IC3/Computer Hardware

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Computer hardware refers to the physical parts or components of a computer. Hardware includes components such as the monitor, keyboard, hard drive disk, mouse, printers, graphic cards, sound cards, memory, motherboard and chips, etc.[1]

This lesson introduces computer hardware and helps learners prepare for the IC3 Computing Fundamentals certification exam.

Nuvola apps package utilities.png Objectives and Skills[edit]

Objectives and skills for the computer hardware portion of IC3 certification include:

Objectives[2]

  • Identify types of computers, how they process information, and the purpose and function of different hardware components
  • Identify how to maintain computer equipment and solve common problems relating to computer hardware

Skills[3]

  • Common computer terminology: hardware and peripherals, storage, types of devices, server, desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone, other mobile devices
  • Computer performance: pros and cons of particular devices, processing vs. memory vs. storage
  • Troubleshooting: cables and connections, devices and peripherals, firmware updates

Nuvola apps bookcase.svg Readings[edit]

  1. Read Wikipedia: Classes of computers.
  2. Read Wikipedia: Data processing.
  3. Read Wikipedia: Binary code.
  4. Read Wikipedia: Byte.
  5. Read Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware.
  6. Read Wikipedia: Computer maintenance.
  7. Read Wikipedia: Troubleshooting.
  8. Read Wikipedia: Upgrade.

Nuvola apps multimedia.png Multimedia[edit]

  1. Watch YouTube: Binary Tutorial.
  2. Watch YouTube: Lesson 6.6 : How numbers are encoded as characters in ASCII.
  3. Watch YouTube: Computer Basics - Parts of a Computer.
  4. Watch YouTube: Computer Hardware Repair.
  5. Watch YouTube: How to update and flash your Motherboard BIOS 101: Motherboard Update.

Nuvola apps korganizer.svg Activities[edit]

  1. Complete the tutorial Getting Started on the Computer. Identify the external parts of your computer (case, monitor, mouse, keyboard, ports).
  2. Complete the tutorial Getting to Know Computers. Identify the types of computers you use regularly (desktops, laptops, servers, tablets, mobile phones, game consoles, other).
  3. Complete the tutorial Basic Parts of a Desktop Computer. If you have a desktop computer, identify the external parts of your computer (case, monitor, power cord, keyboard, mouse or other pointing device). Where possible, note the manufacturer's product name and model number.
  4. Complete the tutorial Buttons, Sockets and Slots on a Desktop Computer. Identify the buttons, sockets, and slots available on your computer. List each type of button, socket, or port you have, and where on the case they are located. Also list any connected peripheral devices, including product name and model number.
  5. Complete the tutorial Inside a Desktop Computer. If you have a computer available you are willing to open, look inside and identify your CPU, RAM, hard drive, and any expansion cards. Where possible, note the manufacturer's product name and model number. Do not remove any parts unless you are comfortable with reconnecting them.
  6. Complete the tutorial Laptop Computers and Notebooks. If you have a laptop or similar computer, identify the external parts of your computer (case, display, power adapter, keyboard, touchpad, ports).
  7. Complete the tutorial Getting to Know Mobile Devices. If you have a mobile device, identify the type, manufacturer's product name and model number.
  8. Complete the tutorial Setting Up a Computer. Identify each cable connected to your computer, the type of port used, and the peripheral it connects to.
  9. Review Understanding Troubleshooting. Research any warnings or errors you are currently experiencing with your computer and then use the DETECT method to troubleshoot these issues.
  10. Check your computer or motherboard manufacturer's web site to see if there are any BIOS or firmware updates available for your system. If there are, research the problems the updates resolve and determine whether or not you want to upgrade your system. If so, be sure to back up your system first, and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. In particular, do not remove power during a firmware upgrade process.
  11. Use the Discuss page to post comments and questions regarding this lesson.
  12. Review the lesson summary, key terms, review questions and flashcards below.

