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Book Chapter 2: The Visible Computer
2. External Connections
So here I am with this system unit. Now, system units are fantastic, but they're kind of useless by themselves because I need to plug things like monitors, keyboards, and mice, and maybe a printer, or maybe plug it into a wall. I need to plug stuff in, connect peripherals to this system unit, or take advantage of the power of this modern computer. So what I want to do in this episode is talk about what I'm going to call "external connections," and basically we're going to take a tour of the outside of this computer and talk about the different connections that you're going to be running into. Now, before we go any further, I want to be really careful with some terminology here. The terms "connection," "connections," "jack," "port," all of these different phrases They might have definitions that, if you really wanted to nail it, would be technically correct but have no friends. I personally interchange them.
So whether I say jack or connector or connections, I'm talking about the things in the back and the cables that we plug into them so that we can make stuff go. Got it. Let's go ahead and get started. As a result, I'm marching from left to right. First off, on the left, there is actually kind of an interesting little connection right there. This guy is unique to this system, and what it's used for isn't actually to plug in a mouse or a keyboard. It's text for a way for me to reset some of the internal stuff on the inside of this computer. Check out my bias section here. Do that connector again. If we take a look now, we see all these rectangular connectors, and some will have green outlines and some of them will have blue outlines. All of those were probably the most famous peripheral connections we had. A USB. USB has been around now for 20 years, and it's pretty much taken over the universe. The odds are good that if you're going to be plugging in a mouse or a keyboard or a printer or something like that, it will probably use USB, although some other types of connections are available. Now, moving along, we see these two large rectangular connections here. Those rectangular connections—some people call them Internet connections. That's not actually accurate. Those are network cable connections. We use this type of connector, called RJ 45.
Snap those into our systems so that we're on the network. All of these connectors you see here, these five round connectors in this one little square, are all sound connectors. So if I want to plug in an ice speaker system, I can use round connectors. The square connector is actually a fibre optic connection for more advanced systems where I can plug that in and I can have just one cable instead of five or six coming out of the back of the computer. Those connectors are important, but video connections are probably the most interesting to people today. We are living in a world where video is changing all the time. Monitors are becoming more colourful and have higher resolution, and it's common to see a variety of video chains, and this system unit is no exception. I want to start with this connection right here. So this is a connection called DVI. DVI is an older type of connection. It works great. As you can see, I've got a very late-generation video card, but it still has a DVI connection. What you had here are two of the mostpopular types of video connections out there right now. Now you've got to look really closely. So the top one and the third are what we call DisplayPort. Notice how it has a notch on one side—a chamfer is the actual proper term. So DisplayPort is very popular. but these other two are HDMI. HDMI connectors, for anybody who's ever used a big TV or anything, are a very common type of connector we use for all kinds of video purposes. See this connector right here? That is a power connection, my friend. In order for a computer to run, it needs electricity. And we plug a cable into a connector right here, and that goes into a wall outlet, where it makes electricity so that the computer can run. so that covers all of the back connections. But any computer today is also going to have connections on the front and on the outside. So what I'm going to do is assume we could get rid of this device. Okay, so what we're going to do now is take a look at the actual outside front of this particular device and talk about some of the connections we see there. So what we're looking at here aren't connections; these are just on and off buttons and a reset switch, but these are the ones I'm most interested in. USB is so common today. It's really popular for a lot of people. like, for example, my headset. I don't want to plug that into the back of my unit. It's just easier for me to plug it in front.Or if I've got a thumb drive, I don't want to reach around the back. I've done it a million times just to plug in a thumb drive. It's convenient for me to have these front panel connections that allow me to plug in USB devices. and in this case, the old school. This is my phone and a speaker's. So if we want to plug that in, we can do that here as well. Now this is a great system, but CompTIA wants you to be aware of some of the older types of connectors. So to be ready for that, I've got something else to show you. So this is an older system I have here. It's about ten, maybe twelve years old, and it's got a lot of older external connections that aren't quite as common today, but they're certainly on the exam. So let's take a nap to let me get my test display device one more time. Now keep in mind that these are much older types of sections. We're going to go from left to right again, like we did before. But if you don't run into these in the real world, don't panic.
