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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, Second Edition

Book Description

Carefully researched and written, PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition is packed with useful and unbiased information, including how-to advice for specific components, ample reference material, and a comprehensive case study on building a PC. To the point yet complete, this book provides an enormous amount of timeless information intended for anyone who buys, builds, upgrades, or repairs PCs in a corporate, small business, or home setting. In addition to coverage of the fundamentals and general tips about working on PCs, this book includes chapters focusing on motherboards, processors, memory, floppies, hard drives, optical drives, tape devices, video devices, input devices, audio components, communications, power supplies, and maintenance. Special emphasis is given to upgrading and troubleshooting existing equipment so you can get the most from your existing investments. This new edition is expanded to include:

  • Detailed information about the latest motherboards and chipsets from AMD, Intel, SiS, and VIA

  • Extensive coverage of the Pentium 4 and the latest AMD processors, including the Athlon XP/MP

  • Full details about new hard drive standards, including the latest SCSI standards, ATA/133, Serial ATA, and the new 48-bit "Big Drive" ATA interface

  • Extended coverage of DVD drives, including DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, and DVD+R/RW

  • Details about Flat Panel Displays, including how to choose one (and why you might not want to)

  • New chapters on serial communications, parallel communications, and USB communications (including USB 2.0)

  • Enhanced troubleshooting coverage

  • PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition provides independent, useful and practical information in a no-nonsense manner with specific recommendations on components. Based on real-world testing over time, it will help you make intelligent, informed decisions about buying, building, upgrading, and repairing PCs in a cost effective manner that will help you maximize new or existing computer hardware systems.

