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HP IT Essential I: PC Hardware and Software v3.1. Module 2. How Computers Work. Version 3.1. Basic Functions of an Operating Systems. Input – Recognizing input from the keyboard or mouse. Processing –- Manipulating data according to the user's instructions.

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Module 2

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

Module 2

How Computers Work

Version 3.1


Basic Functions of an Operating Systems

  • Input – Recognizing input from the keyboard or mouse.

  • Processing –- Manipulating data according to the user's instructions.

  • Output – Sending output to the video screen or printer.

  • Storage – Keeping track of files for use later. Examples of storage devices include floppy disks and hard drives.


Bootstrap

  • For an operating system to run, it must be loaded into the Random Access Memory (RAM)of the computer.

  • When a computer is first turned on, it launches a small program called the bootstrap loader that is built into the hardware of the computer.

  • Specifically, the bootstrap is located on the BIOS chip, which resides on the system board.

  • The primary functions of the bootstrap are to test the computer hardware and to locate and load the operating system into RAM.


Power-On Self Test

  • To test the computer hardware, the bootstrap program runs a program called power-on self-test or POST.In this test, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) checks itself first and then checks the computer system timer. The POST checks the Random Access Memory (RAM) by writing data to each RAM chip and then reading that data. Any difference indicates a problem.

  • If the POST finds errors, it sends a message to the computer monitor. If the POST finds errors that cannot be displayed on the monitor, it sends errors in the form of "beeps."

  • The POST sends one beep and the screen begins to display OS loading messages once the bootstrap has determined that the computer has passed the POST.


Loading the Operating System

  • The next step for the bootstrap program is to locate the OS and copy it to the computer RAM.

  • When the bootstrap finds the OS boot record, it is copied to the computer RAM and the bootstrap program turns over the control of the boot process to the boot record.

  • As files are located and loaded into RAM, the boot record is no longer needed. The OS that was stored on the hard disk is now in control of the boot process.


Motherboards

  • Knowledge of the motherboard, also called the system board or main board, is crucial because it is the nerve center of the computer system. Everything else in the system plugs into it, is controlled by it, and depends on it to communicate with other devices on the system.

  • It generally houses the CPU, the controller circuitry, the bus, RAM, expansion slots for additional boards, and ports for external devices. In addition, it contains the CMOS and other ROM BIOS and support chips providing varied functionality.


Motherboard Form Factors

  • Motherboards are usually described by their form factors, which describe their physical dimensions. The two most common form factors in use today are the Baby AT motherboard and the ATX motherboard.

  • The ATX motherboard is similar to the Baby AT motherboard, except for a number of important enhancements. Most new systems come with the ATX motherboard form factor.


Motherboard Components

  • The major components on the motherboard include the chipset, CPU socket, expansion sockets, I/O support, BIOS, RAM sockets, power supply socket, CMOS chip, dipswitches and jumpers, and the memory cache.


Central Processing Unit

  • The CPU is one of the most important elements of the personal computer.

  • On the motherboard, the CPU is contained on a single integrated circuit called the microprocessor.

  • The computer will not run without a CPU.

  • Often referred to as the brains of a computer, the CPU contains two basic components:

    • Control unit

    • Arithmetic/Logic Unit (ALU)


Processor Speed

  • CPU descriptions as Pentium 133, Pentium 166, or Pentium 200 are well known. These numbers are specifications that indicate the maximum (reliable) operating speed at which the CPU can execute instructions.

  • The CPU speed is not controlled by the microprocessor itself, but by an external clock located on the motherboard.

  • The speed of the processor is determined by the frequency of the clock signal. It is typically expressed in megahertz (MHz), and the higher the number, the faster the processor.


CPU

Only used about 1 year.

Only used by AMD


Expansion Slots

  • Expansion slots, also known as sockets, are receptacles on the computer motherboard that accept printed circuit boards.

  • All computers have expansion slots that allow additional devices to be added.

  • Video cards, I/O cards, and sound cards are examples of components that are located in expansion slots.


Expansion Slots

  • The common expansion slots that are likely to be encountered include the following:

    • Industry Standard Architecture (ISA )

    • Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI )

    • Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)


AGP Slot

  • The Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) was developed by Intel.

  • AGP is a dedicated high-speed bus that is used to support the high demands of graphical software.

  • This slot is reserved for video adapters.

  • This is the standard graphics port in all new systems.


PCI Slot

  • The Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) is a 32-bit local bus slot developed by Intel.