It's just older types of connections. All right, so starting way over here on the left, which we see here is a power connection on this particular guy, Now, these two are kind of important. You see these round connections. The type of connection is called a mini DIN, but they're also called PS, or two connections. So the bottom one was for a keyboard, and the top one was for a mouse. These types of connections disappeared for a long time because USB became so popular. However, they're having rent problems. And now all of a sudden we're seeing these round connectors. Again, this is primarily for gamers who believe that these pew connectors provide much faster keyboard and mouse responses. So pro gamers are really into these two connectors today. This purple connector right here is what we call a parallel port; some people call it an LPT port. This is one of the oldest connectors known for PCs. It didn't appear that long ago. This connector, which is almost exclusively used for printers, is unquestionably the oldest connector in all of Uterdom. This is a serial connector. Right here is a VGA. This is a video connector. It's a very old-style video connector, and it was used to push monitors. Here are some fairly first-generation USB connectors. Here's another one of those RJ forty five S. and here we have sound connectors. In this particular case, there are only three connectors because it's not designed to support quite as many devices as a previous one did. And now as we look over here, this is actually kind of interesting. Here's the DVI we saw on the previous system. DVI is old, but it's still very, very popular. Here's a VGA connector. And yes, I could easily plug two monitors into this system. And then this is a very old, what we call an analog-style connector, and we call that guy an S-Video connector. So make sure you're familiar with how a lot of these connectors look. The actual exam will involve showing you pictures going Here's a picture of a USB connector. What is it? and you have to be able to name that. So connections don't end with desktops. Just about any type of computing device will have some form of external connection. So let's do this one more time. Except this time, let's take a look at my laptop. Now lapse are going to vary tremendouslyin terms of where the connections are. It's going to be on either side; it could be on the front; sometimes it's even in the back; and sometimes even on the bottom, depending on the laptop itself. But on this guy, which isa fairly late generation MSI laptop. It's fairly typical of what we're going to see. So way over here, this is an anti-theft connector. You're actually designed to put a cable in there to keep people out. You can bolt it to your desk so people can't steal your laptop. Here is another RJ-45 for a laptop. Here's a USB connected to this HDMI, and that's actually DisplayPort. It's a different shape of DisplayPort, but they call that a mini DisplayPort. Another USB. This is a more advanced connection called USBC. Technically, this is called USBA. We've got an entire USB for you to watch. And here's a microphone and speaker connection. So I don't think there's anything on the front of this guy. So as we take a look at this, first of all, we have another USB connection, just like crazy. That's for an SD card. If I ever need to pull something out of my camera, and here, and then last way over here, is a power connection. Here's something that's becoming rarer and rarer. That's optical media, because I use a lot of optical media. All right, so we went to a number of different types of connectors in this episode. What's important for you to take away from this isyou're beginning to get an idea of some of thenames of the types of connectors that you're going toexpect, some basic functionality of those connectors. So if I show you an HDMI nectar,don't assume like a mouse into it. Got the idea? Make sure you're comfortable with those and the basic shapes, and you'll be fine in the end.
3. Inside the PC
Now, as a nerd, one of the things I love to do is get inside the computer. So what I do in this episode is give a quick tour of the major components that are inside a typical system unit on a desktop PC. Now keep in mind that just because I'm a desktop PC in this kitchen doesn't mean that laptops and tablets and just about everything else have very similar components. Let's just kind of go through this guy. This is a very nice, beautiful card. I'm very proud of how nicely I put this together. And I'm going to take it apart on camera. This should be fun. So first I see these nice little white boxes. So this is just used to control airflow a little bit. I'm going to take these parts off and show you some of the neat stuff. Neat. I'd say don't try this at home, but if you're watching a video like this, this is what we do at home all the time. All right, so let's take a look and get an idea. First and foremost, you can see that, but I've got a power supply here, and there are tonnes of power connectors on this particular one that actually go underneath; there's a small gap so that the cables aren't laying all over stuff and then popping up all over the place. First of all, let's take a look at this guy right here. Right here is a video card. Now, what I'm going to do is take this video card out.
All right, so this is a very nice high-end video card. But by taking that out, we can get a little bit better vision of what's going on inside this computer. First of all, this big black rectangle you see here is what we call the motherboard. The motherboard is the primary device with which we connect all the innards of the system unit together. things like RAM, CPU, and internal hard drives. And just about everything that's inside the box connects together via this thing called a motherboard. So the motherboard has power connections here. You see, there's a power connection here. There's a power connection here. So that's what actually gives power to everybody inside the system. So as the next thing to show you guys, I thought he'd come out. This is a RAM stick. So what about Ram? These individual guys are called sticks. That's the term "stick." doesn't say how many megabytes or gigabytes it is. It's just a stick. This is actually very, very pretty too, by the way. Underneath here, this is actually a liquid-cooling system. We've got fans, and there's liquid that runs in here. and underneath here is the CPU. You know what, it's going to be a little messy, but let's take a look at this view. This fairly messy-looking device right here is the CPU for this particular system. The CPU is made by Intel. It's called a Core I-nine processor. This goo you're seeing on top is called thermal paste. The reason thermal paste heat dope,it's got names thermal compound. And the purpose of this is to provide a very good thermal seal. CPS generate a lot of heat. This cooling system, this liquid cooling system, takes that heat, and then the fans on top blow it out. So the thermal paste just creates a good heat conductor between the CPU and my cooling system. Let's see if I'm really brave here. It's going to be hard for you guys to see, but that's actually messy but very functional. CPU right here, and a very powerful one.