    Table of Contents

    1. PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
      1. Foreword
      2. Preface
        1. Audience
        2. Organization
        3. Conventions
        4. We’d Like to Hear from You
        5. Acknowledgments
      3. 1. Fundamentals
        1. PCs Defined
          1. PC 99 System Design Guide
          2. PC 2001 System Design Guide
        2. PC Components and Technologies
          1. Hardware Components
          2. Software Components
          3. Firmware Components and the PC BIOS
          4. Technologies
          5. The Strange Case of the AMR/CNR/ACR Slot
        3. System Resources
          1. Interrupt Request Line (IRQ)
            1. ISA Interrupts Versus PCI Interrupts
            2. PCI Bus IRQ Steering
          2. Direct Memory Access (DMA)
          3. I/O Ports
          4. Memory Ranges
          5. Viewing and Reserving System Resources
            1. Viewing Resources with Windows 2000 or Windows XP
            2. Viewing Resources with Windows 9X
            3. Reserving Resources with Windows 9X
            4. Viewing Resources with Windows NT 4
        4. Building or Buying a PC
        5. Upgrading a PC
        6. Smart Buying Practices
        7. Things to Do with Old PCs
      4. 2. Working on PCs
        1. Rules to Upgrade By
        2. Tools
          1. Hand Tools
          2. Software Tools
            1. Essential Utilities
            2. Supplemental Utilities
        3. General Procedures
          1. Before You Open the Case
          2. Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Precautions
          3. Removing and Replacing the Cover
          4. Managing Internal Cables and Connectors
            1. Ribbon Cable Fundamentals
            2. Locating Pin 1
            3. Power Supply Cables
          5. Setting Jumpers and DIP switches
          6. Installing and Removing Expansion Cards
            1. Installing Expansion Cards
            2. Removing Expansion Cards
          7. Installing Drives
      5. 3. Motherboards
        1. Motherboard Characteristics
          1. Form Factor
          2. Chipsets
            1. CPU Family Support
            2. CPU Speed Support
            3. Multiple CPU Support
            4. Memory and Cache Support
            5. Chipset Buffers
            6. Memory Timing
            7. I/O Bus Support
            8. Embedded Feature Support
            9. Identifying Chipsets
            10. Fifth-Generation Chipsets
            11. Sixth-Generation Intel and Intel-Compatible Chipset Characteristics
            12. AMD Athlon Chipset Characteristics
            13. Seventh-Generation Intel and Intel-Compatible Chipset Characteristics
          3. BIOS
          4. Processor Support
          5. Bus Support
        2. Choosing a Motherboard
        3. Installing a Motherboard
          1. Removing the Old Motherboard
          2. Installing the New Motherboard
          3. Configuring CMOS
        4. Upgrading the System BIOS
        5. Our Picks
      6. 4. Processors
        1. Processor Design
          1. Processor Components
          2. Processor Speed
          3. Processor Architecture
        2. Intel Processors
          1. Pentium, Pentium/MMX
          2. Pentium Pro
            1. Pentium Pro Processor Architecture
          3. Pentium II Family
            1. Pentium II
            2. Celeron
            3. Pentium III
          4. Pentium 4
            1. Pentium 4 Processor Features
            2. Pentium 4 Processor Variants
          5. Celeron 4
        3. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Processors
          1. The AMD Athlon Family
            1. Other AMD Processors
        4. Choosing a Processor
        5. Installing a Processor
          1. Installing a Socketed Processor
            1. Installing Socket 5 and Socket 7 Processors
            2. Installing Modern Socketed Processors
          2. Installing a Slotted Processor
          3. Completing the Installation
        6. Our Picks
      7. 5. Memory
        1. Understanding Memory
        2. Memory Access Methods
        3. Memory Packaging
          1. Banks Versus Rows
          2. Chip Density
          3. Parity and ECC Memory
        4. How Much Memory Is Enough?
        5. Memory Selection Guidelines
          1. DIMM/RIMM Guidelines
          2. SIMM Guidelines
          3. Upgrading Memory in 386 Systems
          4. Upgrading Memory in 486 Systems
          5. Upgrading Memory in Pentium Pro and Pentium-Class Systems
          6. Upgrading Memory in Pentium II/III/4 and Celeron Systems
        6. Installing Memory
          1. Installing and Removing a SIMM
          2. Installing and Removing a DIMM or RIMM
          3. Testing and Configuring Newly Installed Memory
        7. Troubleshooting Memory Installation and Operation
          1. ... When You Have Not Added Memory
          2. ... When Adding Memory
        8. Our Picks
      8. 6. Floppy Disk Drives
