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Windows 7: learn hardware

01 Jul 2013   #11
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PSCO2007 View Post

You can also go to Youtube and see videos on everything computer related.
Just remember to use common sense with YouTube - there's a lot of misinformation there, ranging from uninformed misguided amateurs to out and out con men. If you need proof - type 'free energy' into the YouTube search box to see the nutters at play.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #12

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1

So heat sinks are just like... Idk. Don't they have a thermal paste?
Radiators? And, yes they use thermal paste.

Even though you may think the processor and heat-sink are touching, if you could microscopically look at the contact areas of the two you would see voids between the two. The thermal paste corrects this situation. See: Thermal Interface Materials

Even your body has a heat-sink, its called your skin, the largest organ your body has.
To understand what happens, I'll use the analogy of your car. When your car's cooling system is running smoothly, excess heat from the engine is transferred to the water in the tubes, which goes to the radiator to be cooled by the air. The cooled water goes back to be heated once again by heat drawn from the engine. If there is not enough water in the system to allow for proper heat dissipation, your engine overheats, your car stops running, and you are left cursing at the side of the road.

Now picture your body as the car-- your muscles are the engine, your skin is the radiator and your blood vessels are the water tubes that connect the engine with the radiator. When your cooling system is running smoothly, excess heat from your muscles is drawn into your blood vessels where is circulates to your skin. Evaporating sweat draws heat away from the blood vessels. The cooler blood then recirculates throughout the body, lowering body temperature.

