A+ Core Hardware Exam

The A+ Hardware Exam is a certification exam for hardware in computing.

Below is a summary of the 2003 A+ Hardware Exam objectives:

Test Core Hardware Exam

Domain 1 Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading

1.1 Identify the names, purpose, and characteristics, of system modules. Recognize these modules by sight or definition.

Examples of concepts and modules are:

* Motherboard
* Firmware
* Power supply
* Processor /CPU
* Memory
* Storage devices
* Display devices
* Adapter cards
* Ports
* Cases
* Riser cards

1.2 Identify basic procedures for adding and removing field-replaceable modules for desktop systems. Given a replacement scenario, choose the appropriate sequences.Desktop components:

* Motherboard
* Storage device
* FDD
* HDD
* CD/CDRW
* DVD/DVDRW
* Tape drive
* Removable storage
* Power supply
* AC adapter
* AT/ATX
* Cooling systems
* Fans
* Heat sinks
* Liquid cooling
* Processor /CPU
* Memory
* Display device
* Input devices
* Keyboard
* Mouse/pointer devices
* Touch screen
* Adapters
* Network Interface Card (NIC)
* Sound card
* Video card
* Modem
* SCSI
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* USB
* Wireless

1.3 Identify basic procedures for adding and removing field-replaceable modules for portable systems. Given a replacement scenario, choose the appropriate sequences.Portable components:

* Storage devices
* FDD
* HDD
* CD/CDRW
* DVD/DVDRW
* Removable storage
* Power sources
* AC adapter
* DC adapter
* Battery
* Memory
* Input devices
* Keyboard
* Mouse/pointer devices
* Touch screen
* PCMCIA/Mini PCI Adapters
* Network Interface Card (NIC)
* Modem
* SCSI
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* USB
* Storage (memory and hard drive)
* Docking station/port replicators
* LCD panel
* Wireless
* Adapter/controller
* Antennae

1.4 Identify typical IRQs, DMAs, and I/O addresses, and procedures for altering these settings when installing and configuring devices. Choose the appropriate installation or configuration steps in a given scenario.Content may include the following:

* Legacy devices (e.g., ISA sound card)
* Specialized devices (e.g., CAD/CAM)
* Internal modems
* Floppy drive controllers
* Hard drive controllers
* Multimedia devices
* NICs
* I/O ports
* Serial
* Parallel
* USB ports
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* Infrared port

1.5 Identify the names, purposes, and performance characteristics, of standardized/common peripheral ports, associated cabling, and their connectors. Recognize ports, cabling, and connectors, by sight.Content may include the following:

* Port types
* Serial port
* Parallel port
* USB ports
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* Infrared
* Cable types
* Serial (Straight through vs. null modem)
* Parallel
* USB
* Connector types
* Serial
**DE-9
**DB-25
**modular connector, 6 and 8 position. May be misnamed RJ11 and RJ45
* Parallel
**Centronics (mini, 36)
* PS2/MINI-DIN
* USB

1.6 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring common IDE devices. Choose the appropriate installation or configuration sequences in given scenarios. Recognize the associated cables.Content may include the following:

* IDE Interface Types
* EIDE
* ATA/ATAPI
* Serial ATA
* PIO
* RAID (0, 1 and 5)
* Master/Slave/cable select
* Devices per channel
* Primary/Secondary
* Cable orientation/requirements

1.7 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring common SCSI devices. Choose the appropriate installation or configuration sequences in given scenarios. Recognize the associated cables.Content may include the following:

* SCSI Interface Types
** Narrow
** Fast
** Wide
** Ultra-wide
* LVD
* HVD
* Internal versus external
* SCSI IDs
* Jumper block/DIP switch settings (binary equivalents)
* Resolving ID conflicts
* RAID (0, 1 and 5)
* Cabling
** Length
** Type
* Termination requirements (active, passive, auto)

1.8 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring common peripheral devices. Choose the appropriate installation or configuration sequences in given scenarios.Content may include the following:

* Modems and transceivers (dial-up, cable, DSL, ISDN)
* External storage
* Digital cameras
* PDAs
* Wireless access points
* Infrared devices
* Printers
* UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and suppressors
* Monitors

1.9 Identify procedures to optimize PC operations in specific situations. Predict the effects of specific procedures under given scenarios.Topics may include:

