The Complete Computer System

Instructions

CPU (Central Processing Unit)& Motherboard
  • Motherboard manufacturer (Intel, ASUS, etc.)
    • PC98 compliant? (by Intel) PC99 compliant?
    • Hardware Design Resource Center from Intel
    • Motherboard design
      • ATX chassis - since about 1993
      • BTX chassis = Balanced Technology Extended — puts the hottest components, such as the processor, chip sets and graphics controllers, in the centre of the PC chassis, where they are cooled by a front-to-back airflow driven by a larger, slower-moving fan than in the ATX chassis.  The result for end users will be smaller form factors that run more quietly and reliably, while enabling them to have the latest technology at costs not much higher than those for traditional models.
        BTX benefits
        • Smaller form factors through a redesigned backplane
        • Less noise because of a larger fan that rotates more slowly and the ability to remove some component- specific fans
        • Front-to-back airflow over the hottest components, enabling better thermal management within the chassis
        • Comparable price vs. current desktops
    • BIOS:  Phoenix, Award, AMI
    • Bus Speed:(MHz):  33, 66, 100, 133, 200, 400, 533
    • Bus (Motherboard):  ISA, MCA, EISA, VLB, PCI , 3GIO ?
    • Ports:  Serial, Parallel, USB (Universal Serial Bus Ports), USB 2.0, IEEE-1394 
  • AMD (Athlon), Cyrix, Intel 
  • Intel CPU   -   (Intel Processors (ICOMP Index)
    1. Mark 8 - (July 1974) - Intel 8008
    2. Altair - (1974) - Intel 8080 (the first microcomputer)
    3. IBM-PC:  8088  (August 12, 1981 - Acorn = "IBM Model 5150")
    4. IBM-XT:  8086
    5. IBM-AT:  80286
    6.  80386sx, 80386dx 
    7.  80486sx, 80486dx, 80486dx2, 80486dx4 
    8. Pentium = 80586, Pentium-MMX  - P5 architecture
    9. Pentium Pro:  80686 (= ), Celeron / Mendocino / Dixon - P6 architecture
    10. Pentium-II = Pentium-2 -- Celeron, (Pentium Pro with MMX) Klamath(.35µ) / Deschutes(.25µ), Xeon
    11. Pentium-III = Pentium-3 = Katmai / Coppermine / Cascades / Xeon / Tualatin (0.13µ)
    12. Pentium IV = Pentium 4 - P7/P8 architecture = Tanner / Willamette / Foster / Deerfield / Timna, Merced / Northwood (0.13µ)
      • Northwood - (max. about 3.4GHz)
        • Northwood Celeron - less L2 cache, slower clock speed
        • Xeon - based on P4 (Northwood), extensions for 64-bit (CT = Compatible Technology = can run 32-bit software)
          • P4-EE = Extreme Edition = Xeon without multiprocessor support
      • Prescott - (max. about 6.0GHz)
        • Prescott - Yamhill Technology (X86 architecture) (0.09µ = 90 nm)
        • 1MB of L2 cache, plus some improvements to Intel's HT (Hyper-Threading) technology.  Starting at 3.4GHz
        • Larger instruction set (SSE2, SSE3)
        • The first Prescotts will be socket 478 parts. In theory, Prescott should work in most motherboards based on the Intel 865 and 875 chipsets. However, power requirements appear to be higher than initially thought, so some of the earliest 865 and 875 motherboard designs may have inadequate power regulation to support the new CPUs.
        • Prescott Celeron - less L2 cache, slower clock speed (2004?)
        • Tejas (2005?) - (starting at about 4GHz)
      • In the second half of 2004, we'll see Intel deliver the socket 778 format. This is the socket design targeted to support higher clock rate Prescott CPUs, and will ship in conjunction with the release of the new BTX form factor motherboards that support PCI Express. So for Intel, a major split will exist in socket formats, with socket 478 as the mainstay for the first half of the year, and socket 778 arriving in the second half. Still, socket 478 will coexist with the new format for some time.
    1. Pentium V
      • Nehalem (late 2005?) - a new core - Pentium 5?
    2. 64 bit chip  (IA64 is not compatible with existing 32-bit software) - Currently only used on Servers
        • Itanium (IA64 = EPIC architecture (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing), 0.18µ)); 

        • Itanium-2 (McKinley, Deerfield?) (2002)
          Itanium-2 (Madison) (2003)
          Itanium-3 (Montecito) (0.09µ) (2004)
          Itanium-4 (Chivano) (2005)
    3. Intel Roadmap Overview - Sept 22nd, 2009
  • Support for more than one CPU (not needed yet by most users)   (Xeon)
  • CPU Speed (MHz):  4.77, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 33, 50, 60, 66, 75, 90, 100, 120, 133, 150, 166, 200, 233, 266, 300, 333, 350, 400, 450, 500, 600, 650, 700, 733, 800, 850, 1000 (= 1 GHz), ..., 3400 (= 3.4 GHz), ...
