PC Hardware

Tutorial 6

What is the main function of the motherboard?

The motherboard is the primary card in the computer. It defines the limits for CPU type, speed, memory, and expandability.

  1. Name the typical chips found in a chip set.

    A motherboard comes with several chips soldered in place. They constitute the chip set and are designed to work with the CPU. These chips are highly complex and coordinated ICs that help the CPU manage and control the computer's system. Included in the chip set are the clock generator, bus controller, system timer, interrupt controller, DMA controller, CMOS, and keyboard controller.

  2. What is EMI?

    EMI stands for electromagnetic interference. EMI is the same thing as radio frequency interference (RFI), but EMI is a newer term. EMI is considered to be any radio frequency that is emitted from an electrical or electronic device that is harmful to the surrounding equipment or that interferes with the operation of another electrical or electronic device.

  3. What are ROM chips used for?

    ROM chips are used extensively to program the operation of computers, but ROM plays a limited role in the PC; it holds the BIOS information used to describe the system configuration and the instructions for performing the POST routine.

  4. Name the three types of ROM chip.

    The first type of ROM chip is called the core chip and includes hardware that is common, necessary, and unchanging. The second type of ROM chip is hardware that is common, necessary, and changeable; these chips are called updatable chips. The third type of chip includes any chip other than the first two types of chips.

  5. Describe what makes the CMOS special.

    The CMOS chips are updatable, and that makes them special. They do not store programs like other ROM chips do; they store only data that is used by BIOS for the programs needed to communicate with changeable hardware. The CMOS chip also maintains date-and-time information when the computer is powered off.

  6. How can a technician use the POST beep codes?

    The purpose of the first POST (power-on self test) is to check the most basic components. Because the video integrity has not been confirmed, any errors that occur in this phase are indicated by a series of beeps. A technician can use the beep codes to interpret any problems that occur before the video is confirmed.

  7. What is a device driver?

    A device driver is a program that acts as an interface between the operating system and the control circuits that operate the device.

  8. What information is contained in the CMOS?

    Typically, the CMOS contains at least the following information: floppy and hard disk drive types, CPU and memory size, date and time, and serial- and parallel-port information.

  9. Define the POST and describe its function.

    Every time a computer is turned on or reset, the entire system is reset. From this on or reset state, it begins to carry out software instructions from its BIOS program. The first set of instructions it initiates is a special program (stored on a ROM chip) called the power-on self test (POST). The POST sends out standardized commands that check every device (in more technical terms, it runs an internal self-diagnostic routine).