. what is ECC?
    Error Correcting Code - found in high-end systems; usually has 9 memory chips instead of 8 (if number of chips is divisible by 3 or 5, probably has ECC); extra chip compares number of 1's in byte when written to number of 1's in byte when read (same = intact; different = corrupt); detects errors in multiple bits and also corrects errors
  105. what is registered memory?
    registered memory (aka buffered memory) is found in high-end servers; there is a register between the memory controller and the DRAM, which acts a buffer placing less electrical load on the memory controller and allows for more stability in the system; holds memory addresses or data before it is transferred to memory controller; ECC is typically also buffered
  106. what is CAS Latency?
    Column Address Strobe Latency - delay between memory controller telling memory module to access memory location and time data is available; measured in clock cycles; lower number = faster memory; stated as ratio based on clock frequency
  107. in memory modules, what are the different timing ratings?
    • CL - CAS Latency
    • tRAC - Row Address to Column Address Delay
    • tRP - Row Precharge Time
    • tRAS - Row Active Time
  108. what is SPD?
    Serial Presence Detect - BIOS queries SPD during POST to allow mobo to know what memory is there and at which frequency it runs (also about latencies, which are related to frequency); can be overridden, but may cause instability
  109. what are the three specifications for RAM that determine performance?
    size (capacity), frequency (speed), and timings
  110. what is the clock rate of a CPU
    the frequency at which the CPU runs
  111. in memory modules, what is bandwidth?
    speed of memory; amount of data that can be sent in MB/sec; increased bandwidth comes from increased bus speed to send more sets of data
  112. what does the rating number of memory tell you?
    in older RAM, rating number was frequency (SDRAM PC-33 = 33 MHz)

    DDR (2xs as fast as SDRAM) = PC-200 = (bus speed * 2) = 100 MHz

    in DDR2 and DDR3, PC numbers are bandwidth (MB/sec) and DDR numbers are frequency 

    • PC-1600 = 1600 MB/sec
    • DDR-200 = 200 MHz

    to find frequency of PC-1600, divide by 16 (PC-1600 / 16 = 100 MHz) 

    to find bandwidth of DDR-200, multiply by 8 (DDR-200 * 8 = 1600 MB/sec.)
  113. what is memory frequency
    memory frequency (aka speed) needs to match frequency of front side bus/memory controller; speed is equal to or multiple of front side bus frequency; memory modules usually contain SPD (serial presence detect) chip that tells BIOS the frequency, but you can alter this if needed; mixed frequencies will operate at lowest frequency
  114. explain single-sided and double-sided RAM
    memory modules are organized into either one bank (single-sided) or two banks (double-sided); this may not be "literally" divided (you can have double-sided memory with modules on only one side); computer can only access one bank at a time, so double-sided RAM requires the computer to switch between banks; single-sided memory uses half the memory modules as double-sided (modules are denser with higher individual capacity)
  115. What kind of memory is this?
    DDR - one notch slightly off center, 184 pins
  116. What kind of memory is this?
    DDR2 - one notch slightly closer to middle than DDR, 240 pins
  117. What kind of memory is this?
    DDR3 - one notch slightly off center more to left than DDR2, 240 pins
  118. What kind of memory is this?
    Rambus (RDRAM)
  119. What kind of memory is this?
  120. What kind of memory is this?
    144-pin SODIMM - notch slightly off center; SDRAM, DDR, DDR2
  121. What kind of memory is this?
    200-pin SODIMM - notch more toward left than 144-pin SODIMM; DDR2, DDR3
  122. What kind of memory is this?
    SDRAM - 2 notches, one in the middle and one far left (168 pins)
  123. What are basic steps to installing memory modules?
    • 1. check mobo docs to make sure compatible (ECC, double-sided, etc.) 
    • 2. take ESD precautions
    • 3. locate memory slots (first slot (slot 1 or 0) is usually closest to CPU
    • 4. if you're installing a second module, make sure you've check mobo docs to see if need to install in pairs or, if installing RDRAM, that you have continuity modules
    • 5. if installing dual or triple channel, need matching sets
    • 6. make sure to alight notches; most memory also has tabs on ends to hold memory in place
    • 7. go to CMOS and make sure memory is recognized in BIOS; most will automatically configure frequency, voltage, timing, etc. from SPD chip
    • 8. if not recognized, make sure memory is properly seated in slot
  124. What is the likely problem if your computer hangs during boot and asks for current date & time?
    CMOS battery has failed; the RTC (real time clock) in BIOS has reverted back to old date and time
  125. What is the BIOS and what are its 2 main functions?
    • BIOS is the software program (firmware) that runs startup program.  It uses CMOS data to configure & access devices. 
    • You would use the BIOS to:
    • install & configure peripherals
    • configure & apply BIOS settings
  126. What is the CMOS?
    CMOS is the memory that stores system info related to starting computer; it is accessed by BIOS when starting computer
  127. What is RTC?
    Real time clock - always running, even if computer is unplugged; queries Microsoft server when running to stay updated; if falling behind, need new CMOS battery
  128. What is IDE?
    integrated drive electronics - in BIOS, this is where you would configure RAID array and other drive specifications
  129. What is SMART?
    self monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology - will warn if drive is about to fail
  130. What would you find in the Advanced Tab in the BIOS?
    chipset settings (including speed, voltage)
  131. What would you find in Power Menu in BIOS?
    Info about power & heat of system, fan speed & voltage, info about monitor and other hardware, etc.
  132. What would you find in Boot Menu in BIOS?
    Boot order, setting passwords (user & supervisor), and virtualization technology
  133. How do you clear all CMOS settings (including admin password)?
  134. What are these?
    • PCI slots -- 32 bit (white) or 64 bit (brown)
    • key is about 1/4 of the way toward one edge
    • if orange, means wired to accept AMR or CNR in first set of pins
  135. What is this?
    • AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) - usually brown
    • no keys
  136. What are these?