Source: Sweating -- Your Body's Cooling System
~~~ ~~~~ ~~~

swap, is the same as pagefile, or virtual memory?
In a manner of speaking, yes.
The definitions have been lumped together over the years until they have become synonymous, but. There are subtle differences: What is swap file?

Virtual memory combines your computer’s RAM with temporary space on your hard disk. When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file. Moving data to and from the paging file frees up RAM to complete its work.

What is virtual memory?
So, Swap and or Page Files are just a temporary file of the operating system, combine this with the physical ram in the machine, and you have Virtual memory.
Some definitions need to be explained:
Physical RAM ~ The amount of Memory (RAM) installed on a system. Physical RAM is “way” faster than a “paging file.”

Paging File ~ The file that is located on your hard drive that “acts” like Physical RAM but is way slower.

Virtual Memory ~ The name used for the sum of Physical RAM and the Paging File. In other words: Physical RAM + Paging File = Virtual Memory. You cannot “disable” Virtual Memory even if you disable the Paging File. Meaning, 2 GB RAM + 0 MB Paging File = 2 GB Virtual Memory.

Source, #3 Page File:
If over time your machine becomes sluggish, the easiest thing to do is a re-start, that should reset your swap/pagefile and allow your ram to work better to run the virtual memory.

Virtual memory/ PageFile/ Swap Space -- what,s this all about? - Wilders Security Forums
How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
Go to "Explore These Categories" HowStuffWorks "Computer"

From your earlier post:
Okay well 1st... Whats safe to touch and not touch? And what is fragile inside?
Installing RAM and the Microprocessor

But before we start building, we need to say one thing about static electricity. Most of the parts you'll be handling when you assemble your computer are highly sensitive to static shocks. If you build up static electricity on your body and a shock passes from your body to something like a CPU chip, that CPU chip is dead. You'll have to buy another one.

The way you eliminate static electricity is by grounding yourself. There are lots of ways to ground yourself, but probably the easiest is to wear a grounding bracelet on your wrist. Then you connect the bracelet to something grounded (like a copper pipe or the center screw on a wall outlet's face plate). By connecting yourself to ground, you eliminate the possibility of static shock.

Source: HowStuffWorks "Installing RAM and the Microprocessor"
Here's a tip; If you do not understand any word or phrase on the internet, highlight that word or phrase and right click while on the highlight.

Depending on your search engine, you should see an entry like search with Bing, google, etc. in the context menu and click on that. The list can be endless: and that just scratches the surface, take a look at this one: Find search engines from across the world - Search Engine Colossus

Just be careful which ones you use, does your browser have a warning page pop-up if you go to a bad site?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #13


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Skylais View Post
Right, hehe he always says not too touch it even if its not on just to be safe. Said once he did accidentally with a screwdriver and it blew up thru him across the homeowners yard and he hit the fence seeing stars. This guys like heavy too. So yea. Hmm i like googling but its better like this cuz u guys often describe it more specifically and i can remember better. Hmm. So heat sinks are just like... Idk. Don't they have a thermal paste? Like SI or something?
Also this is software based but swap, is the same as pagefile, or virtual memory?
I don't know what "SI" is, but a heatsink increases the surface area of the CPU's IHS, which stands for Integrated Heatspreader. Look at pictures of AMD and Intel CPUs and you'll notice that the top is all metal: that's the IHS. So, a heatsink must be installed very firmly, tightened down very hard and of course there needs to be a layer of Thermal Interface Material between ("TIM" for short, but also known as thermal paste, thermal grease, or thermal compound). As mentioned, the surfaces are not perfect, and that's one of the reasons thermal paste is needed. It helps make up for those imperfections in order to help transfer the heat from the IHS to the heatsink.

Then of course you usually need a fan on the heatsink to speed up heat dissipation. This is also where case fans come in: they help dissipate that dissipated heat in order to help avoid heat build-up inside. Imagine yourself exercising in a small bedroom (a computer case) with the door and the window closed: it's hot inside because you've been exercising (CPU load) and of course you're also hot due to exercising. Obviously, it doesn't help that the air isn't moving either. So naturally, the first thing you want is to have a fan blowing on you ("active cooling" such as a heatsink with a fan on it - as mentioned, your skin is your heatsink). That's first. After that, you will also want to get rid of that heat, so you need to open the door and the window and you'll also want a fan blowing air in through the door (intake fan) and another in the window blowing out (exhaust fan). Naturally, you're going to feel significantly better in a matter of seconds. Hell, even if you don't have a fan on you (passive cooling), then you're still going to feel better because of the intake and exhaust fans, but it will just take longer. So, without a fan blowing on you, you would want to take it easy (no overclocking allowed without a fan on a heatsink, but some heatsinks are so huge and good at cooling that they don't need a fan for mild overclocking).

Naturally, the cooler the air is outside of your room, the better! Although, this is where my analogy falls apart because for us, the more humid the air is, the more uncomfortable it is. So, let's just pretend we're talking about very comfortable dry air: the cooler, the better. The warmer it is, the slower you're gonna want to move so that you don't overheat.


So thermal paste is kind of where cooling begins, if you don't count the CPU's IHS.

To take this a little further to increase understanding, some heatsinks come with thermal paste pre-applied (the cheaper heatsinks), and others (better ones) come with a pre-filled applicator (stock paste) that's essentially a small syringe. You can also buy aftermarket thermal paste, but they're not all the same. Some are much better than others, and some even require a break-in period ("burn-in period") where they reach their maximum effectiveness after being heated up a few times. I guess you could think of it as needing to "cook" it before it's truly ready even though you can still use it raw - it's just not as good until it has been cooked. Fortunately, most thermal pastes don't need that.

AMD's and Intel's stock heatinks come with thermal paste pre-applied. I haven't seen AMD's yet, but I have seen Intel's, and the way they pre-apply it makes it look like there are 3 gray pads on the base of the heatsink. Here's an image I found:

Judging from first part of the name of the image, "intelC2Dstock", I can tell that this is from an Intel Core2 Duo CPU (older, roughly 2007-2008-2009, socket 775) They're still applying the thermal paste like this on even their current stock heatsinks which still look like this for the most part. I mean, they're different, but still essentially the same. Here's one for socket 1155, which was the most recent up until a couple of months ago:

It's quite different, yet it's not. Go Intel! :) lol I was hoping by now that they'd have done a nice overhaul and come up with something nicer - but it functions and that's what matters.

Now they're on socket 1150.