        1. Diskette Types and Formats
        2. Drive Types
        3. FDD Interface and Cabling
        4. Installing a Floppy Disk Drive
        5. Working with FDDs
        6. Working with Obsolete Diskette Formats
        7. Salvaging Diskette Data
        8. Our Picks
      9. 7. High-Capacity Floppy Disk Drives
        1. High-Capacity FDD Types
          1. Iomega Zip Drive
            1. The Zip100 Drive
            2. The Zip250 Drive
            3. The PocketZip Drive
          2. SuperDisk Drive
        2. Choosing a High-Capacity Floppy Disk Drive
          1. Choosing a Zip Drive
          2. Choosing a SuperDisk Drive
        3. Using an ATAPI Zip or SuperDisk Drive as the Boot Device
        4. Drive Letter Assignment Problems
        5. Our Picks
      10. 8. Removable Hard Disk Drives
        1. Uses for Removable Hard Disk Drives
        2. Cartridge-Based Removable Hard Disk Drives
          1. Iomega Jaz Drive
          2. Iomega Peerless
          3. Castlewood ORB Drive
          4. Comparing Iomega and Castlewood Drives
          5. Dealing with Orphaned Drives
        3. Frame/Carrier-Based Removable Hard Disk Drives
        4. Our Picks
      11. 9. Tape Drives
        1. Choosing a Tape Drive
        2. Installing and Configuring a Tape Drive
          1. Installing and Configuring an ATAPI Tape Drive
          2. Installing and Configuring a SCSI Tape Drive
          3. Configuring Windows 9X/2000/XP to Support a Tape Drive
          4. Configuring Windows NT to Support a Tape Drive
        3. Care and Feeding of a Tape Drive
        4. Troubleshooting Tape Drive Problems
        5. The Dirty Little Secret of Long Filenames
        6. Developing a Backup Strategy
          1. File Attributes and the Archive Bit
          2. Understanding Backup Types
          3. Choosing a Tape Rotation Method
        7. Our Picks
      12. 10. CD-ROM Drives
        1. Compact Disc Fundamentals
        2. CD-ROM Drive Performance
          1. Data Transfer Rates
          2. CLV Versus CAV Versus P-CAV
          3. TrueX Drives
          4. Average Access
        3. Choosing a CD-ROM Drive
        4. Installing and Configuring a CD-ROM Drive
          1. Installing and Configuring an ATAPI CD-ROM Drive
          2. Enabling Bus Mastering (DMA) Support
          3. Installing and Configuring a SCSI CD-ROM Drive
          4. General SCSI CD-ROM Troubleshooting
          5. Windows 9X/2000/XP SCSI Driver Installation and Troubleshooting
          6. Windows NT 4 SCSI Driver Installation and Troubleshooting
          7. Changing CD-ROM Drive Letter Assignments
        5. Cleaning a CD-ROM Drive
        6. Our Picks
      13. 11. CD-R and CD-RW Drives
        1. CD Writers and Media
          1. CD-Recordable (CD-R) Drives and Media
          2. CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) Drives and Media
          3. CD-RW Technical Details
        2. Writable CD Formats
          1. Physical Formats
          2. Logical Formats
            1. ISO 9660
            2. ISO 9660 Variants
            3. Universal Disc Format (UDF)
        3. CD Recording Methods
        4. BURN-Proof Technology
        5. Choosing a CD Writer
        6. CD Writer Software
        7. Installing and Configuring a CD Writer
        8. Updating CD Writer Firmware
          1. Determining the Firmware Revision of Your CD Writer
            1. Determining the Firmware Revision of Your CD Writer with Windows 9X
            2. Determining the Firmware Revision of Your CD Writer with Windows NT 4
            3. Determining the Firmware Revision of Your CD Writer with Windows 2000
            4. Determining the Firmware Revision of Your CD Writer with Windows XP
          2. Installing a Firmware Update
          3. Updating Drives with Foreign Firmware
        9. Media Issues
          1. Writable CD Capacities
          2. CD-R Media Manufacturers and Brands
          3. Identifying Unknown CD-R and CD-RW Media
          4. Archival Stability of CD-R(W) Media
          5. Labeling CD-R(W) Media
        10. Burning CDs
          1. General CD Burning Guidelines
          2. Burning On-the-Fly Versus Burning Image Files
          3. Choosing the Optimum Burn Speed for Your Drive and Media
          4. Overburning
        11. Special Problems and Applications
          1. Copy-Protected CDs
          2. Making Copies of Copies
          3. Creating and Using a Bootable CD-R Disc
          4. Creating an AutoRun CD-R Disc
        12. Writable CD Troubleshooting
          1. General Troubleshooting
          2. Specific Problems and Issues
        13. Additional CD-R(W) Source Material
        14. Our Picks
      14. 12. DVD Drives
        1. DVD-ROM
          1. DVD-ROM Types and Capacities
          2. DVD-ROM Speed
          3. Choosing a DVD-ROM Drive
        2. DVD Writable and Rewritable
          1. Read/Write Compatibility
          2. Choosing a Writable DVD Drive
        3. Installing and Configuring a DVD Drive