Stock post message.svg Lesson Summary[edit]

  • Types of computers include personal computers or workstations, midrange computers or servers, mainframe computers and supercomputers.[4]
  • Data processing is the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information.[5]
  • Data processing includes validation, sorting, summarization, aggregation, analysis, and reporting.[6]
  • Binary codes are used to encode data, such as character strings, into bit strings, and may be displayed in octal, decimal or hexadecimal notation.[7]
  • The byte is a unit of digital information that consists of eight bits, historically used to encode a single character of text in a computer.[8]
  • Unit multiples of bytes include kilobytes (1000 or 1024), megabytes (10002 or 10242), gigabytes (10003 or 10243) and terabytes (10004 or 10244).[9]
  • Hardware component functions include input, processing, output, and storage.[10]
  • Input components include the keyboard, mouse, touchpad, touchscreen, joystick, scanner, microphone, and camera.[11]
  • Processing components include the CPU, motherboard, chipset, RAM, ROM, busses, and expansion cards.[12]
  • Output components include the display, printers, and speakers.[13]
  • Storage components include fixed media such as hard drives and solid state drives and removable media such as USB flash drives, optical disk drives, and tape drives.[14]
  • Computers require regular monthly or quarterly maintenance. This includes computer cleaning, dust removal, and disk maintenance.[15]
  • Troubleshooting is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again. Troubleshooting requires identification of the malfunction(s) or symptoms within a system. Then, experience is commonly used to generate possible causes of the symptoms. Determining the most likely cause is a process of elimination - eliminating potential causes of a problem. Finally, troubleshooting requires confirmation that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.[16]
  • A basic principle in troubleshooting is to start from the simplest and most probable possible problems first.[17]
  • Serial substitution involves checking each component in a system one by one, substituting known good components for each potentially suspect one.[18]
  • Bisection involves separating a larger system into two or more subsystems to isolate and identify problems and causes.[19]
  • One of the core principles of troubleshooting is that reproducible problems can be reliably isolated and resolved.[20]
  • Intermittent problems are often the result of components that are thermally sensitive, because the resistance of a circuit varies with the temperature of the conductors in it.[21]
  • Troubleshooters must always consider the possibility that there is more than one fault causing a given system failure.[22]
  • One approach to troubleshooting is known as the DETECT method - Discover the problem, Evaluate the system, Track potential solutions, Execute a plan, Check results, and Take a proactive approach to prevent the problem from reoccurring.[23]
  • An upgrade is generally a replacement of hardware, software or firmware with a newer or better version, in order to bring the system up to date or to improve its characteristics.[24]
  • It may be necessary to modify BOIS settings or update or flash the BIOS or other firmware in order to troubleshoot operating system and driver installation issues.[25]
  • Upgrades of software introduce the risk that the new version (or patch) will contain a bug, causing the program to malfunction in some way or not to function at all.[26]

Nuvola apps kdict.png Key Terms[edit]