  • Internal cache (KB):  128, 256, 512, 1024                                 (L2 = secondary cache, Pipeline Burst)
Memory (RAM)
  • DRAM (dynamic random access memory), FPM-RAM (fast page mode), EDO-RAM (enhanced data out), SDRAM (synchronous) (PC66, PC100, PC133), FSRAM (fast static), RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) (PC600, PC700, PC800, PC1066), RIMM (Rambus in-line memory modules) (1060MHz), DDR-DRAM (double-data rate) 333MHz
  • MB (MegaBytes):  0.640MB (= 640KB), 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, ...
    • Remember that a 32-bit operating system (like Windows XP Pro) can address 32 bits of physical address space only a maximum of 232 bytes (= 4GB).
    • However, a 32-bit OS usually refuses to recognize more than 2 GB.  You will never get more than about 3.12 GB.
    • 32-Bit Windows and 4GB of RAM ~ Chris Pirillo
    • Windows XP/Vista 32-bit and 4GB ram problem
    • RAM Allocation - by HP
      • 232 = 4,294,967,296 = 4 GB
        • PCI memory address space is used to transfer data by the BIOS, I/O cards, networking, PCI hubs, bus bridges, PCI Express, and graphics cards.
        • PCI will take up at least 512 MB, leaving between 3 and 3.4 GB
      • To go beyond the 4-GB limit, a processor must have greater than 32-bit addressing. There are two ways of accomplishing this: PAE and 64-bit processing.
        • Physical Address Extension (PAE) is a mode allowing a 32-bit x86 processor to use an additional 4 bits for addressing, creating a 36-bit address:
          236 = 68,719,476,736 = 64 GB
        • A 64-bit capable x86 processor, such an Intel Pentium 4 with EM64T, uses 64-bit addressing. This processor can run 64-bit OSes.
          264 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 = 16 EB (exabyte 1018)
      • Note: Do not confuse total physical memory and memory addressing with the amount of virtual memory available to the OS. No matter how much physical memory is in the system, a 32-bit OS will have 4 GB of virtual memory through paging.
  • Extra slots to add more RAM (up to 4GB) later.  This is important.
Fixed (Hard) Disk Drive
  • ESDI, IDE, E-IDE (ATA/IDE, ATA-66, ATA-100, ATA-133, Serial-ATA-1, SATA = Serial-ATA-2), SCSI
    • SAS = Serial Attached SCSI
  • RPM:  3600, 4500, 5400, 7200, 10000, 15000
  • GB (GigaBytes):  0, 0.020, 0.040, 0.080, 0.100, 0.150, 0.200, 0.300, 0.500, 0.850, 1.0, 1.6, 2.1, 4.3, 6.4, 9.1, 18.2, 20, 40, 60, 100, 120, 150, 160, 200, 250, 300, 500, 750, 1000, ...
    1 GB = 1000 MB    (0.020GB = 20MB)  (0.500GB = 500MB)
Removable Storage  (for backup)
  • Diskette (Floppy) Drive:  5.25"(360KB), 5.25"(1.2MB), 3.5"(720KB), 3.5"(1.44MB) - (outdated - not recommended)
  • Iomega:   Bernoulli Box  (40MB, 80MB, 150MB),  Zip (100MB/250MB),  Jaz (1000MB/2000MB), Tape - (outdated - not recommended)
  • Keychain USB Flash Memory Key Data Drive Storage (USB 1, USB 2):  16MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, ...
  • CD  or   CD-R (recordable)  or  CD-RW (re-writeable) - (outdated - not recommended)
    • All DVD drives can read and write to all CDs
  • DVD = DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD+RW
    • Sony's (Oct 2002) DRU-500A, the first DVD-recordable drive to support all four formats (DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD-R, and DVD+RW)
    • DVD - 4.7 GB or 8.5 GB in dual-layer mode - 45 GB in triple-layer mode - red laser
    • HD-DVD - blue laser - 30 GB on two layers
      • NEC, Toshiba, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal
    • DVD Blu-ray - blue laser - 50 GB on two layers - 100 GB on four layers
      • Sony, Matsushita, Disney, Samsung, Pioneer, Hitachi, Dell, Apple, HP
Monitor
  • Note that the price of most systems is quoted without a monitor.
  • None, CGA (16@320*200), MDA (1@720*200), Hercules (1@720*400), EGA (16@640*350), VGA 16/256@640*480), IBM-8514 (256@800*600), SVGA (256@800*600), IBM-XGA (256@1024*768), 256/millions@1600*1200
  • Resolution: 0.32, 0.28, 0.26, 0.25                                        (Refresh rate?)
