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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (Core Hardware)
 9  Chapter 0001:  Power Supplies - System Board

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VII  CMOS
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VIII  BIOS

If you think it your PC is having a brain, then the BIOS is what gives it a personality.

The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), which is pronounced bye-ose, contains software that has been written to Read Only Memory (ROM).

Because ROM is physical, and physical is hardware, but software, is a collection of commands, the marriage of the two is sometimes referred to as firmware.

The BIOS is typically quite easy to locate, because the manufacturer labels it. The most popular vendors are: Award, American Megatrends, Inc. (AMI), and Phoenix.

Several life times ago (about 12 standard calendar years), BIOS was literally a ROM chip. The manufacturer would write the instructions needed to support a type of video card, floppy drive, etc. This was great, until someone wanted to install a new widget, for example, a 3.5" 1.44Mb floppy that we all take for granted today. Now, 15 years ago, the 3.5" 1.44Mb floppy didn't really quite exist. So installing one, say 14 years ago, meant you had to order a new ROM BIOS, pull the old one out, and put in the new one with the code in it to support this pile of data that could fit in your shirt pocket.

Figure 23: An older BIOS chip. Back in the those days, hardware updates required finding and replacing the entire BIOS. No joy, at all.

 

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