  • Since they talk to the motherboard at 33 MHz, the PCI bus slots offer a significant improvement over ISA or EISA expansion slots.


Random Access Memory (RAM)

  • RAM is considered temporary or volatile memory.

  • The contents of RAM are lost when the computer power is turned off.

  • RAM chips on the computer motherboard hold the data and programs that the microprocessor is processing.

  • In other words, RAM is memory that stores frequently used data for rapid retrieval by the processor.

  • RAM can be installed on the motherboard, either as a permanent fixture, or in the form of small chips, referred to as Single Inline Memory Modules (SIMMs) or Dual Inline Memory Modules (DIMMs).


Random Access Memory (RAM)

  • A SIMM plugs into the motherboard with a 72-pin or 30-pin connector. The pins connect to the system bus, creating an electronic path through which memory data can flow to and from other system components.


Random Access Memory (RAM)

  • DIMM plugs into the system memory bank using a 168-pin connector. The pins establish a connection with the system bus, creating an electronic path through which data can flow between the memory chip and other system components.


Classes of RAM

  • There are two classes of RAM that are commonly used today.

  • Static RAM (SRAM)

  • Dynamic RAM (DRAM).


Static Ram (SRAM)

  • SRAM is relatively more expensive, but it is fast and holds data when the power is turned off for a brief period of time.

  • SRAM is used for cache memory.

  • DRAM is inexpensive and somewhat slow.

  • It requires an uninterrupted power supply to maintain the data.

  • DRAM stores data in tiny capacitor that must be refreshed to maintain the data.

Dynamic Ram (DRAM)


Monitors

  • Computers are usually connected to a display, also called a monitor.

  • Some key monitor-related terms are: pixels, refresh rate, resolution, and size.

    • Pixels – Are picture elements. The screen image is made of pixels (tiny dots), which are arranged in rows across the screen. Each pixel consists of three colors: red, green, and blue (RGB).

    • Dot pitch – A measurement of how close together the phosphor dots are on the screen. The finer the dot pitch, the better image quality (measured in millimeters).


Monitors

  • Resolution – Varies based on the number of pixels. The more pixels in the screen, the better the resolution. Better resolution means a sharper image. The lowest screen resolution on modern PCs is 640 x 480 pixels, which is called Video Graphics Array (VGA).

  • Monitor screen sizes – Measured in inches. The most common sizes are 14", 15", 17", 19", and 21" screens, measured diagonally.


I /O Ports

  • All peripheral devices that connect to the computer such as printers, scanners, and so on, use connectors on the back of the computer known as ports.

  • There are different types of ports on the computer that serve different purposes.

  • An I/O port is a pathway into and out of the computer.


Serial Ports

  • A serial port can be used to connect devices that use a serial interface such as a modem, scanner, mouse, etc.

  • Generally, a PC can identify up to four serial ports, but the typical computer contains only two, referred to as COM1 and COM2.

  • A serial port transmits data bits one after the other (serially) over a single line.

  • Serial ports are sometimes called the RS-232 ports because they use the RS-232C standard as defined by the Electronics Industry Association (EIA).

  • The DB-9 shown is a 9-pin male connector.


Parallel Ports

  • A parallel port is a socket on the computer that is used to connect a printer or other peripheral device such as a portable hard disk, tape backup, scanner, or a CD-ROM.

  • The parallel port contains eight lines for transmitting an entire byte (8 bits) across the eight data lines simultaneously.

  • Parallel ports can be configured as LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3.


Parallel Ports

  • PS/2 keyboard or PS/2 mouse ports are used to connect your PC to its keyboard and mouse.

  • Though both ports look identical, the mouse (green) and keyboard (purple) ports are not interchangeable.

  • Usually both ports are color coded or labeled to avoid any confusion.


Universal Serial Bus (USB)

  • USB is an external port that allows the user to connect up to 127 external PC peripherals.

  • External peripherals include the following:

    • USB keyboards

    • Mice

    • Printers

    • Modems

    • Scanners

    • Digital cameras

    • Digital video cameras

    • External disk drives

    • *USB devices can be hot-plugged.


EIDE and SCSI Controllers

  • The internal hard drive (discussed later in this module) is connected to a disk controller with a cable.

  • The hard drive and other devices can use one of two types of interface controllers to work with the computer.

  • These include the Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE), and Small Computer System Interface (SCSI, pronounced "scuzzy") connections.


EIDE Controllers

  • Enhanced IDE (EIDE) is the "new and improved" Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) drive interface.