You'll notice that it snaps in Different CPUs have what are called "different form factors" that allow them to sit on different motherboards. We have entire episodes on CPU, so I just want to give you an idea of what that looks like. Let's put that guy back in before it causes any more damage. Now as we look around this board, you'll see a lot of other things that are kind of interesting. First of all, underneath this little bit of heat sink right here So you see this guy right here? This, believe it or not, is mass storage. This is what we call an M-2 SSD. Now I've got it wrapped in thermal tape, which actually takes heat away from it in order to pull it out. And that is the primary storage for this particular system. Now if you take a look over here, it'spretty much impossible to see from this angle, butthese are connections for me to install hard drives. I've got slots right here for me to plug in as well. a large number of hard drives, six. It looks to be an absolute maximum for this particular motherboard. But if I want to add more hard drives, I can even plug them into the back of the system. We call these expansion slots—this particular type of expansion slots known as PCIe.And you saw when I pulled the video card off, it was snapped into one of these expansion slots, which give PCs a lot of flexibility. If there's some type of device I want to plug in that doesn't come with a system, I can buy an expansion card, as we call it, snap it in, and it allows great expandability. On the motherboard itself, there are a lot of interesting things going on.
First of all, underneath it, I'm not going to take this off because it's almost impossible. That's what we call the chipset. The chipset defines all the different things this motherboard can do: how many USB ports it has, how many hard drives it can support, and how many of these PCIe slots it has. All of that is defined by the chip set itself. So a lot of times, we're talking about a motherboard. We'll say, "Oh, it's a particular type of 499 chipset" or something like that. Now we also have these, which are power, but all of these connectors are here, and it's a little bit tricky. I can pull this up so you guys can see it. So those are the connectors that allow us to do stuff like the on-off switch at the front of the computer, reset, and things like that. These are all handled through this guy onthis particular system I might add was areal pain to get those things installed. Again, it's a little difficult to see, but we also offer extra USB and other accessories that you might want to add to a specific system. So that, my friends, is a quick view of the inside of a system unit for a desktop PC. Now, in other episodes, we're going to go into all of these parts in a lot more detail. But for right now, the important thing is that you understand what type of parts you can expect. You should anticipate a power supply, a CPU, and RAM end and have a rough idea of where they will fit within the system. This is actually the most fun part for me, and it looks like it's going to be fun because I get to put all this back together right now.
4. What is a Computer?
Everybody uses terms like CPU, RAM, and hard drives. We've heard these terms in this episode. I want to talk about what a computer is really like. Now, in order to have a computer, remember why we have them in the first place. It's to get stuff done. We do things like generate spreadsheets or edit videos, control traffic, or play games. No matter what it is, the whole function of a computer is to get something done, either for work or play. So the cornerstone of any computer you're going to have are the CPUs—a couple of CPUs. I've got a lane in here. Now, a lot of times we'll say the CPU is like the brain of the computer. It's really more like a really super-high-speed calculator. And what we do is write proteins that the processor can then use to manipulate peripherals; we create these things called files to accomplish our goals. So we have these huge things called programs. Programs can now be applications such as the Microsoft Word or Edge browser, or they can be utilities that assist us in connecting to a network. But they're all programs. When your computer is turned off, those programmes have to sit someplace. And that's what these guys are all about. This is mass storage. So in this particular case, this is called an M two SSD) Allstate drive. And it stores stuff statically. And this is an older but very popular hard drive. It's got spinning platters in there. The only thing these guys do is store data, whether that data is a programme or a Microsoft Word document. When you're not using it, when you're on yourcomputer doing whatever you're doing, and suddenly you doubleclick on an icon to say, start up MicrosoftWord, a lot of things start to take place. First of all, a computer's CPU knows how to talk to the hard drive. He'll say, "Go get that Microsoft Word!" Now, hard drives are fast, but the problem is they're not nearly as fast as a CPU.
So we are already running a program. What we're really doing is taking a copy of that programme off storage and putting it into our RAM, or random access memory. So when a programme is running, it is stored in RAM. RAM is super fast—not quite as fast as a CPU, but it's very fast. The only downside is, compared to a hard drive, RAM is very, very expensive. So we only use RAM when we're running a program. So what will happen is the CPU will then copy—let's say Microsoft Word copies the Microsoft WordPro to RAM—and then it will begin running the Word program. The Word programme now essentially sits there with a nice white screen waiting for you to press keys on your keyboard. Hi Mom, I am fine. So the programme itself is monitoring peripherals. In this particular case, it's monitoring the key. And as each letter gets pressed, it starts showing up on the screen, and you write yourself a letter. And then you go through a process of saving your data—saving a file. So what will happen is then the CPU willthen instruct the data that you've written on Ram. It doesn't go to the hard drive automatically, thedata you written on Ram, you hit file save. And then there's your mass storage. So mass storage stores two very different things. One is storing the programmes that aren't in use. And number two, it stores our data, our pictures, ourWord documents, our saved games, whatever it might be. So we go back and forth through this process. In order to be a computer, you have to have a processor,you have to have Ram and have to have mass storage.