* Cooling systems
* Liquid
* Air
* Heat sink
* Thermal compound
* Disk subsystem enhancements
* Hard drives
* Controller cards (e.g., RAID, ATA-100, etc.)
* Cables
* NICs
* Specialized video cards
* Memory
* Additional processors

1.10 Determine the issues that must be considered when upgrading a PC. In a given scenario, determine when and how to upgrade system components.Issues may include:

* Drivers for legacy devices
* Bus types and characteristics
* Cache in relationship to motherboards
* Memory capacity and characteristics
* Processor speed and compatibility
* Hard drive capacity and characteristics
* System/firmware limitations
* Power supply output capacity

Components may include the following:
* Motherboards
* Memory
* Hard drives
* CPU
* BIOS
* Adapter cards
* Laptop power sources
* Lithium ion
* NiMH
* Fuel cell
* PCMCIA Type I, II, III cards

Domain 2 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

2.1 Recognize common problems associated with each module and their symptoms, and identify steps to isolate and troubleshoot the problems. Given a problem situation, interpret the symptoms and infer the most likely cause.Content may include the following:

* I/O ports and cables
* Serial
* Parallel
* USB ports
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* Infrared
* SCSI
* Motherboards
* CMOS/ BIOS settings
* POST audible/visual error codes
* Peripherals
* Computer case
* Power supply
* Slot covers
* Front cover alignment
* Storage devices and cables
* FDD
* HDD
* CD/CDRW
* DVD/DVDRW
* Tape drive
* Removable storage
* Cooling systems
* Fans
* Heat sinks
* Liquid cooling
* Temperature sensors
* Processor /CPU
* Memory
* Display device
* Input devices
* Keyboard
* Mouse/pointer devices
* Touch screen
* Adapters
* Network Interface Card (NIC)
* Sound card
* Video card
* Modem
* SCSI
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* USB
* Portable Systems
* PCMCIA
* Batteries
* Docking Stations/Port Replicators
* Portable unique storage

2.2 Identify basic troubleshooting procedures and tools, and how to elicit problem symptoms from customers. Justify asking particular questions in a given scenario.Content may include the following:

* Troubleshooting/isolation/problem determination procedures
* Determining whether a hardware or software problem
* Gathering information from user
* Customer Environment
* Symptoms/Error Codes
* Situation when the problem occurred

Domain 3 PC Preventive Maintenance, Safety, and Environmental Issues

3.1 Identify the various types of preventive maintenance measures, products and procedures and when and how to use them.Content may include the following:

* Liquid cleaning compounds
* Types of materials to clean contacts and connections
* Non-static vacuums (chassis, power supplies, fans)
* Cleaning monitors
* Cleaning removable media devices
* Ventilation, dust and moisture control on the PC hardware interior.
* Hard disk maintenance (defragging, scan disk, CHKDSK)
* Verifying UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and suppressors

3.2 Identify various safety measures and procedures, and when/how to use them.Content may include the following:

* ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) precautions and procedures
* What ESD can do, how it may be apparent, or hidden
* Common ESD protection devices
* Situations that could present a danger or hazard
* Potential hazards and proper safety procedures relating to
* High-voltage equipment
* Power supply
* CRTs

3.3 Identify environmental protection measures and procedures, and when/how to use them.Content may include the following:

* Special disposal procedures that comply with environmental guidelines.
* Batteries
* CRTs
* Chemical solvents and cans
* MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)

Domain 4 Motherboard/Processors/Memory

4.1 Distinguish between the popular CPU chips in terms of their basic characteristics.Content may include the following:

* Popular CPU chips (Pentium class compatible)
* Voltage
* Speeds (actual vs. advertised)
* Cache level I, II, III
* Sockets/slots
* VRM(s)

4.2 Identify the types of RAM (Random Access Memory), form factors, and operational characteristics. Determine banking and speed requirements under given scenarios.Content may include the following:

* Types
* EDO RAM (Extended Data Output RAM)
* DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory)
* SRAM (Static RAM)
* VRAM (Video RAM)
* SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM)
* DDR (Double Data Rate)
* RAMBUS
* Form factors (including pin count)
* SIMM (Single In-line Memory Module)
* DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module)
* SO-DIMM (Small outline DIMM)
* MicroDIMM
* RIMM (Rambus Inline Memory Module)
* Operational characteristics
* Memory chips (8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit)
* Parity chips versus non-parity chips
* ECC vs. non-ECC
* Single-sided vs. double sided