  • 14", 15", 17", 19", 21",                                                     (colour)
  • Interlaced,  NonInterlaced (NI)(This is essential!!)
  • Regular CRT (VDT),  MultiSynch(NEC)/Multiscan(Sony)  -  (Traditional curved screen, Flat screen)
  • Flat-panel LCD, EL, Plasma
Video Card                                   (Info about video cards)                                   (Graphics accelerator, MPEG) (2D? 3D?) 
  • Memory:  DRAM, FPM, EDO-RAM, WRAM, VRAM, MDRAM, SGRAM
  • Memory:  1MB, 2MB, 4MB, 8MB, 16MB,  32MB, 64MB, 128MB,   (If games are your life, get as much video memory as you can afford.)
Sound Card   (SB=Sound-Blaster compatible) & speakers
  • 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit AWE Wave Table & 3D, 64-bit AWE Wave Table & 3D
Modem
  • Fax, Data, Voice, DSVD
  • bps =bits per second=baud  (1Mbps=1,000Kbps=1,000,000bps) (Bandwidth) (1.5Mbps = 1,500,000 bps)
    • Telephone modem (POTS):  300, 1200, 2400, 14400, 28800, 33600, 56000 V90  bps
    • ISDN (64000-128000 bps) (up to 512000 bps)
    • DSL (ADSL 8/1.5) (G.lite 1.5/0.384) (RADSL 7/1.5) (HDSL 1.5/1.5) (HDSL2  1.5/1.5) (SDSL 1.5/1.5) (IDSL 0.144/0.144) (VDSL 52/2.3) (Mbps downstream/upstream)
    • Cable (1.5-3.8 Mbps)
    • Power line
    • T1 (1.5Mbps = 1500000-3000000 bps), T3 (45000000 bps)
    • Wireless & Satellite
    • E-10 (3000000-10000000 bps)
    • LAN Ethernet (10000000-100000000 bps)
    • OC-3 (155Mpbs = 155000000 bps),  OC-12c (622000000 bps), OC-48c (2.5Gbps = 2450000000 bps), OC-192 (10Gbps)
    • Fibre optics:  FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) or FSAN (Full Service Access Network)  (10000000000-100000000000 bps) available by 2010??
    • Internet2
  • Network card (10/100/1000)  This is necessary for DSL and Cable modems.  With Windows it is really easy to network all your computers.
    • Router - Plug your DSL or Cable modem into the router.  Use RJ-45 (Ethernet cables) to connect all your computers to the router and suddenly you have a network and every one of your computers is on the Internet (at the same time).
 Printer
  • Dot Matrix, Daisy Wheel, InkJet/BubbleJet, Laser 
  • Black, Colour
  • Interface cable (parallel port), Paper, Ink cartridges (always keep an extra cartridge on hand)
  • Paper
Technical Support
  • Warranty (Parts & Labour) (None, 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, 5-year)
  • Mail-in, Depot (Carry-in), On-site
  • None, Toll-free (800 number), Local number Business hours, 24hrs/7days
  •  
ISP                                       (Internet Service Provider) (This is not a recommendation) 
  • AEI, Bell Canada Sympatico, Total.Net, Videotron,
  • CompuServe, America-On-Line (AOL), Microsoft Network (MSN),
  •  
Computer Brands/Retailers (This is not a recommendation) 
  • Warranty and technical support are more important than the brand name.
  • IBM, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Plasma, IPC, Acer, Tyfu, Micro-Bytes,  ...
  • Personally, I have always been happiest with Dell machines.
  • Software
    • Operating System:  DOS, Unix (Linux), OS/2, Windows95/98/98SE/Me, WindowsNT4, Windows2000 (W2K = WindowsNT5), WindowsXP  (formerly Whistler) (Home or Pro), Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2006? (Longhorn), (Blackcomb)?
      • File system:  Fat16, Fat32, HPFS, NTFS
        • System (boot) partition or system (boot) drive (>2GB): NTFS
        • Applications partition or applications drive (>6GB): FAT32 or NTFS  (NTFS is more secure, but many applications will not install correctly on anything but a FAT partition.)
        • Data partition or data drive (>10GB):  NTFS
      • Paging files formula is (physicalRAM * 2 + 128).:  For each partition on your drive, you should set up a separate paging file.  Using this formula, a machine with 256 MB of RAM would need a paging file of 640 MB per partition.  (Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance Options)
    • Utilities & Languages:  MS-Visual Studio (C#, Visual Basic, etc.), Java (JDK), Norton Utilities, Shareware, Freeware, Virus Protection, Firewall, etc., ...
    • Applications:  MS-Office (MS-Word, MS-Excel, MS-PowerPoint, MS-Access, etc.), Games, Shareware, etc., etc., etc.,
    Other