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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (Core Hardware)
 9  Introduction and “Guide to the Guide”
      9  CompTIA A+ Core Technologies Exam Blueprint

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Domain 4.0: Motherboards / Processors / Memory

This domain requires knowledge of specific terminology, facts, ways and means of dealing with classifications, categories and principles of motherboards, processors in memory in microcomputer systems:

4.1 Distinguish between popular CPU chips in terms of their basic characteristics:

  • Popular CPU chips (Intel, AMD, Cyrix)

  • Characteristics

  • Physical size

  • Voltage

  • Speeds

  • On board cache or not

  • Sockets

  • (SEC) single edge contact

4.2 Identify the categories of RAM (random access memory) terminology, their locations, and physical characteristics:

  • Terminology:
    • EDO RAM (extended data output RAM)

    • DRAM (dynamic random access memory)

    • SRAM (static RAM)

    • RIMM (Rambus in-line memory module 184 pins)

    • VRAM (video RAM)

    • SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM)

    • WRAM (Windows accelerator card RAM)


  • Locations and physical characteristics:
    • Memory bank

    • Memory chips (8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit)

    • SIMMS (Single in-line memory module)

    • DIMMS (dual in-line memory module)

    • Parity chips vs. non-parity chips

4.5 Identify the most popular types of motherboards, the components and architecture (bus structures and power supplies):

  • Types of motherboards:
    • AT (full and baby)

    • ATX


  • Components:
    • Communications ports

    • SIMM and DIMM

    • Processor sockets

    • External cache memory (level 2)


  • Bus architectures:
    • ISA

    • PCI

    • AGP

    • USB (Universal serial bus)

    • VESA local bus (VL-bus)


  • Basic compatibility guidelines:
    • IDE (ATA, ATAPI, ULTRA- DMA, EIDE)

    • SCSI (wide, fast, ultra, LVD (Low Voltage Differential)

4.4 Identify the purpose of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor), what it contains and how to change its basic parameters:

  • Printer parallel port - Uni, bi-directional, disabled/enable, ECP, EPP

  • Com/serial port-memory address, interrupt request, disable

  • Floppy Drive-enable/disable drive or boot, speed, density

  • Hard drive- size and drive type

  • Memory-parity, non-party

  • Boot sequence

  • Date/Time

  • Passwords

  • Plug & play BIOS

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Version 1.0 - Version Date: December 6, 2004

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