There's no exception to that. The other thing—and we'll cover this in another episode—is that you need some new programme that is the king of all programmes that we call these operating systems. So even though in this series I use desktop computers a lot, big desktops, the reason I use them is because, well, they're big. And it's easy for me to show you RAM and a CPU and a hard drive and stuff like that. But what I need to get into my mind right away is that computers aren't just desktops. Look over here. This is a perfectly good little laptop computer. Inside this laptop is an ACU. Inside this laptop is mass storage. Inside this laptop are lots and lots of RAM, video, a keyboard, and all kinds of other stuff too. This is a computer. Here's my little Apple tablet. Inside this Apple tablet is a CPU. Ram lives inside this tablet is Ram.This tablet has a lot of storage space. There's even an operating system attached to this one little tablet, but don't let it stop there. Here's an Android phone. This Android phone has a CPU; it has RAM; it has mass storage; it has an operating system. It's all built into that. Let's go crazy here. You ever heard the term "internet of things?" Here's a little device called a Raspberry Pi. This is a small computer, but Texas things have USB ports, a network connection, and other features. We have a CPU, RAM, mass storage, and everything on this guy. In fact, on this guy, it's all actually put on one individual chip. We use the term "system on a chip" to define that type of thing. Computers are everywhere. The washer and dryer in my house are full computer systems. I could actually turn on the dryer using my phone. You became accustomed to cameras or similar devices. This camera has CPU, Ram, operating system. Everything is inside this camera. How about the routers or the wireless access points that we use in our home? These guys are also complete computers. Inside this computer is going to be a CPU, RAM storage, an operating system, and everything else that we need to be a complete computer. So be careful when you use the word computer. The computers have taken over happily. It sure makes our lives convenient. And everything from the big desktops, which we'll be concentrating on in this series, down to the smallest little camera, or in my case, washer and dryer, is a computer. All you need is a CPU, RAM, mass storage, and something called an operating system.
Book Chapter 3 – CPUs
1. CPU Speeds and Cores
I'm thinking there's a pretty good chance that if you've ever talked to people about a CPU before, a lot of times they'll talk about the speed of the CPU. In today's world, we talk about CPUs having speeds in gigahertz. And when we talk about gigahertz, first of all, a hertz is one time per second. So a gigahertz is a billion times per second. So if somebody says that they've got a 3 GHz view, that means that CPU, that clock button, can be pressed 3 billion times a second, which is incredibly fast. Now, I want to talk about something a little bit—that is, when we talk about a CPU speed, that is the maximum speed that the CPU can go. What determines how fast the CPU calculates is something that is done by pressing a button and making it go. So if a CPU has a speed of 3 times a second, you could press it once every second if you wanted to. Now, that would be incredibly slowand a waste of good silicon. But understand that when we talk about CPU speed, we're talking about its top speed. The other thing you want to be comfortable when itcomes to CPUs is that CPUm in makes and models. There are two companies that are the predominant CPU manufacturers in the world today. That's Intel Corporation, and Advanced Micro Devices is AMD.
Intel and AMD make CPUs that have the exact same code book inside. They can listen and programme the exact same code. For example, we can write a copy of Microsoft Windows, and I can run that on a computer with an AMD CPU or an Intel CPU. Even though they look a little different, they speak the same language. That's very important. We have a make and a model, and then we often mention a speed. So if we talk about a particular CPU, I'll say something like "I have an AMD Ryzen" and then there'll be some number associated with it. That number defines a lot of stuff. For example, the generation may have gone through a few generations of this rise, and that will also define its speed. So you can have two identical CPUs—absolutely identical. That's the only difference, and it's important that we understand that because, when we're building a system, we want to make sure that we have a system that can take advantage of all the speed that that system can. So what she presses on that button is a system crystal, and built onto every motherboard on earth is a system crystal. They're small, so I want to see if we can get one of them here. So there you have it. A silver-looking cylinder is a quartz oscillator. So this quartz oscillator oscillates at a very fixed speed. And this is, in essence, what is acting like a metronome for the entire computer. Because it's not only the CPU that needs a clock. We'll see as we progress in this series that there's a lot of stuff on there that needs a clock as well. So that's one, but this is alittle bit of an older one. So I've got a newer system here and did a little research to find it, but it's right here. So these little quartz crystals act like a themetronome, and they push the system forward. Now what's interesting is that the original IBM PC ran at a whopping 477 MHz, which sounds really fast today. But over time, we began to push them and make them faster and faster. And after a while, we begin to discover something, and that is that sometimes on a CPU, when we press the go button, we have to press it a bunch of times. What that boils down to is that the CPU spends an inordinate amount of its time doing calculations inside itself. So it's hard to get amotherboard to go faster and faster. Today's motherboards have a maximum clock speed of around, and these would-be high-end motherboards will have a maximum clock speed of, I don't know, 400. That's rare. This is a very high-end motherboard, and it's running at about 200 banks. So if we have a CPU that's running at these gigahertz, well, what the heck is going on? Well, what's happening is something absolutely fascinating called clock multiplying.