ASCII
A character-encoding scheme originally based on the English alphabet that encodes 128 specified characters - the numbers 0-9, the letters a-z and A-Z, some basic punctuation symbols, some control codes that originated with Teletype machines, and a blank space - into binary integers, and used to represent text in computers and communications equipment.[27]
Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
A de facto standard defining a firmware interface for personal computers, and the first software run by a PC when powered on.[28]
binary
The base-2 numeral system, which represents numeric values using the symbols 0 and 1.[29]
central processing unit (CPU)
The hardware within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system.[30]
computer hardware
The physical parts or components of a computer, including the monitor, keyboard, hard drive disk, mouse, printers, graphic cards, sound cards, memory, motherboard and chips, etc.[31]
decimal
The base-10 numeral system, which represents numeric values using the symbols 0 - 9.[32]
desktop computer
A personal computer in a form intended for regular use at a single location.[33]
firmware
The combination of persistent memory and program code and data stored in it.[34]
hard disk drive
A secondary data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material.[35]
hexadecimal
The base-16 numeral system, which represents numeric values using the symbols 0 - 9 and A - F.[36]
laptop
A portable personal computer with a clamshell form factor, suitable for mobile use.[37]
mainframe computer
A high-end commercial computer used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations for critical applications and bulk data processing, with a focus on very high volume input, output (I/O) and throughput.[38]
memory
Computer data storage that is directly accessible to the CPU, typically implemented as Random Access Memory (RAM) and is volatile, with access time measured in nanoseconds. Also known as primary storage, main memory or internal memory.[39]
mobile device
A small, handheld computing device, typically having a display screen with touch input and/or a miniature keyboard.[40]
motherboard
The main printed circuit board found in computers and other expandable systems, which holds many of the crucial electronic components of the system such as the CPU and memory.[41]
octal
The base-8 numeral system, which represents numeric values using the symbols 0 - 7.[42]
optical disc drive
A disk drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves within or near the visible light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray.[43]
peripheral
A device that is connected to a host computer, but not part of it.[44]
power supply
A device that converts alternating current (AC) electric power to low-voltage DC power for the internal components of the computer.[45]
random-access memory (RAM)
A form of volatile computer data storage that allows stored data to be accessed directly in any random order.[46]
read-only memory (ROM)
A class of non-volatile storage medium used in computers and other electronic devices which cannot be modified, or can be modified only slowly or with difficulty, so that it is mainly used to distribute firmware.[47]
server
A system (software and suitable computer hardware) that responds to requests across a computer network to provide, or help to provide, a network service.[48]
smartphone
A mobile phone built on a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a feature phone.[49]
solid-state drive (SSD)
A secondary data storage device using integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently, while using electronic interfaces compatible with traditional block input/output (I/O) hard disk drives.[50]
storage
Computer data storage that is not directly accessible by the CPU, typically implemented using some type of hard disk drive and is non-volatile, with access time measured in milliseconds. Also known as secondary storage, external memory, or auxiliary storage.[51]
supercomputer
A high-end science/research computer with a focus on very high processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation.[52]
tablet
A one-piece mobile computer, typically with a touchscreen and using finger or stylus gestures to replace the conventional computer mouse.[53]

Nuvola apps package editors.png Review Questions[edit]

Enable JavaScript to hide answers.

Click on a question to see the answer.

1. Types of computers include _____, _____, _____ and _____.
Types of computers include personal computers or workstations, midrange computers or servers, mainframe computers and supercomputers.
2. Data processing is _____.
Data processing is the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information.
3. Data processing includes _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, and _____.
Data processing includes validation, sorting, summarization, aggregation, analysis, and reporting.
4. Binary codes are used to encode data, such as _____, into _____, and may be displayed in _____, _____ or _____ notation.
Binary codes are used to encode data, such as character strings, into bit strings, and may be displayed in octal, decimal or hexadecimal notation.
5. The byte is a unit of digital information that consists of _____, historically used to encode _____ in a computer.
The byte is a unit of digital information that consists of eight bits, historically used to encode a single character of text in a computer.
6. Unit multiples of bytes include _____ (1000 or 1024), _____ (10002 or 10242), _____ (10003 or 10243) and _____ (10004 or 10244).
Unit multiples of bytes include kilobytes (1000 or 1024), megabytes (10002 or 10242), gigabytes (10003 or 10243) and terabytes (10004 or 10244)
7. Hardware component functions include _____, _____, _____, and _____.
Hardware component functions include input, processing, output, and storage.
8. Input components include _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, and _____.
Input components include the keyboard, mouse, touchpad, touchscreen, joystick, scanner, microphone, and camera.
9. Processing components include _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, and _____.
Processing components include the CPU, motherboard, chipset, RAM, ROM, busses, and expansion cards.
10. Output components include _____, _____, and _____.
Output components include the display, printers, and speakers.
11. Storage components include fixed media such as _____ and _____ and removable media such as _____, _____, and _____.
Storage components include fixed media such as hard drives and solid state drives and removable media such as USB flash drives, optical disk drives, and tape drives.
12. Computers require regular monthly or quarterly maintenance. This includes _____, _____, and _____.
Computers require regular monthly or quarterly maintenance. This includes computer cleaning, dust removal, and disk maintenance.
13. Troubleshooting is a _____ search for the _____ of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again. Troubleshooting requires _____ of the malfunction(s) or symptoms within a system. Then, _____ is commonly used to generate _____ of the symptoms. Determining the most likely cause is _____. Finally, troubleshooting requires _____ that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.
Troubleshooting is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again. Troubleshooting requires identification of the malfunction(s) or symptoms within a system. Then, experience is commonly used to generate possible causes of the symptoms. Determining the most likely cause is a process of elimination - eliminating potential causes of a problem. Finally, troubleshooting requires confirmation that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.
14. A basic principle in troubleshooting is to start _____.
A basic principle in troubleshooting is to start from the simplest and most probable possible problems first.
15. Serial substitution involves _____.
Serial substitution involves checking each component in a system one by one, substituting known good components for each potentially suspect one.
16. Bisection involves _____.
Bisection involves separating a larger system into two or more subsystems to isolate and identify problems and causes.
17. One of the core principles of troubleshooting is that _____ problems can be reliably isolated and resolved.
One of the core principles of troubleshooting is that reproducible problems can be reliably isolated and resolved.
18. Intermittent problems are often the result of _____, because _____.
Intermittent problems are often the result of components that are thermally sensitive, because the resistance of a circuit varies with the temperature of the conductors in it.
19. Troubleshooters must always consider the possibility that _____ is causing a given system failure.
Troubleshooters must always consider the possibility that more than one fault is causing a given system failure.
20. One approach to troubleshooting is known as the DETECT method - _____ the problem, _____ the system, _____ potential solutions, _____ a plan, _____ results, and _____ a proactive approach to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
One approach to troubleshooting is known as the DETECT method - Discover the problem, Evaluate the system, Track potential solutions, Execute a plan, Check results, and Take a proactive approach to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
21. An upgrade is generally a replacement of _____, _____ or _____ with a newer or better version, in order to bring the system up to date or to improve its characteristics.
An upgrade is generally a replacement of hardware, software or firmware with a newer or better version, in order to bring the system up to date or to improve its characteristics.
22. It may be necessary to modify _____ settings or update or flash _____ in order to troubleshoot operating system and driver installation issues.
It may be necessary to modify BOIS settings or update or flash the BIOS or other firmware in order to troubleshoot operating system and driver installation issues.
23. Upgrades of software introduce the risk that the new version (or patch) will _____.
Upgrades of software introduce the risk that the new version (or patch) will contain a bug, causing the program to malfunction in some way or not to function at all.