    • PCIe -- PCI Express x16 (16 lanes) and x1 (1 lane)
    • usually white or orange
    • keys close to one edge and PCIe x16 is bigger than PCI
  137. What is this?
    • CNR (Communications and Networking Riser) or AMR (Audio/Modem Riser)
    • usually brown, small, key in middle
    • for sound or modem daughter cards
  138. What are some characteristics of PCI?
    Processor independent; "plug & play"; for sound cards, modems, network cards, storage devices; 133 MB/sec. 33 MHz
  139. What are some characteristics of PCIe?
    • PCI Express does not use a shared bus; switch prioritizes and routes data through a dedicated connection; can be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 lanes (x1, x2, etc.)
    • usually for video cards but can be designed for any device
    • v1 250 MBs per lane
    • v2 500 MBs per lane
    • v3 1 GB per lane
    • v4 2 GBs per lane
  140. How many pins does miniPCI have?
    100 or 124
  141. What are some characteristics of AGP?
    • Designed for video but has mostly been replaced by PCIe
    • 66 MHz
    • v1 1x 266 MBs
    • v1 2x 533 MBs
    • v2 4x 1066 MBs
    • v3 8x 2133 MBs
  142. What is HDCP?
    High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection - protects content from DVD to TV; requires compatible DVD player, video card, and monitor
  143. What are the most common bus types used for video cards?
    AGP (4x or 8x) and PCIe (16x); older cards use PCI or VESA; integrated video cards are on Northbridge chip and part of one of the buses (PCI, AGP, or PCIe)
  144. What is this?
    VGA (DB-15) connector -- for analog monitors
  145. What are these?
    • DVI connectors (Digital Video Interface) -- used for LCD monitors
    • 1. DVI-D (Digital)
    • 2. DVI-A (Analog)
    • 3. DVI-I (Integrated Digital/Analog)
  146. What is this?
    HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface - used to connect TV or HD monitors
  147. What is video hardware acceleration?
    when you have an upgraded video card, which uses its own GPU processor instead of using the CPU, resulting in increased performance; percentage of video hardware acceleration is set in OS and can be modified, especially in older systems where increased video processing requirements may cause system instability
  148. How does SLI work?
    Allows multiple GPUs to draw a single screen.
  149. What are the 2 most common interfaces to link multiple video cards together?
    SLI (Scalable Link Interface) & CrossFire
  150. What is resolution?
    Number of pixels on screen (usually 1024 x 756 to 2048 x 1536)
  151. What is color depth?
    • Number of different colors, expressed in bits; higher is better
    • 8-bit = 256 colors
    • 16-bit (aka high color) = 66,536 colors
    • 24-bit (aka true color) = 16.7M colors
    • 32-bit (aka true color) = 16.7M colors + alpha channel
  152. What is refresh rate?
    Number of times entire screen repaints per second; expressed in Hz; lower than 70 Hz may cause eye fatigue; best is 75-85Hz
  153. What do analog TVs use for input?
  154. What do digital TVs use for input?
    HDMI (or DVI to connect to computer)
  155. Name analog TV signals
    NTSC (National Television Systems Committee), PAL (Phase Alternating Line), and SECAM (French version of "Sequential Color with Memory")
  156. Name digital TV signals
    ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee)
  157. If you were buying a high-end video card for gaming or other animation, what would you expect to find on the video card?
    • DirectX - Microsoft Application Program Interface for graphics, animation, multimedia
    • Direct 3D - 3D version of DirectX
    • OpenGL - alternative to DirectX
  158. What are these?