Any CPU team will take the beating coming from the system's crystal and inside of itself. Doubling it, multiplying it by ten, and multiplying it by 30 puts a big number on it. And it works because inside the CPU is where most of the calculations take place. In fact, on most of today's systems, any given click of the clock puts over 95% of them just inside the CPU while the rest of the system is waiting for it. But don't worry, the CPU is so fast, it keeps the rest of the system working. You can actually see this. Now, these multipliers are actually built into the CPU itself. So let's take a look, and I can actually show you these multipliers. So over on this system right here, I've got a wonderful programme that you should know about and download. It's called CPUID CPUZ. It's freeware, it works fantastically well, and I can't recommend it enough. We're going to run this guy, and I want to show you something this programme does: he queries the CPU, talks to it, and understands everything that there is. So let's take a look at some of the stuff starting up at the top. So this is actually an older CPU. It's an Intel brand. It's called a Core I five.We call this a microarchitecture, a specific design. and then there is a model number that's associated with it. So the code name we call it is Sky Lake. These are the code names that help define what we call the microarchitecture. There'll be a lot of processors based on this one type of architecture: the design of the internals of the system, the package—we'll talk about packages in other episodes—and the maximum amount of wattage it'll take.
So this will take up to 65 watts. But what I want you to look at is that this is running at a base speed of 100 MHz. So the motherboard itself runs at 100 MHz, but the multiplier is X 33. Now, today's modern processors slow down and speed up based on temperature. So that's what we're seeing right here. The eight to 36 is showing us that this can slow down to a multiplier of only eight to a multiplier of 36. Clock multiplying is really what makes today's CPUs run at incredibly high speeds. Now there are ways to change this, and we're going to save that. In other episodes, we get into something called bias. But for the most part, all we have to do is make sure, when we're buying a motherboard, we buy one that's designed to work with a particular make, model, and model number of a CPU, and we pop it in the base. Motherboard speed is set at the factory by these crystals, and the multiplier is built into the CPUs themselves, either at the factory at Intel or AMD. And we only get to enjoy the fits that ensue. So I've got a question for you. What if we pushed it further than it's rated to go? What if, for example, we could buy a motherboard that, unlike the one I've got on my system here, only goes up to 100 MHz? What if we could turn the knob up to eleven, pushing it to 110 MHz? Or what if we could tell the CPU, Hey, instead of going to a multiplier of 33, push it up even further than that, push it up to 36, and always stay there? This is a process called overclocking. Overclocking is something that is, I'm not going to say, condoned, but it's an enthusiast type of thing. We buy special motherboards that have the ability to talk to a CPU and say, "Turn the knob up to eleven." I personally don't overclock. Overclocking makes some stable and generally nota good idea for the exam. Make sure you're aware of what overclocks. What you're doing is turning the knob up. However, for folks like us, we usually just want to keep it where it is, so if we can't push the system faster by just cranking the clock up, well, what can we do? Well, in that case, we can do things with multiple Let me show you what I mean. Here's a typical pipeline that we would see in an earlier CPU.
Because today's computers are fancier, what we began to see many years ago is that a CPU would have multiple pipelines on it.So what would happen is, instead of being able to handle just one piece of code at a time, it could handle two pieces of code at a time. The other thing we started to see was something like this. We would have super smart pipelines that could handle more than one, what we call "threads," coming in at a time. What would happen is that the prefetch would look for anybody who isn't busy at any given click of the clock. And if the calculation was just right, we could go ahead and hand it to whoever was boring at any given time. And it would look, smell, and taste as though you were running multiple pipelines at one time. allowed us to do two things that kind of showed up at roughly the same time. Number one, we had something called hyperthreading. Hyperthreading is when you have one super smart pipeline that can handle two incoming pieces of code at the same time, which is pretty impressive. We also have the ability to run individual systems that have, in essence, multiple pipelines built into them.