        4. Our Picks
      15. 13. Hard Disk Interfaces
        1. IDE
          1. IDE/ATA Standards and Implementations
          2. IDE/ATA Data Transfer Modes
            1. Programmed Input/Output (PIO) Modes
            2. Direct Memory Access (DMA) Modes
          3. ATA Multi-Channel Support
          4. The ATA Interface
          5. Configuring ATA Devices
            1. Assigning Masters and Slaves
            2. Using Cable Select
            3. Master/Slave Guidelines
          6. ATA Cables
          7. Compatibility Between Old and New IDE Devices
          8. IDE Capacity Limits
            1. BIOS Upgrades for Extended Int13 Support
            2. The Maxtor Big Drive Initiative
          9. ATA and RAID
          10. Serial ATA
        2. SCSI
          1. SCSI Standards
          2. SCSI Implementations
          3. SCSI Cables and Connectors
            1. Narrow Single-Ended SCSI Cables, Connectors, and Signals
            2. Wide Single-Ended SCSI Cables, Connectors, and Signals
            3. Low-Voltage Differential (LVD) SCSI Cables, Connectors, and Signals
          4. SCSI IDs and Termination
          5. SCSI Interoperability
        3. ATA Versus SCSI
        4. Our Picks
      16. 14. Hard Disk Drives
        1. How Hard Disks Work
        2. Choosing a Hard Disk
        3. Installing an ATA Hard Disk
          1. Physical Installation
          2. CMOS Setup
          3. Enabling ATA DMA Mode Transfers
            1. Determining If a Drive Supports DMA
            2. Enabling DMA Mode Transfers with Windows 9X
            3. Enabling DMA Mode Transfers with Windows NT
            4. Enabling DMA Mode Transfers with Windows 2000 or Windows XP
        4. Installing a SCSI Hard Disk
        5. Preparing a Hard Disk for Use
          1. Low-Level Formatting
          2. Partitioning
            1. Understanding Partitioning
            2. How Drive Letters Are Assigned
            3. Partitioning a Hard Disk
          3. Logical Formatting
            1. FAT16
            2. FAT32
            3. NTFS
            4. Formatting with Windows 9X
            5. Formatting with Windows NT Family (NT/2000/XP)
            6. Converting a FAT16 Volume to FAT32
        6. Our Picks
      17. 15. Video Adapters
        1. Video Adapter Characteristics
          1. 2D Versus 3D
          2. Components
          3. Interface
            1. AGP Interfaces and Signaling Voltages
            2. AGP Pro
          4. Display Settings
          5. Throughput
        2. Choosing a Video Adapter
        3. Installing a Video Adapter
        4. Configuring Video Under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
          1. Installing or Changing Video Drivers
          2. Changing the Screen Area Setting
          3. Enabling and Using QuickRes
          4. Changing Performance Setting
          5. Setting Font Size
          6. Using Color Management
        5. Configuring Video Under Windows NT 4
          1. Viewing or Changing Adapter Information and Video Drivers
          2. Setting Resolution, Color Depth, and Refresh Frequency
          3. Setting Font Size
        6. Troubleshooting Video Adapter Problems
        7. Our Picks
      18. 16. Displays
        1. CRT Monitors
          1. Monitor Characteristics
          2. Choosing a CRT Monitor
        2. Flat-Panel Displays
          1. Flat-Panel Display Characteristics
          2. Flat-Panel Interfaces
          3. FPD Versus CRT
          4. Choosing a Flat-Panel Display
        3. Installing and Configuring a Display
          1. Configuring a Monitor Under Windows NT 4
          2. Configuring a Monitor Under Windows 9X/2000/XP
        4. Troubleshooting Display Problems
          1. Troubleshooting CRT Monitors
          2. Troubleshooting Flat-Panel Displays
        5. Our Picks
      19. 17. Sound Adapters
        1. PC Audio Types
          1. Waveform Audio
          2. MIDI Audio
        2. MIDI Synthesis Methods
        3. Downloadable Sounds
        4. Sound Card Components
        5. Sound Card Characteristics
        6. Choosing a Sound Card
        7. Installing a Sound Card
          1. Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows 95/98/2000/XP
          2. Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows NT 4
        8. Troubleshooting Sound Card Problems
        9. MP3
          1. MP3 Software
          2. MP3 Hardware
          3. MP3 Pro
        10. Our Picks
      20. 18. Speakers and Headphones
        1. Speaker and Headphone Characteristics
        2. Choosing Speakers and Headphones
        3. Our Picks
      21. 19. Keyboards
        1. Keyboard Switch Types
        2. Keyboard Styles
        3. Keyboard Interfaces
          1. AT Keyboard Interface
          2. PS/2 Keyboard Interface
          3. USB Keyboard Interface
        4. Choosing a Keyboard
        5. Configuring a Keyboard
        6. Cleaning a Keyboard
        7. Troubleshooting and Repairing Keyboards
