20 Minutes for good Hardware Knowledge in Personal Computer Systems

Textbook, 2012

14 Pages



1. Preface / Important notes

2. Basic components of a computer
Video Card
Hard Drive
Optical Drives
Power Supply

3. Modular construction of a computer
What is to consider if you build a new computer?
System Type

4. Important Interfaces
USB / FireWire

5. Checklist


In this short book, I would like to introduce you in the construction of a personal computer in a short time. For this, I will show you in the progress of the book the various components of a personal computer.

The aim of this book is to provide you with the knowledge about these components in more detail by learning:

- which functions the individual components perform.
- which properties these components have.
- in which way the single components fit together.
- how you will be able to affect the stability and speed of a system.
- how you build a PC-System by yourself based on this knowledge.

In this book I will point out only the necessary details to accomplish these targets.

Following this, you will find a checklist at the end of the book.

Important Notice:

Always disconnect the computer and all components of the hardware from the Power Supply before you change any components or when you are (re)assembling the components or other parts!

Make sure that your body has no electrostatic charge. To ensure this, please touch various metallic bright surfaces such as radiators to discharge. An ESD shock can destroy your hardware!

Always follow the instructions and warnings that are listed in the manuals of the individual components.

The author assumes no liability for damages of any kind, whether for personal injury that may result from improper or incorrect use of this book. This book is for information purposes only and is not an assembly manual. For errors, mistakes and misprints the author assumes no liability. Claims for damages for any reason are excluded. If any provision is invalid, the remaining provisions shall remain unaffected.

Product names, trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are not usually marked as such. The use is for information only. The absence of such indications does not mean that it is a free name in terms of trademark and trademark law. The author recognizes all product names and trademarks. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author or electronically processed, copied or distributed.

Basic components of a computer.

The Mainboard, also called Motherboard, is the beating heart of a Personal Computer System. You will find all important parts of a computer on this. The Mainboard is connected with the Power Supply to power the main components.

This includes:

- Processor (CPU)
- Memory
- Video Card

When you select a motherboard you must pay attention to the Form Factor (the size of the motherboard), the chipset, the type and speed of the RAM (memory) mountable, and furthermore to the socket (“port of the processor”).

The two most important Form Factors are ATX and Micro-ATX(µATX).

ATX Mainboards are bigger than Micro-ATX Mainboards, so they will not fit in every usual chassis. You should ensure that the board you have chosen fits into the case.

THE Chipset contains the most important functions of a motherboard:

The type and speed of the Memory, Processor, USB, SATA, PCIe ports etc. depend on the chipset in type, quantity and speed.

The type and speed to find a suitable memory module can’t be taken from a usual trade term. Because of this we will cover this topic in the category Memory.

On the Socket the Processor is mounted. There are many different types of sockets, including the AM3 socket from AMD and the Intel socket 1366.

A usual trade term for a motherboard is:

Asus M4A79T Deluxe 790FX AM3 ATX

Now we split this term into the several parts:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

You see, you will perceive the most important information at first glance.

If you buy a Motherboard, pay attention to the suitable Power Supply. Electricity connectors are recorded as follows: „24 Pin + 8 Pin“ or „ATX 2.x“ or „EPS“ etc.

The Processor is the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer system.

He takes over almost all calculations in a computer needed to run a program. The speed (frequency) of a processor is measured in GHz. It has its own "small memory" which is divided into different layers (level 1, level 2 and level 3 cache). In these cache it is possible to outsource major parts of a program.

The two major manufacturers are Intel and AMD.

Processors use different sockets, as we have noted in the previous part. Below is a table in which the major sockets could be associated with their vendors:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

As you can see, you can recognize the manufacturer very easily if you take a look at the socket.

Most modern processors have multiple cores, which enables them to execute several arithmetic operations simultaneously.

Processors are usually sold in two versions, boxed and tray.

In the boxed version you get a stock cooler for the processor in addition. With the tray variant you will only receive the processor.

Important: A processor must always be cooled!

When you are buying a cooler, you have to pay attention to the socket, and you have to use the included thermal paste. This paste must be applied between the cooler and the processor.

A commercial designation for an AMD processor could be for example:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

With Intel Processors you should know that not all cores are real physical cores. Intel uses the HT-Technology which allows it to use virtual cores.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The Random Access Memory (RAM) is another major component. In this component, large parts of programs and data currently in use are cached. Because the memory reaches a much higher read speed than hard disks, this allows better performance. If the memory is too small, parts still need to be repeatedly loaded from the hard disk before they can be processed. This can result in massive speed dips.

At the present time (January 2012) I would recommend the use of 4 GB of RAM up to 8 GB if you use a 64-bit (x64) operating system (e.g. Windows 7 is available in 32- and 64-bit versions).

Make sure that the modules are always from the same manufacturer (for example, 2 x 2 GB). A motherboard usually has 4 slots, each for a memory module, these 4 slots are further divided into two colors (eg red and blue).

I recommend the use of 2 or 4 modules of the same size, speed and the same manufacturer. If you are using only 2 modules, make sure that the modules are located in the two slots of the same color. Insert here the first module in the slot that is closest to the processor. So you achieve the best possible result.

Memory is currently available in two variants who are important to us.

(Type, in the course "Ram-Type" called):



Notice that SO or SO-Dimm Memory is used for Notebooks.

Your motherboard and processor usually support only one of these memory types, based on your chipset and memory controller or the processor. To help you, please notice the following table:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Take a look on the details of your mainboard to identify the maximum speed and type of RAM supported by your board.

The higher the clock rate and the lower the latency, the faster the RAM.

Commercial designation:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

* in this case 2 RAM modules (thus 2 x 2 GB).

The Graphics Card is responsible for the calculation of images in the computer.

Modern graphics cards use the PCIe (PCI Express) connector on the motherboard. They are inserted into the slot closest to the processor, usually at the top. On some motherboards, this port is also highlighted.

Make sure that your motherboard has such a connection, with the speed of x16, usually indicated by "PCIe x16".

Some modern graphics cards also require additional power from the power supply of the computer, paying particular attention to the details of your graphics card and power supply, the necessary power connections are usually recorded as follows:

"1x PCI-Express 6 +2- pin" / "1x PCI-Express 6-pin"


Excerpt out of 14 pages


20 Minutes for good Hardware Knowledge in Personal Computer Systems
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
466 KB
Englische Version von 20 Minuten für gutes Hardwareverständnis bei Personal Computersystemen (ISBN 978-3-640-90751-9)
hardware, cpu, computer, how to build a pc, build a pc, personal computer, pc, graphic card, motherboard, memory, hardware knowledge, video card, hard drive, hard disk, power supply, pcie, dvi, hdmi, checklist
Quote paper
Daniel Lautenbacher (Author), 2012, 20 Minutes for good Hardware Knowledge in Personal Computer Systems, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/187681


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