    • S/PDIF connection
    • Top: RCA - coaxial audio digital input or output
    • Bottom:  Toslink - optical digital input or output
  159. What is the difference between USB A connectors and USB B connectors?
    USB A usually goes on the device supplying power and UBS B usually goes on the device receiving power
  160. What is this?
    40-pin PATA connector
  161. What is the designation for a parallel port interface?
    LPT (line print terminal)
  162. What is the designation for a serial port interface?
  163. How many MBs in a GB?
  164. On older computers, what was a DB-15 connector on a sound card used for?
  165. What uses Centronics connectors?
    Parallel printers & SCSI
  166. Where would you configure a parallel port to use ECP mode?
    In CMOS, you can change parallel port settings to Standard Parallel Port (SPP), Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP), or Extended Capabilities Port (ECP)
  167. Why would you choose a serial port over a parallel port or vice versa?
    Serial ports can send data over long distances, but parallel ports are faster
  168. How do you upgrade your UBS ports from 1.1 to 2.0?
    Edit BIOS settings
  169. What is an IRQ?
    Interrupt Request - a signal from hardware to the processor telling it to interrupt a running program and run a different program instead (e.g. when you click your mouse)
  170. If you have a USB hub with a scanner, thumb drive, and external hard drive plugged in, how many IRQs would you expect?
    One for the hub
  171. How fast is USB?
    • USB 1.0 = 1.5 or 12 Mbps
    • USB 2.0 = 480 Mbps
    • USB 3.0 = 5 Gbps
  172. What is the max cable length for FireWire?
    • IEEE 1394a (FireWire 400) is 4.5 m
    • IEEE 1394b (FireWire 800) is 100 m
  173. How many devices can a single USB bus support?
  174. How many devices can a single SCSI bus support?
  175. How many devices can a single FireWire bus support?
  176. Describe an LED monitor
    LED monitors are a type of LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. They use liquid crystals and LED backlight technology instead of CCFL backlight.
  177. Describe an LCD monitor.
    LCD (liquid crystal display) uses liquid crystals and CCFL (cold cathode florescent tubes) for backlight.
  178. Describe a plasma monitor.
    Plasma displays use small cells containing electrically charged, ionized gases, which create the image.  They don't use backlighting.
  179. Describe a CRT monitor.
    CRT (cathode ray tube) uses electron "guns" in a vacuum tube to beam images onto a florescent screen (aka old school TVs and monitors). Images contain several hundred horizontal lines. Interlaced means the screen is scanned out of order (odd-numbered lines, then even-numbered lines); this is sometimes used on higher resolution monitors, but can cause more flicker. Non-interlaced monitors and monitors with higher refresh rates create less flicker.
  180. What is this?
    DisplayPort (VESA) - a digital audio & video connector
  181. What is the first thing you should do when a customer says their monitor is not displaying a picture?
    Check connections and brightness/contrast
  182. If a customer complains their SVGA monitor has one corner displaying more purple than the rest of the image, what could be the problem?
    data cable or connector
  183. If a customer complains their mouse cursor is "weird" and webpage images are corrupted, what can you do to assist?
    decrease video adapter's hardware acceleration
  184. If a customer complaints their LCD monitor is "fuzzy" when set to 1600 x 1200 resolution, what could be the problem?
    LCD monitors have native resolutions; adjust back to default settings.

    • SXGA 1280 x 1024, 5:4 aspect ratio
    • VGA 1024 x 768
    • UXGA 1600 x 1200
    • WUXGA (Widescreen) 1920 x 1200, 16:10 aspect ratio
  185. If a customer complains that their older computer running Windows 7 is very slow, what can you do to help?
    Windows 7 has animation, shading, and fading effects.  Adjust the visual effects to reduce the load on older computer systems.
  186. What does it mean when a drive has a Microsoft digital signature?
    It has been tested by Microsoft and not altered.
  187. What should you do before installing a plug-and-play sound card in an open PCI slot?
    Verify it is compatible with your version of Windows.  Download the latest driver from the manufacturer's website.
  188. What does plug-and-play mean?
    You do not need to manually assign system resources/configure device; that will be done automatically by BIOS and OS.
  189. What does hot-swappable mean?
    You can replace that system component without shutting the computer down; Windows automatically detects device, configures driver, and enables device; USB, SATA, and eSATA support hot-swappable devices; IDE does not
  190. How do you configure plug-and-play devices?
    through Device Manager
  191. Are PCMCIA slots hot-swappable?
    PCMCIA is now known as PC card.  Yes, they are hot-swappable
  192. Which of these are flash (solid state) devices? MMC, SD, SDHC, XD, DLT
    • Yes:
    • MMC (MultiMedia Card)
    • SD (Secure Digital aka SDSC Secure Digital Standard Capacity)
    • SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity
    • XD (xD Picture Card)

    • No:
    • DLT (Digital Linear Tape)
  193. Why are solid state drives better than hard drives?
    No moving parts, lower power consumption, faster, less susceptible to physical damage, smaller and lighter, uses SATA disk interfaces.