Now, they're treated separately. We call them cores. So what would happen to the systems? We have computers that could be running the equivalent of, geez, I don't know, twelve cores or 24 cores, which, in essence, makes one single piece of CPU, even though it's 24 different CPUs. Let me show you one right here. This is a resource monitor, and if we take a look at the default screen, it shows us how hard the CPU, how hard the hives are working, how hard the network is working, and how hard my RAM is working. So if I click over here over the years, what can I look at I'm going to have to scroll this a little bit so you can see it on this particular CPU that I have in this system. It has 1234 cores in there. Each one of these acts like its own independent CPU and allows the computer, if it can't run faster, to at least use a lot more lanes on the highway. The wonderful thing about cores and hyper threading is that we can simply go out and buy the best CPUs we can and take advantage of their power. There's nothing for us to tweak or adjust when it comes to this. We just dig deep, see how thick our wallet is, and we buy the system we can with the most cores and the best hyperthreading, which is pretty common today. and we take advantage of its power today. I've got a system that has about 32 individual cores on it. Talk about speed. It's absolutely amazing.
Back in the 18th century, when we had fur trappers all over North America, they would take some of their food and maybe some firewood and some supplies. They would take a little bit of that from the oven and they would store it in little, underground storage spots called "cash." So a check was basically a little bit of what you already had, but a lot closer to you. That way, if they're out in the woods or something, they run into trouble. They don't have to go all the way back to their cabin to get the food or firewood they need. They can just go into a cache, while CPUs use cash all of the time. And in this episode, what I want to talk about is the concept of caching, and I'm going to concentrate on what we call a CPU cache. So to understand how caches work, let's start talking about how programmes move from your hard drive into the CPU.
In other episodes we talk about how when you starta program, so when you're double clicking on an icon,the programme or at least some of the program, iscopied off of the hard drive and placed into Ram. So some part of your RAM now stores that program. Now the programme is here. Individual lines of the programme are fed into the CPU via its external database, and the programme is then processed. The problem we have is that PUs are blindingly fast. RAM is fast, but not nearly as fast as a CPU. And then hard drives are fast, but not nearly as fast as RAM. So that creates a problem. There are points where the CPU needs the next line of code to be added, but because he's so busy in the RAM, the RAM can't keep up. So to get around that, what we do Let's open up a CPU in here. So we'll show our little guys. So what will happen is that we will put in a little piece of extremely fast memory. So what we're going to have to put inside of our PU is a little, tiny bit of RAM. Now on today's systems, we have gigabytes of RAM, but in this case, we're just talking about a few megabytes at most. But this isn't even regular RAM. We call this SRAM. SRAM is a much faster RAM than the regular RAM that we snap into our Sims. The problem with SRAM is that it's wildly expensive, and while we can't use it for our regular RAM, it works great for this.
So what's going to happen is the prefetch part of our CPU is going to be watching the code as it comes in and saying, "There's a piece of code that says go to a particular place in memory and grab that piece and then put it in." Well, he had that ready to go. So what he'll do is start grabbing lines of code and dropping them into the cache. The idea is that he may not even use all these lines of code, but in case he does call for them, he'll be ready to go, and he can use them. Every CPU today has some amount of cash built into it. The problem is that if you really want to get two CPU engineers into a big fist fight, what you want to do is tell them what the proper way to configure your RAM architecture is and then shut the door real quick. because probably one of the biggest differences between L and AMD is how they design the cache to be ready for anything the CPU might ask for. If the piece of code that the CPU needs isn't there when it needs it, we get what's known as a pipeline stall. And when that happens, the entire pipeline is shut down. And then we use a few hundred clicks of the clock to go out and get a line of code off of RAM and get it in there, something we want to avoid at all costs. So to avoid pipeline stalls, there are very big mathematical ways to do it. What's important for us to understand is that every CPU comes with cash. In fact, it doesn't come with one cache, it comes with three. The first cache depends on the CPU.
There are some variants here, but the vastmajority of CPUs come with three caches. The first is known as the level one cache. On almost all systems, that's about the only range. However, this cache is so fast that it operates at the CPU's multiplied speed. So the level one runs at the same speed asthe like if it's a 3 GHz CPU, level onecash runs at that speed be about sixty four K. The next level of cash is your level two cash. The level two cash is what feeds the level one cash. The level two cash will be a larger one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, two hundred and fifty-six thousand. But it's going to run at maybe half the clock's multiplied speed. There's a lot of variance in there, so I'm not going to lock it into one particular speed. Then there's even another level of cache. Almost all CPUs today have an L-type cache. The L three cache is big. It's going to be in the megabyte range. The L-three cache is going to be running at about the base motherboard speed. It doesn't run that fast, but it runs a lot faster than the RAM itself. and as a result, it allows us to avoid these types of stalls. You can see the cache on your system using the CPUZ programme from CPUID. I've got an example of it running right here. So here we've got CPUZ running again, and on this particular system, if you take a look, it actually shows all of the caches here. So we have an L-one cache.