These numbers for the socket type refer to how many physical contacts there are for the CPU. So if you were to sit there counting them all (either on the CPU or in the CPU socket), then you'd count 775, or 1366, or 1156, or 1155, or 1150 physical contact points (these are the sockets in chronological order - 1156 was relatively short-lived). Some people refer to these as "pins". So if you ever see someone talking about bent pins in a CPU socket (Intel) or bent pins on a CPU (AMD), this is what they're talking about.

As you might have guessed, I don't know AMD's side of things very well.

Of course, this leads to the question, "What does LGA" mean? I mean, you see "LGA 775", "LGA 1366", etc. etc. It stands for Land Grid Array. Of course, explaining this will make me want to explain some more things, so I'll try to stop right here. :) Except, there's also "BGA", which stands for Ball Grid Array. These are CPUs that are soldered to the motherboard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Jul 2013   #14

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

LGA actually stands for Land Grid Array...

Quite a bit of material has been covered so my advice would be to not touch anything inside while the computer is powered up, or RECENTLY powered off. There should be an LED bulb somewhere on the motherboard that will go out when the power is drained. Then, some components are safe to touch/handle. Probably the most finicky component in your system that is easily accessible is the RAM modules.....even if you handle them correctly, there is still a chance of damage. As with any board that has a connector interface, such as sound cards, RAID cards, video cards......try to never touch those connectors.

If you want to learn about the internals of a PC, try to find someone who has an older one they want to give away and take it home. Look up the make and model and learn about what parts are in it, and how to disassemble it. If you tear it up, you still have parts to mess around with, no big deal.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #15


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kbrady1979 View Post
LGA actually stands for Land Grid Array...
I know. I think I just wore myself out.

Edit: I think I know what happened: I might have been thinking about Logical Block Address. Sigh. lol
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #16

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kbrady1979 View Post
LGA actually stands for Land Grid Array...
I know. I think I just wore myself out.

Edit: I think I know what happened: I might have been thinking about Logical Block Address. Sigh. lol
I figured that's what you were thinking of.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #17
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Their are many, many books on the subject. Their is also Google or Bing. Their is no way we can tell you all this in a thread.
A bit of Safety.
**A capacitor can store power for many years and if discharge through your body can Kill you. Their are capacitors in the power supply and on the motherboard. **

I'm not trying not to answer you question; I'm just trying to explain that it is a very large subject and one must invest a lot of time researching on the subject.
Basic electricity would be a good place to start.

Anak has posted How Stuff Works. Very good place to get understanding on many things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2013   #18


Skylais: are you looking for simple answers in layman's terms (or "plain English"), or are you looking for all of the specifics and details and whatnot? I mean, should we keep it simple like I'm trying to do, or are you looking for more than that?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #19

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Skylais: are you looking for simple answers in layman's terms (or "plain English"), or are you looking for all of the specifics and details and whatnot? I mean, should we keep it simple like I'm trying to do, or are you looking for more than that?
Hmm well i'm not extremely dumb, like i get whats inside of it but i don't get the details. Really. Like i'm unsure what bus speeds and all those things are, and things like ddr3vgddr5. Double data rate or something, and what exactly is a ram stick? Like what inside of it allows it to hold a memory, and those types of finer details but explained in basic. Like when i tried looking up something i got all these floating point numbers and crazy things i didn't understand.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #20

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

RAM sticks are these things. RAM stands for random access memory, and it's reason to be is being the "workspace" of the PC.
As any machine, the PC does not know what to do, and must follow a program, a list of instructions, procedures. Whatever you want to to, a program to do it is loaded into RAM and then you do what you want to do. Stuff in ram is constantly accessed and elaborated by the CPU for the PC to work.
Hard drives and even SSDs would be too damn slow to make it work at an acceptable pace as with their speed and latencies an average CPU will be pulling its thumbs 99% of the time. Try running XP with 64 Mb of RAM to understand how painful that is for the user.

Inside each of the black chips of a memory stick there is a tiny piece of silicon (they are integrated circuits after all, some good pics of them here), ascnd on its surface they etched a completely ridiculously huge amounts of microscopic capacitors. A capacitor is a device that can hold a charge for a relatively short amount of time and with some specific conditions but can change its state (charged/discharged) very rapidly as it does not have to convert energy back and forth from chemical to electrical like a battery.
Each of these capacitors can be in two states at any given time, charged or discharged. These two states are used to store information written in binary code (which is composed by 0 and 1).

RAM is generally divided by data transfer speed, which is how much data can send/receive to other devices that need to use RAM (like say the CPU). Then again by size.

In general, the higher the clock speed of the ram, the higher the transfer speed of the data (all other things equal).
That's generally true for most things in a computer, although the improvement is NOT geometric. That is doubling the frequency does not double the performance.

What is clock speed? it is a number in MHz (megaHertz, or millions of times per second) or GHz (GigaHertz, billions of times per second)
All electronic components are dumb. They don't know that time passes unless there is something that tells them, in this case the board's clock, which is an oscillator crystal, that gives an electric pulse every X time due to its own special properties (it's piezoelectric, that means it changes shape slightly when current is applied, this property is used to have it operate a switch that cuts off power to it, so it cuts the power, returns to its rest state, the circuit is closed again and current flows into it, which makes it change shape again, and rinse and repeat forever).
That's how quartz clocks work too.

So, each component receives this clock signal, and bases on it its own operation. For example it executes one cycle of instructions per clock signal.
You can have the devices run faster by having them run 10, 100 or 1000 cycles of instructions per clock signal.
Of course there is an upper limit to this as each cycle requires a very small but non-0 amount of time to be executed, but so far the main limitation is heat.
Of course, the more cycles per clock signal the more power is required and the more power is wasted as heat.

SDRAM, DDR, whatever, are names given to specific implementations of ram technology.
In general you can live just fine by knowing their relative performance (like speed increases by going DDR-->DDR2-->DDR3) and the possible interface kinds (DIMM for desktops, longer, and SO-DIMMs for laptops and portable stuff, that have more compact sizes). Here to see pics about the three kinds of DIMMs (DDR1, 2 and 3) and three kinds of SO-DIMMs (DDR1, 2 and 3).
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