4.3 Identify the most popular types of motherboards, their components, and their architecture (bus structures).Content may include the following:

* Types of motherboards:
* AT
* ATX
* Components:
* Communication ports
* Serial
* USB
* Parallel
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* Infrared
* Memory
* SIMM
* DIMM
* RIMM
* SoDIMM
* MicroDIMM
* Processor sockets
* Slot 1
* Slot 2
* Slot A
* Socket A
* Socket 7
* Socket 8
* Socket 423
* Socket 478
* Socket 370
* External cache memory (Level 2)
* Bus Architecture
* ISA
* PCI
* PCI 32-bit
* PCI 64-bit
* AGP
* 2X
* 4X
* 8X (Pro)
* USB (Universal Serial Bus)
* AMR (audio modem riser) slots
* CNR (communication network riser) slots
* Basic compatibility guidelines
* IDE (ATA, ATAPI, ULTRA-DMA, EIDE)
* SCSI (Narrow, Wide, Fast, Ultra, HVD, LVD(Low Voltage Differential))
* Chipsets

4.4 Identify the purpose of CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) memory, what it contains, and how and when to change its parameters. Given a scenario involving CMOS, choosethe appropriate course of action.CMOS Settings:

* Default settings
* CPU settings
* Printer parallel port—Uni., bi-directional, disable/enable, ECP, EPP
* COM/serial port—memory address, interrupt request, disable
* Floppy drive—enable/disable drive or boot, speed, density
* Hard drive—size and drive type
* Memory—speed, parity, non-parity
* Boot sequence
* Date/Time
* Passwords
* Plug & Play BIOS
* Disabling on-board devices
* Disabling virus protection
* Power management
* Infrared

Domain 5 Printers

5.1 Identify printer technologies, interfaces, and options/upgrades.Technologies include:

* Laser printer
* Ink Dispersion
* Dot matrix
* Solid ink
* Thermal transfer printer
* Dye sublimation

Interfaces include:

* Parallel
* Network
* SCSI
* USB
* Infrared
* Serial
* IEEE 1394/Firewire
* Wireless

Options/Upgrades include:

* Memory
* Hard drives
* NICs
* Trays and feeders
* Finishers (e.g., stapling, etc.)
* Scanners/fax/copier

5.2 Recognize common printer problems and techniques used to resolve them.Content may include the following:

* Printer drivers
* Firmware updates
* Paper feed and output
* Calibrations
* Printing test pages
* Errors (printed or displayed)
* Memory
* Configuration
* Network connections
* Connections
* Paper jam
* Print quality
* Safety precautions
* Preventive maintenance
* Consumables
* Environment

Domain 6 Basic Networking

6.1 Identify the common types of network cables, their characteristics and connectors.Cable types include:

* Coaxial
* RG6
* RG8
* RG58
* RG59
* Plenum/PVC
* UTP
* CAT3
* CAT5/e
* CAT6
* STP
* Fiber optic
* Single-mode
* Multi-mode

Connector types include:

* BNC
* RJ-45
* AUI
* ST/SC
* IDC/UDC

6.2 Identify basic networking concepts including how a network works.Concepts include:

* Installing and configuring network cards
* Addressing
* Bandwidth
* Status indicators
* Protocols
* TCP/IP
* IPX/SPX (NWLINK)
* AppleTalk
* NBF/NETBIOS
* Full-duplex, half-duplex
* Cabling—Twisted Pair, Coaxial, Fiber Optic, RS-232
* Networking models
* Peer-to-peer
* Client/server
* Infrared
* Wireless

6.3 Identify common technologies available for establishing Internet connectivity and their characteristics.Technologies include:

* LAN
* DSL
* Cable
* ISDN
* Dial-up
* Satellite
* Wireless

Characteristic include:

* Definition
* Speed
* Connections

ee also

* A+ Core Operating System Technologies Exam

External links

* [http://www.comptia.org/certification/a/2003_aplus_core_hardware_objectives.pdf CompTIA A+ 2003 Upgrade Core Hardware Exam Objectives] - PDF file

* [http://www.RMRoberts.com/ CompTIA A+ Study Guides and Practice Tests for Free.]


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