20: Computer Hardware
For details about this course follow the
hardware unit is one unit that counts towards a BTEC National award and
involves 17 lessons taken over the one semester.
This unit outlines the basic hardware of a computer. The unit
gives learners the ability and confidence
to build and upgrade PCs and to rectify simple faults. Most of the classroom
activities will be practical workshops but there will also be research based
Summary of Learning
achieve this unit a learner must:-
basic computer architecture
and the functions
and re-assemble a microcomputer
system, including the base
CMOS and system boards
to match CPUs and peripheral devices
and maintain a microcomputer system.
How will I be assessed?
This unit is internally
assessed and will be by means of
four assignments, a series of class activities
and quizzes and a
assignments are designed to cover all aspects of the grading criteria (see the
table below) apart from practical work that must be carried out in the
class activities are designed to cover the practical parts of the grading
criteria. This means that you should attend all classes unless you have
a VALID reason for not attending. In this case arrangements will be made
for covering the missed activity.
will I be graded?
In order to pass this unit, the evidence that the learner
presents for assessment needs to demonstrate that they can meet all of the
learning outcomes for the unit. The
criteria for a pass grade describe the minimum level of achievement required to
pass this unit.
The table below shows
the grading criteria. A printer
friendly version is available that details
how the assignments or classroom activities provide the student evidence
opportunities for each grading criteria.
achieve each outcome the student must demonstrate the ability to:
Investigate basic computer architecture and function of
demonstrate a basic knowledge of binary and hexadecimal numbers
describe basic logic functions
draw a block diagram of a simple CPU
draw a block
diagram of a basic computer including
DMA IRQ and I/O controllers
Dismantle and re-assemble a microcomputer system
computer system into its constituent parts
recognise the shape
and pin numbering of various
understanding of the variety of plugs
and sockets on a PC case and the range of peripheral
connector with the appropriate peripheral
Dismantle and re-assemble a microcomputer base unit
define & recognise different form factors
differentiate between various bus slots
describe memory devices and install RAM
configure and install backing store devices
install multimedia devices and drivers
monitor operation in terms of resolution,
refresh rates and bandwidth
install and configure printers.
Configure CMOS and system boards to match CPU's and
configure CMOS set
up for a variety of BIOS manufacturers
selection process and configuration of
a system board for a
range of CPUs
Install and use modern operating systems
contrast the functions of different types of operating systems, e.g.
Windows 95 and 98 and Windows NT
install, use and customise an operating system
Troubleshoot & maintain a microcomputer system
understanding of those aspects of
the Health and Safety at Work Act as it applies
to computer users
working practice and an awareness
specify the process
of the post and its limitations
use diagnostic tools to rectify simple faults in a microcomputer system
use disk tools to correctly organise disks.
areas of computer hardware this unit will cover are...
and the functions of devices
Basic system block diagrams including CPU, ROM, RAM, I/O,
system, base unit
serial and parallel ports, PS/2 and serial mice, keyboard connectors, COM1 and
COM2, LPT1, graphics ports, modem, network, joystick, sound
3 Microcomputer base unit
boards: e.g. Socket 7/Socket 370 Slot 1/A; form factors
CPU, e.g. AMD, Cyrix, IDT,
Bus system, e.g.
Chip sets, e.g. LX, BX
ROM, CMOS, cache, EDORAM, SDRAM, SIMMs, DIMMs, virtual
Expansion cards, e.g. graphics, sound, modem, network
Backing store, e.g. hard disks, floppy, optical, zip,
tape, CDR/W, DVD-ROM
refresh rates, bandwidth
dot matrix, ink jet, laser
and system boards
settings for bus and CPU speeds, voltage ratings, etc, system board manuals
System board configuration
CMOS set up:
configuration for system
install operating system, e.g. Windows (modern version), Linux, etc.
safe and correct working practice, Health and Safety at Work Act, etc.
Electro Static Discharge (ESD) precautions
observation of Power On Self Test (POST) sequence, use of hardware and
system tools, disk management
All the best for the course!!