PC Hardware

Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • Expansion buses provide a way of connecting devices to the motherboard.

  • ISA architecture could accommodate both 8-bit and 16-bit expansion cards.

  • MCA was a proprietary architecture for IBM's PS/2 computers.

  • EISA 32-bit architecture could accommodate older ISA expansion cards.

  • VLB employed burst mode and bus mastering to boost performance.

  • PCI architecture makes use of autoconfiguration to let the PC's BIOS assign the IRQ linking the card to the system bus.

  • AGP architecture removes display data traffic from the PCI bus.

  • USB architecture supports both isochronous (time-dependent) and asynchronous (intermittent) data transfers.

  • Expansion buses have changed to keep up with increases in processor speed.

  • A computer technician must know how to identify the various expansion buses (ISA, MCA, EISA, PCI, AGP, and USB) to ensure compatibility and know how to maximize performance when upgrading a computer.

Lesson 2: Configuring Expansion Cards

In the previous lesson, we discussed the different kinds of expansion buses. The purpose of these buses is to accept expansion cards. Internal and external computer hardware, such as disk drives and monitors, can be connected to the computer's motherboard by means of these expansion cards. As we learned in earlier lessons, the expansion buses connect to an external data bus. All devices are connected to the same communication bus. In this lesson, we look at how the computer keeps track of each device and controls the flow of data.

After this lesson, you will be able to:
  • Define addresses.

  • Describe the attributes and limitations of an IRQ.

  • Identify the causes of conflicts within a computer.

  • Locate and resolve hardware conflicts.

Estimated lesson time: 30 minutes