Monthly Archives: May 2017

Learn about computer hardware

This was the way I learned about computer hardware. In Sydney, Australia where I live we have a council cleanup. During this time, everyone puts out rubbish and their junk onto the side of the road for the council to pick up on a certain date. Included in this rubbish were computers, lots of computers. So when this council cleanup was in my area, I would jump on my bike (often with some of my brothers) and ride around looking at the junk piles.

I started to collect computers and have a look inside them. I was really interested in how these complicated machines worked. Then I started to fiddle with some of the components and learn what each one did. I wanted to upgrade my computer so I tried adding a hard drive. I didn’t know how so I searched Google or got a book from the library.

After successfully doing this, I thought that my CPU (central processing unit) was a bit slow, so I tried to change that. Now this was my embarrassing moment and one that I look back on and laugh. Now in my family we have many computers. Mum had just bought a new computer so I received her last one. She hadn’t taken any information of it yet, so she didn’t want it to break. Well her computer that she gave me had an AMD, 700MHz chip and I found in my searching through junk, an Intel 1GHz Pentium III.

I didn’t really understand computer hardware so I thought that you could just swap any CPU. So I took Mum’s AMD chip out and then tried to squeeze my Pentium III chip in its place. Of course it didn’t fit, since an Intel chip can’t go in an AMD motherboard. However, this didn’t stop me. I started to bend the pins on the Intel chip so that it would fit in the AMD motherboard and eventually it did. I turned it on and then smelt something burning and then I saw something burning.

I had completely blown up everything in the computer. My mum wasn’t happy as she lost her information and my computer (my first computer) didn’t work anymore. What a learning experience!

How to Update Computer BIOS with Easy

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System, and it is typically a software that is embedded on the motherboard of a system. It controls the hardware such as disk drives, keyboard, mouse, display settings, pen drive etc., that are attached to it, and sends the information to the Operating System (OS) of a computer. Motherboard is the center of coordination in a computer that unites the hardware of the system and enables communication between each other. Any upgrades that are required in a computer depends on the type of the motherboard and its inbuilt features.

What is Computer’s BIOS?

The computer’s BIOS is basically an EEPROM, which stands for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory. EEPROM is a non-volatile memory which means that, the information which is stored can be retained later even when it is not powered. EEPROM can be modified by the user, and can be erased and reprogrammed. Most of its components are not serviceable, as it is soldered to the motherboard. The firmware i.e., the coded instruction in the BIOS can be updated or upgraded. In modern computers, it is inbuilt on a chip called CMOS, which stands for ‘complementary metal oxide semiconductor’. The common type of EEPROM is flash memory which is electrically erasable, that exists in CMOS chips. Such type of CMOS chips can be updated to a newer version. Most of the Intel Core Pentium computers and 486 PCs use CMOS chips, which can be easily updated.

Updating BIOS of Your Computer

Step #1: This is a very important step which you must know. You cannot decide on which type of update you want. Look for your system information on your computer and note the BIOS version number. There are two ways to find its version.

  1. From the system information screen of your computer, the route to view this screen is: Start → Programs → Accessories → System Tools → System Information.
  2. One way is through the command prompt. Enter the command systeminfo on the run box or on the box that appears after you click on the start button.

There are various companies that manufacture the computer’s motherboard. Some of the leading motherboard companies are listed below:

  • Acer
  • Abit
  • Albatron
  • AOpen
  • Biostar
  • DFI
  • Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS)
  • First International Computer (FIC)
  • EVGA
  • Foxconn
  • Gigabyte
  • MSI
  • Intel
  • Zotac
  • Supermicro
  • Tyan

Step #2: After identifying the motherboard information and your computer’s BIOS version, go to the motherboard manufacturer’s site and check out for the BIOS update files and download the correct update file. USB thumb drives containing the required files, can also be used instead of downloading files from the Internet. For example, we will take Intel desktops, in which we have various update files such as:

  • Express BIOS
  • F7 BIOS Flash
  • iFlash BIOS
  • ISO Image BIOS
  • Recovery BIOS
  • Integrator Toolkit BIOS

Step #3: After downloading the required BIOS files, reboot the system and check whether the files are uploaded properly. Some systems automatically reboot after the download, and if your system doesn’t reboot by itself, it is advisable to restart it yourself.