  • Not confined to IDE's 528 MB of data, the EIDE interface can handle up to 8.4 GB or more.

  • While IDE can support only two drives, EIDE can support up to four devices using two IDE cables.


SCSI Controllers

  • The Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI ) controller

  • Like EIDE, SCSI devices have the controlling electronics on each of the drives.

  • A standard SCSI interface will allow up to seven devices to be connected to one SCSI adapter or controller. If the SCSI card is counted, it makes eight SCSI devices.

  • Such devices may include hard drives, CD-ROM drives, taped drives, scanners, and removable drives.

  • Each SCSI device in the chain, including the SCSI controller card is given a SCSI ID number from 0 to 7; #0 for the primary boot device (hard drive), and #7 for the SCSI controller card.


SCSI Controllers

  • SCSI devices are typically connected in a series, forming a chain that is commonly referred to as a daisy chain.

  • The two SCSI devices at either end of the daisy chain must be terminated.


SCSI Controllers

  • Three major versions of the SCSI standard are currently on the market.

  • They are SCSI-1, SCSI-2, and SCSI-3. Installation of the three SCSI devices is similar.

  • The differences are mainly in the size of the SCSI connector that is used to connect the SCSI disk drive to the SCSI cable.

SCSI-1 & SCSI-2

SCA 80

SCSI-2 Wide

SCA (Single Connector Attachment) is designed for simplifying hard drive connections to hot-swappable RAID


Hard Disk Drive

  • The HDD has a much larger storage capacity than the floppy for long-term storage.

  • It stores your programs and files, as well as the operating system.

  • Typically, the HDD is an internal drive that cannot be removed from the computer.


Hard Disk Drive Components

  • All hard disk drives share a common set of components. These components include: Disk platters, read/write heads, head actuator assembly, spindle motor, logic/circuit board, bezel/faceplate, configuration jumpers, and interface connectors.

    • Disk platters are the actual media on which data is stored in the hard disk drive.

    • Read/write heads are used to access the media. The disk platters require a read/write head for each side.

    • Spindle motor which spins the platters.


Modems

  • A modem is a device that converts the digital data used by computers into analog signals, suitable for transmission over a telephone line, and converts the analog signals back to a digital signal at the destination.

  • The word modem is actually an acronym for modulator/demodulator.

  • A modem uses a dialup networking connection.

  • A dial-up modem uses an RJ-11 to connector


Network Interface Card

  • A network interface card (NIC) is used to connect a local computer to a group of other computers.

  • NICs connect computers so they can share data and resources in a networked environment.

  • Most NICs use an RJ-45 connector.


Interrupt Request

  • Modern computers and operating systems owe their reliability to the organized way in which they handle internal transactions.

  • Various hardware devices, for example, may want to tell the CPU that they have some information available that is ready for transfer.

  • The devices indicate this by making an interrupt request, or IRQ.

  • It is a general rule that IRQs CANNOT be shared.


Interrupt Request

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Cascaded IRQs

Instructions for controllers designed to work on the AT system board usually are located at IRQ 9, they are typically redirected, or cascaded to IRQ 2.

Therefore, if IRQ 2 is being used by BIOS instructions, IRQ 9 is also being used.

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Direct Memory Access

  • Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels allow devices to bypass the processor and directly access the computer memory.

  • Devices with a DMA channel assignment, as a result, gain the advantage of faster data transfers.

  • DMA channels are typically used by high-speed communication devices for transferring large amounts of data at high speeds.

  • Examples of such devices include sound cards, some network cards, some SCSI cards, some disk drives, and some tape backup drives.


I /O Address

  • In addition to an IRQ, computer components also need to be assigned an I/O port number.

  • An I/O port number is a memory address where data is temporarily stored as it moves in and out of the devices.

  • The I/O address is very similar to a post office box.


I /O Address

  • Frequently referred to I / O Addresses:

    • 3F8 = COM1

    • 2F8 = COM2

    • 3E8 = COM3

    • 2E8 = COM4

    • 378 = LPT1

    • 278 = LPT2


Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA)

  • The PCMCIA is a special expansion card designed primarily to accommodate the needs of the portable computer market.

  • These cards can be used to upgrade a notebook by adding memory, a modem, a network connection, or a peripheral device.


Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA)

  • There are three types of PCMCIA slots and cards:

    • -Type I cards are 3.3mm thick and used as memory expansion units.

    • -Type II cards are 5mm thick and are used for any expansion device except hard drives.

    • -Type III cards are 10.5mmthick and designed to be used solely for hard drives.


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