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DOMAIN 1.1 » Identify System Modules

  Review material for this section is focused on explaining basic terms and concepts related to system components. Questions related to this section are used to make sure you understand some of the key parts of a system and how they should function. After review of this section you should be able to explain the basic functionality of the following components:

BIOS, Monitor, System Board, Memory, Storage Devices, Power Supply, CPU/Processor, Input Devices, Output Devices, and a few others...

So lets get started!

  Term: Input Device
  Defined: A peripheral that's used to send data to a computer, usually done through a user's interaction with a connected device.

An example of an input device would be a keyboard, mouse, or scanner.

  Term: Modem
  Defined: A device that can be internal or external that is used for communication with other PCs via a telephone line. A modem (MOdulator-DEModulator) is used to convert data signals from digital to analog in order for data to be carried over analog phone lines. A modem on the receiving end converts the analog signal back to digital.
  Term: Memory Chip
  Defined: Usually referred to as Main Memory or RAM. In RAM form it is volatile/temporary and is used for fast access to data. The CPU can take advantage of the fast RAM speed, allowing the CPU to process more data than if it had to grab data from a Secondary Storage device.
  Term: CPU (Processor)
  Defined: The Central Processing Unit is sometimes referred to as the "brain" of the PC. It is responsible for processing all the jobs sent to it by applications. The CPU is where most calculations and control functions take place.
  Term: Motherboard
  Defined: Also referred to as the Primary Circuit Board, System Board, Planar Board, or MainBoard.

The CPU is located on the Motherboard, also Memory, Serial & Parallel ports, controllers and many other devices are connected directly to the Motherboard. It also contains the connectors for attaching numerous components.

  Defined: Basic Input / Output System. The BIOS is stored in the CMOS chip and contains the functions that a PC can do without the need to access data from disk. The BIOS holds the code to use the keyboard, monitor and other main components. It also contains the commands that allows a PC to Boot itself.

PCs now use a flash BIOS, which is a memory chip that can be updated.

  Term: CMOS
  Defined: The CMOS memory chip in a PC is battery powered and hold the date/time and system setup configuration information. CMOS stands for: Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor.
  Term: Storage Devices
  Defined: Used to store large amounts of data, they retain data even after the power is shut down.

Some examples of storage devices are floppy disks, hard drives, tape drives, and optical drives.

The speed of data access is a lot slower than accessing data from RAM memory.

  Term: Monitor
  Defined: An output display device to view interactions with the PC. Until recently almost all monitors used Cathode Ray Tubes to put images on the screen.

 Section Review Outline
  We will be adding extensive explanations of all topics covered in this section. The following is a detailed listing of what CompTIA questions will cover.
  You should be able to identify the names, purpose, and characteristics of the following system modules. You should be able to recognize these modules by site and description:
  • Motherboard
  • Firmware
  • Power Supply
  • Processor / CPU
  • Memory
  • Storage Devices
  • Display Devices
  • Adapter Cards
  • Ports
  • Cases
  • Riser Cards

    The following is some sample material from the site:

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    area a+ hardware Identify System Modules

    basics of Add Remove Hardware in PC