  • Identify the right BIOS version number. If you are not able to find it by yourself, ask for help or directly contact the motherboard manufacturer.
  • Choose the correct BIOS update file from the motherboard manufacturer’s site.
  • If you are downloading the BIOS update file from the CD provided by your motherboard manufacturer, ensure that it is not an outdated version.
  • Properly understand the instructions given in the manufacturer’s site, before you start downloading the BIOS update files.
  • Do the update where there is an uninterrupted power supply in order to avoid failure in the updating process.

Update you computer’s BIOS only if it is necessary. It is advisable to upgrade the files using USB rather than doing it online from the Internet. By doing this, you can minimize the risk.

How to Upgrade Graphics Card

The graphics card is also known as video card, graphic controller, graphics accelerator or display card. It is a PCB (printed circuit board) that has three major components. These components are video memory, video BIOS, and graphics processing unit.

The graphics card should be changed if it gives a poor performance or if you want more speed options for the computer games. In the first case, you need to verify that it is the reason for the poor performance and not the computer. To do this, use the scan disk or defragmentation options and look for bad sectors on the hard disk. You can also try using other ways to speedup your computer. If they do not work, you can conclude that the lowered performance is due to the faulty working of the card. Once it has been established that the graphics card is responsible for the low speed, you should upgrade it.

Some video cards are integrated in the motherboard and some are externally connected to the computer. Older versions of motherboards used a PCI (peripheral computer Interconnect) slot in order to plug-in the video card. Newer versions of computers use the accelerated graphics port (AGP). The latest version of computers use the PCIexpress, which has a speed twice of the AGP slots.

The task of upgrading the graphics card in your desktop computer, involves finding out the type of slot in your computer motherboard. If your computer system is relatively quite old, then it is likely that it has a PCI slot. In this case, you have to upgrade related hardware in your computer system, as well. This is because, nowadays, graphic cards compatible only with PCIexpress are available. Additionally, they also render high-speed outputs.

The power supply required for a graphics card should also be considered before buying one. The power supply or wattage of the computer must be checked. The power supply ratings range from 350-500W. Also, the available computer RAM must be taken into consideration. Minimum RAM of 512 MB is required. Once all these steps are done, you can buy a new video card. Make sure that you compare all the options available in the market, and choose the one that best suits your needs.

To remove the older one and upgrade the computer hardware to a new video card, follow the steps given below:

  • If you already have a graphics card, un-install the drivers of the same. Download the drivers of the new one that you’ve purchased and store them on your computer system.
  • Remove the overclocks, usually set to increase the performance of your computer by increasing the clock rate. Set the computer system to its original specifications and turn it off.
  • The power cord should be unplugged. Open the cabinet and search for your PCIexpress slot. The PCIexpress slot has a locking clip, which is used to mount the card. Remove the older card and mount the newer one. Store the older card in an anti-static bag, as you can use it as a back-up.
  • The computer system can then be switched on, after carefully placing the graphics card in its slot. Start your computer and install the drivers which were downloaded earlier. This ends the up-gradation process and you can start playing games.

The graphics card is basically used to ensure performance, drive a digital screen, and support dual screens for playing games.

Ways Computers Work

So how do computers work?

Have you ever just looked at a computer and go “how does that work”?  If you think about it, computers are quite amazing.  You press a few buttons and you can talk to your friend over the other side of the world, you can learn anything you want on the internet, you can listen to music, watch TV, write stories, make videos and do much much more.

The more you think about it the more amazing it is and the more crazy it is that a bunch of computer bits can do this.  So how do computers work?

Well I will try and answer this the best that I can.  Basically a computer can consist of two broad categories, hardware and software and the way a computer works is between these two working together. I will oultine them both briefly below.

Computer Hardware

If you have been reading any of this website, then you probably already understand what computer hardware is, because that is what this website is about. Like seriously, www.computer-hardware-explained.com

So briefly: computer hardware is the physical computer that you actually see, this includes: the computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers etc.  Inside the computer is more hardware, such as the hard drive, CPU (central processing unit), motherboard, RAM (random access memory) and more.