        8. Our Picks
      22. 20. Mice and Trackballs
        1. Mice Versus Trackballs
        2. Mouse Characteristics
        3. Choosing a Mouse
        4. Configuring a Mouse or Trackball
        5. Cleaning a Mouse
        6. Troubleshooting a Mouse
        7. Our Picks
      23. 21. Game Controllers
        1. Game Controller Characteristics
        2. Gameport Interface
        3. Choosing a Game Controller
        4. Installing a Game Controller
        5. Troubleshooting Game Controllers
        6. Our Picks
      24. 22. Serial Communications
        1. Serial Communications Overview
          1. Asynchronous Serial Framing
          2. Parity
          3. Asynchronous Frame Types
          4. Serial Data Transmission
          5. Flow Control
        2. Serial Ports
          1. Serial Port Standards
            1. DB25 Pin Definitions
            2. DB9 Pin Definitions
          2. Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter (UART)
            1. Determining UART Type
            2. Choosing UART Type
          3. Resources Required by Serial Ports
          4. Enhanced Serial Ports
          5. Multiport Serial Adapters
        3. Serial Cables
          1. Common Serial Cable Types
          2. Cable Guidelines
          3. Building Cables
          4. Determining Pinouts on an Unknown Cable
          5. Loopback Plugs
        4. Installing and Configuring Serial Port Hardware
          1. Configuring COM Port Settings
            1. Configuring COM Port Settings in Windows 9X
            2. Configuring COM Port Settings in Windows NT 4
            3. Configuring COM Port Settings in Windows 2000/XP
        5. Troubleshooting Serial Port Problems
        6. Our Picks
      25. 23. Parallel Communications
        1. Mapping Parallel Ports to LPTs
        2. Parallel Port Types
        3. Configuring Parallel Port Hardware
          1. Configuring Parallel Ports Under Windows NT
          2. Configuring Parallel Ports Under Windows 2000/XP
          3. Configuring Parallel Ports Under Windows 9X
        4. Parallel Connectors and Cables
          1. Parallel Connectors
          2. PC-to-Peripheral Parallel Cables
          3. PC-to-PC Parallel Cables
        5. Our Picks
      26. 24. USB Communications
        1. USB Characteristics
          1. USB Versions
          2. USB Speeds
          3. USB Topology
          4. USB Cables and Connectors
          5. USB Data Transfer Modes
        2. USB Host Controller Interfaces
          1. USB Host Controller Interface Types
          2. USB Host Controller Interface Issues
        3. Configuring USB
          1. Identifying the USB HCI Under Windows 9X
          2. Viewing USB HCI Properties Under Windows 9X
          3. Viewing USB Root Hub Properties Under Windows 9X
          4. Verifying USB Interrupt Sharing Under Windows 9X
          5. Identifying the USB HCI Under Windows 2000/XP
          6. Viewing USB HCI Properties Under Windows 2000/XP
          7. Viewing USB Root Hub Properties Under Windows 2000/XP
          8. Verifying USB Interrupt Sharing Under Windows 2000/XP
        4. Troubleshooting USB
          1. Proactive USB Troubleshooting
          2. Reactive USB Troubleshooting
        5. Our Picks
      27. 25. Cases
        1. Case Characteristics
        2. Choosing a Case
        3. Our Picks
      28. 26. Power Supplies
        1. Power Supply Characteristics
        2. Volts, Amps, Watts, and Regulation
          1. ATX Power Supply Specifications
          2. NLX Power Supply Specifications
          3. SFX Power Supply Specifications
        3. Power Connectors
          1. AT Main Power Connector
          2. ATX Main Power Supply Connector
          3. ATX Auxiliary Power Supply Connector
          4. ATX Optional Power Supply Connector
          5. ATX12V Power Supply Connector
          6. NLX Power Connectors
          7. SFX Power Connectors
          8. Power-Supply-to-Device Connectors
          9. Main Power Switch Power Connectors
          10. Real-World Power Supplies Compared
        4. Choosing a Power Supply
        5. Installing a Power Supply
        6. Troubleshooting Power Supplies
        7. Our Picks
      29. 27. Backup Power Supplies
        1. What BPSes Protect Against
        2. BPS Types
        3. BPS Characteristics
        4. Choosing a BPS
        5. Our Picks
      30. 28. Building a PC
        1. Step 1: Prepare the Case
        2. Step 2: Configure the Motherboard
        3. Step 3: Install the Processor
        4. Step 4: Install the Memory
        5. Step 5: Prepare Drives for Installation
        6. Step 6: Install the Floppy Disk Drive
        7. Step 7: Install Other Drives
        8. Step 8: Install the Motherboard
        9. Step 9: Connect Cables to the Motherboard
        10. Step 10: Install Expansion Cards
        11. Step 11: Perform the “Smoke Test”
        12. Step 12: Install Software
        13. Step 13: Finishing Touches
      31. Index
      32. Colophon