It's actually two separate cards of 32 kilowatts each. Then we have a level two cache of 206. Then we have a level three cache of six megabytes. the eight way, the four way, and the twelve way. That has to do with something called set association. And it actually defines how the different types of caches are efficient at being able to hand the right piece of code up to the CPU itself. It's well outside the scope of the A-plus examination. However, it's absolutely fascinating. If you get a chance, YouTube has some wonderful videos that describe this in gritty detail. The nice part about caching, more than anything else, is that we don't mess with it. We buy our CPUs from the folks who make them with a different type of cache, for example, AMD. When it comes to the microarchitecture of their CPUs, they believe in really, really big caches intel.They like to use really small caches that are really smart. So there are big arguments back and forth. And who's writing that, really? Every time a new CPU comes out, we're always looking at the specifications and the results in terms of their performance. And it's just one of the joyous things about being human: trying to determine which CPU has been better based on cash. And the answer is that it's really up to you.
3. CPU Sockets
CPUs have been around since the late 1970s. Well, let me rephrase that. CPUs have been around a lot longer than that. But CPUs for PCs have been around since the late 1970s. And as you might imagine, we've had a few improvements over the years. years, in fact. We've had zillions of improvements. Now things get faster, the buses get wider, and the processing power becomes stronger. Imagine that the physical CPU itself is going to have to change a lot. These various types of physical CPU packages are referred to as CPU sockets. Now, you have to be a little bit careful here because when you say socket, most people think of a light bulb and a light socket. But we use the term "socket" to define not only the shape and the pins and the four CPUs but also the actual socket that the CPU fits in. So we can put a CPU having a particular size in what we call the "socket," as well as the socket itself. I don't believe this stuff, folks.
Anyway, so in this episode, what I want to do is concentrate on how CPUs progress and the different types of sockets that we know and love. So first of all, what I want you to do is take a look down here. I've got three different CPUs sitting right across my mat here. As you look at these CPUs, on a casual glance, you'd say that they are extremely similar. In fact, the two over here on your right look downright identical. Well, they're not. What's happening here is that Intel MD will come up with what they call "micro architectures." In essence, it's the diagram on the inside of the CPU. Now, a CPU isn't put together by soldering. It actually uses a photo-lithographic process. If you've ever silkscreened a T-shirt, it's shockingly similar. Instead of putting ink on a shirt, we're etching away layers of silicon with extremely caustic chemicals, creating billions of tiny microscopic transistors that actually create the seed. So as a new feature is developed, they have to redesign this entire thing. And this is why we say it has a new micro architecture.So what will happen? Intel and AMD will do this, but I'm going to concentrate on Intel because they're more complicated and a little bit more interesting. In some cases, what they'll come up with is a new design. And these new designs will get families likeNutella or Haswell or KP Lake and theymake kinds of different CPUs from that. So, for example, they'll design one microarchitecture called Coffee Lake. And once that micro-texture is made, Intel will then make a broad cross-section of CPUs to meet different types of needs. In this case, Intel uses what's known as the I value. They'll mention an I-3, which is based on specific microarchitecture, but that's at the low end of the spectrum. It'll probably have less cores in it, it won't have as much cash built into it, and it won't run quite as fast. Then there'll be an I-5, which will be more of a mainstream type of CPU. It's the secret architecture on the inside, but certain things are turned off and certain things are turned on depending on how it comes out of the assembly line. So after I five is I seven andthen I nine, so what will happen? But we don't pick it up; Intel does.
selects a single microarchitecture and then creates a diverse range of CPU models based on that single microarchitecture. So let's just go and do a quick rundown of some of the microarchitectures we're seeing today. Now keep in mind that this is interesting because this nomenclature—"I three," "I five," "I seven," "I nine"—has been around for about ten years, and it's probably going to stick around for a while. So let's go ahead and do a quick rundown of the different names of the microarchitecture used on the Intel I3, I5, and I Nines.Literally. The first one is called Nahalam. Then a few years later, we came up with Sandy Bridge. Ivy Bridge has well-broadened skies. Lake KV and Coffee Lake Now, if you count these, there's actually a number involved. So Nahlin would be the first version. I three. I five. I sevens. I nine. weren't quite there yet. And then we would have Sandy Bridge, second generation, Ivy Bridge, third generation, Haswell, fourth generation, and Broadwell, fifth generation. You get the idea. The reason this becomes really, really important is that as Intel keeps changing these, we come up with new types of sockets to handle these new types of CPUs. Because one day you'll be looking at a computer and thinking, "Oh, this is an I-seven," but this could be an I-seven processor for a much earlier generation. And other than the name "I Seven," it is a completely different processor than a modern "ISeven" that we might see today. So that's why we really do concentrate on these different types of family names. when we're talking about micro architectures. So the big moment comes into play when we actually take a look at a CPU. Now they're going to be terrible. So let's put a screen up. So the CPU is going to "I seven," and there's a dash. Then we're going to see an amount that's two through nine.
