Chapter 1. Inside Your PC

It took them a decade , but computer engineers finally realized people don't enjoy opening a computer case to add new parts . The engineers tweaked the design, and now, unlike your computing forefathers, you don't need to reach for the screwdriver to install a new mouseyou simply plug its cable into a convenient outlet on your PC's case.

But although today's mice, keyboards, printers, scanners , monitors , and scores of other parts slip into a convenient jack, a few parts still hide inside the case. Some contain fragile circuitry that could be damaged by fumbling fingers. Others stay hidden simply because they rarely need replacing.

Today, you need to open your PC only when performing these occasional tasks :

  • Adding or replacing memory if your PC runs too slowly (usually noticeable when you have several programs open simultaneously ).

  • Adding cards to your PC to give it new abilitiesa FireWire port required by a digital camcorder, for instance.

  • Replacing the power supply if your PC refuses to turn on.

  • Changing the battery when your PC begins forgetting the time and date.

  • Identifying parts that are causing problems.

This chapter gives you an introduction to your PC's case and the parts that call it homethe motherboard (Section 1.4), memory chips (Section 1.6), slots (Section 1.7.1), cards (Section 1.7), and power supply (Section 1.9). This introduction tells you what these parts do, when you need to find them, and, if necessary, how to repair or replace them.

Along the way, you'll learn how to look up your PC's computing "horsepower," a handy thing to know when puzzling over the System Requirements list on every software box. Finally, this chapter identifies all the connectors on the outside of your PC's case, what plugs into them, and what to do if a cable doesn't fit.

Note: If you're a laptop owner, you're in luck: everything in this chapter applies to both laptops and PCs. "Laptop Life" boxes explain any differences on how to deal with them.

PCs: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596100930
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 206
Authors: Andy Rathbone

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