Nuvola apps cache.png Flashcards[edit]

Nuvola-ddipisa Icona occchiali.png See Also[edit]

Nuvola filesystems folder orange.png References[edit]

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Nuvola apps edu miscellaneous.svg Resource type: this resource is a lesson.
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  1. Wikipedia: Computer hardware
  2. IC3 GS4 Computing Fundamentals
  3. IC3 GS4 Computing Fundamentals Skills Measured
  4. Wikipedia: Classes of computers
  5. Wikipedia: Data processing
  6. Wikipedia: Data processing
  7. Wikipedia: Binary code
  8. Wikipedia: Byte
  9. Wikipedia: Byte
  10. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  11. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  12. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  13. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  14. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  15. Wikipedia: Computer maintenance
  16. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  17. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  18. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  19. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  20. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  21. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  22. Wikipedia: Troubleshooting
  23. TechNet: Understanding Troubleshooting
  24. Wikipedia: Upgrade
  25. Wikipedia: Upgrade
  26. Wikipedia: Upgrade
  27. Wikipedia: ASCII
  28. Wikipedia: BIOS
  29. Wikipedia: Binary number
  30. Wikipedia: Central processing unit
  31. Wikipedia: Computer hardware
  32. Wikipedia: Binary number
  33. Wikipedia: Desktop computer
  34. Wikipedia: Firmware
  35. Wikipedia: Hard disk drive
  36. Wikipedia: Binary number
  37. Wikipedia: Laptop
  38. Wikipedia: Mainframe computer
  39. Wikipedia: Computer data storage
  40. Wikipedia: Mobile device
  41. Wikipedia: Motherboard
  42. Wikipedia: Binary number
  43. Wikipedia: Optical disc drive
  44. Wikipedia: Peripheral
  45. Wikipedia: Personal computer hardware
  46. Wikipedia: Random-access memory
  47. Wikipedia: Read-only memory
  48. Wikipedia: Server (computing)
  49. Wikipedia: Smartphone
  50. Wikipedia: Solid-state drive
  51. Wikipedia: Computer data storage
  52. Wikipedia: Supercomputer
  53. Wikipedia: Tablet