    BUT storage capacity is smaller and they are more expensive
  194. What is the most common disk interface for optical drives?
  195. When you install a drive before or after the twist in the ribbon cable, what will the drive letter be?
    After = A; before = B
  196. You installed a new floppy disk drive, but when you boot up the computer, the drive light remains lit.  What could be the problem?
    the floppy drive ribbon cable may be installed backwards
  197. How many devices can an IDE channel support?
    each channel can support 2 devices
  198. How many PATA devices can you install on a typical ATX motherboard?
    You will have 2 IDE channels and each can support 2 devices, so a max of 4.
  199. You have two devices you want to install on the same IDE channel.  One is new and fast; the other is old and slow.  Which should you set to master?
    Set the new/fast one to master; the controller will control the old/slow device too.
  200. How many SATA drives can you connect to each channel?
  201. You are installing the first SATA drive in a computer and do not have the drivers for the motherboard's integrated SATA controller.  What do you need to do?
    A SATA drive operating in IDE mode emulates a PATA device; no special drivers are needed.
  202. What is this?
    SATA cables have 2 connectors with 15 pins (3.3v, 5v, 12v)
  203. What is this?
    PATA cables have 3 connectors
  204. How are SCSI IDs set?
    • External devices have switches that you can set with a pin, increasing or decreasing the number as desired. 
    • Internal devices may have 3 or 4 jumpers or switches, usually representing the numbers 1, 2, 4, 8.  Add numbers together to get SCSI ID.

    Each device must have a unique number.  ID No. 0 is device number 1 and the controller is ID No. 7.  Higher numbers have higher priority.
  205. How many devices can a SCSI controller support?
    8, including the controller
  206. Where do you need terminators on a SCSI cable?
    Each end of the cable; doesn't matter if internal or external device; some devices have built-in termination
  207. You have just installed a new external SCSI hard drive.  What should you do first?
    Set SCSI ID.
  208. What is the difference between active SCSI terminators and passive?
    Active uses voltage regulators and resistors; passive uses resistors only.  Passive terminators can only be used for slower devices less than 3 ft. from controller.  Passive is usually single-ended and active can be high-voltage differential (HVD) or low-voltage differential (LVD).
  209. What is most important when choosing the type of rewritable DVD drive?
    Media compatibility.
  210. Which one of these numbers is the read speed on a drive:  32x/12x/48x?
    The first number is record and the last is read.  The middle is rewrite.  If it only has 2 numbers, there's no rewrite.
  211. Describe the different RAID configurations.
    • RAID 0 = striping, no fault tolerance = 2 or more disks
    • RAID 1 = mirroring w/fault tolerance = 2 disks
    • RAID 5 = striping w/fault tolerance and improved performance = 3 or more disks
  212. If RAID is supported by your motherboard, how do you set it up?
    Load RAID drivers during OS installation
  213. You have a computer with Windows 7 Enterprise.  You want to set up RAID 5 with 3 newly-installed SATA disks.  When you go to Disk Management, RAID 5 is not listed as an option.  What do you need to do?
    Windows 7 supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 only.  If you want RAID 5, you must install RAID controller in expansion slot or on motherboard.
  214. Describe Bluetooth.
    Uses 2.4 GHz radio waves, same as 802.11 wireless, but can go through walls.  Max 50 m. (55 yd.) range.  Good for PANs, ad hoc connections between devices.
  215. What is hypervisor?
    software or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines
  216. What is virtualization?
    mimicking an OS platform or an entire computer with software and/or hardware
  217. What is the difference between a BIOS user password and a BIOS administrative password?
    A user password will require entry before OS will load; an admin password will require entry before allowing access to CMOS
  218. What is a Trusted Platform Module?
    TPM is a hardware cryptoprocessor on the mobo that stores and generates a cryptographic key. It generates hash values of system components at startup to verify components have not been modified. Each system has unique key, which can be used to identify system. Keys are used for encryption and authentication, but do not actually perform encryption.