Now you'd say, was it their first generation? Yeah, but they never use that one. The next thing you're going to see is the SKU, the sales inventory code. We use SKUs on toasters, but within the inventory, it finds that particular one, and then you're going to see something in there. Sometimes you'll see a value like "U" or something like that that defines something like "particularly low power" or some feature like that. So this is an example of an exact make and model for a very, very specific Your problem is, when you look at that number, does it tell you how many cores it has? Does it tell you how fast it's running? Does it tell you how big the cache is? No, it doesn't say anything. So this is always a big challenge for us when we're looking for a CPU. So we say, "I want to do intel. I seven. So people are going to say, "Well, what is microarchitecture?" And you're like, "Well, I'm thinking one of those coffee lakes might be the thing so you can get that information." But after that, it's got some research. Folks, there's a reason a lot of people buy preassembled systems and we don't: we're nerds and we love all this stuff. But for a lot of people going through the process of making sure you have the exact right CPU for the exact right motherboard, what you need requires just some good research at this point, okay? Now, each one of these different versions is going to have a different type of configuration and a different type of ability. You could literally have, and you need to be careful about this. You could have processors that span multiple microarchitectures that have the exact same socket. Or, worse than that, you can have lots of different processors that are using different sockets. So again, the bottom line is you're going to have totake some time and you're going to have to research. If you hear about some new CPUs, that's great. That's how we all start. But you need to do research to make sure you're getting it right. All right, so what I want to do right now is kind of go through the different types of sockets that you're going to use. So first of all, take a look right here. When we talk about sockets, one thing I want to see is that this particular CPU has pins sticking out of it and this one doesn't. When we talk about socket names, you're going to see the term PGA or LGA. GA stands for pin grid array. And it basically means there are a bunch of pins sticking out of the bottom of the CPU. LGA stands for Land Grid Array. And instead of having pins that have little landing pads, the actual socket we drop it into has little pins to make the contact. So when you're talking about these terms, make sure you're always going to be saying LGA or PGA.
Now what I want to do is talk about the difference between Intel and AMD. So let's take a look down here one more time. What we're looking at are two motherboards. Now, at first glance, you think, "Well, these are pretty similar motherboards." Mike Well, they are similar, but one of them over here is a AMD motherboard. And this guy over here is an Intel motherboard. The reason for that is, well, I read the box before I put him down on the pad. but also because I'm used to looking at sockets. This socket, for example, is not a pin grid array socket. And A invoices an am. Four. And we can use this. This is a little zero insertion. We'll talk about this more as we actually install them. and this guy over here is LGA. You're ready? It's actually interesting with Intel CPUs because of the LGA 1151 Landgreen array, but with a lefty one, it's actually the number of pins itself. So there are 1151-pin processors out today that have well over 2000 pins. So this is not as big as it gets. It gets a lot bigger. Now, the actual exam itself is not going to be quizzing you on all these different types of sockets, but I would like to bring up four different sockets that you might see on the exam. Let's look at those on the Intel side.
There are two in particular I want you to be aware of. Number one is LGA 1151. LGA 1151 is a Morning Stream type of socket. As a result, we'll see a lot of mid-range CPUs move into the enthusiast market. Second is LGA 66; LGA 2066 is very popular in the enthusiast world. Higher NPUs are very high end.Intel I-9 processors will use this particular type of socket. on the AMD side. It's really down to only two types of sockets these days. Number one is the famous socket Am 04:00 a.m. Four times more powerful, almost neck and neck with LGA 1151 in mainstream, slightly more powerful in enthusiast. Tr 4 is today's big groovy one. Four is used on enthusiasts' and high-end workstations today. So it's really important to me that you take some time and understand that just because you have a particular type of view, it may not have a unique type of socket. One micro-architecture can span them using the exact same socket, and you can even go in the opposite direction. So you need to be very good with this. So when you take a look at sockets like this, in fact, I didn't want to throw one in here. These types of sockets have been around for a long, long time. This right here is about a 20-year-old socket. And this is just another example where, just by looking at it, I can tell it's a PG socket. So sockets have been around for a long, long time. When it comes to sockets, make sure you're comfortable with the microarchitecture and some of the family names. And also, when you're buying a CPU, make sure you get the right socket. Not to say that I've ever done it, but it can be a little bit embarrassing to return a CPU because you used the wrong socket.
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