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Microprocessors, Concepts & A Modern History - How Vital?

Discussion in 'A+' started by CliffG, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. CliffG

    CliffG Nibble Poster

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    Hi guys,

    Well, I got Mike Meyers book and started in earnest yesterday, and while I was sort of dreading it in a way, I can tell you that I am loving it. The book is so well written and it flows perfectly.

    The book makes the suggestion that it may be good (depending on level of experience & studious approach) to read the book all the way through, a bit like a novel, and then return to the beginning and read in text book mode. I'm doing it slightly differently, that I'm reading a whole chapter, (and I do mean properly read, not skip reading or anything, it's such a good read), then answering the questions at the end of the chapter, and then returning to the beginning of the chapter and making notes on each subject of what I feel is important, new concepts (to me) and on terminology, etc. What's more is that I feel it's working a treat, and I am learning things here.

    But I'm boring you with these details for a reason. I've just read 50 odd pages on the concepts of Microprocessors, and the modern history of the Pentium/AMD. You know, that 'man in the box' theory, and about the Extended Data Bus, Address Bus, then replacing that with FSB etc, and all the complexities that go with it. It was a thoughtly enjoyable read and on some level I did understand the concept behind it.
    However, it worries me that I'll be going back and having to re-read these 50 odd pages to really get it, to really understand everything about it all.

    My question really then, is how vital is this knowledge? As mentioned, I do on some level understand the concept, but do I need to know each and every variation of pentium, it's features (mmx, quad pipelines et all), and all the complexities of how the buses work, for an exam?

    If I do, then so be it, and i'll have to read it and read it until I do know the importance of each concept introduced.

    Thanks in advance (and sorry for the long post - hope I havn't bored you all silly).
     
    Certifications: A+
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  2. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Having never taken the A+ exam I can't really say how in depth your knowledge will need to be.

    What I will suggest though is that you are familliar with the concepts and at least know what the FSB does, what the Address bus is and does, etc, and how they all interlink.

    Being able to memorize facts about things is probably not necessary, knowing what the things do and why probably is, and it prepares you better for the real world where being able to state facts doesn't really help you much!

    8)
     
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    First - I think you are taking the correct approach to the book.

    As regards to detail, the items you mention *are* important in the real world. When you come to deal with real machines the FSB settings in the BIOS are important! And you also need that figure to determing the correct speed of memory. However, having said that, I don't believe you need to remember that such-and-such processor has a 200MHz FSB and 512K cache. These details can always be looked up.

    I don't remember getting such a question in my A+ exam, most of the questions in this area were rather more generic. However - just one exam experience doesn't define all the questions in the pool!

    Harry.
     
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  4. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Cliff,

    I remember thinking the same thing when i was studying for A+.

    They are important but remember they will only ask a few questions from every domain.
    If you can achieve 90% test after test then you know much more than you don't :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  5. CliffG

    CliffG Nibble Poster

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    Thanks for that guys,

    I've just finished reading the chapter, and answered the questions at the end. To be honest I did struggle, answering only 4 of the 10 questions confidently.

    Guess i'll re-read this chapter and make notes of the terms and try to memorise some of the features of each chip (L1 cache etc).
     
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  6. elli5on

    elli5on Kilobyte Poster

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    I think taking notes down when reading a chapter(module) in my case really helps.... Most people use mike myers, personally i have not invested in one of these. Reason being, the college im taking my course with send me out books for each part containing the relivant knowledge for each section. Each of the books contain roughly about 4 modules, First was on PC Fundamentals, then goes into more detail on motherboards, cpu's, Buses, power supplies. It covers just about everything really. And i get a tutor marked appraisal at the end of each section. So i dont really need the mike myers book which is a good thing.

    I must admit though, it is alot to take in at one time, i study for roughly 2 hours a day, hoping to complete my course within 9 months, get a job in computer's, then after a year or so out of studying, Go into MCSE course.

    All the best anyway cliff.

    Craig :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+ N+
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  7. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Take a year or so out of studying in this business and you're out of date! :p

    Although I say that jokingly, it's true. To stay in IT you must stay upto date, and a year of no activity can make you go stale finding that your skills start to lag behind others.

    8)
     
  8. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Once you have a solid foundation of IT related knowlege the studying factor gets easier IMHO. More sinks in on the first read through. Also, once you have been studying and reading all these texts for a few years, your reading speed increases and your typing speed improves too, with all the googling lol
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  9. binbox

    binbox Nibble Poster

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    I rate the Mike Meyer's books very highly elli5on but more for the historical conceptual sections. Learning the principals from the earliest and simplest PC's hardware make it alot easier to understand the advancements now. You begin to understand what your talking about instead of just knowing the answers you know the how's where's and when's.
     
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  10. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I’ve just recently sat the A+ hardware and there were a few “Which processor would go with what motherboard” type questions. So in terms of aiming for the A+ exam I would try and memorise which type of processor would be compatible with what motherboard.

    In the real world though it would be helpful to at least be familiar with the concept of how the processor works with the motherboard. This means when you are reading any of the spec sheets for a new component you will understand all the technical info; don’t worry about memorising it though!

    I used to support a small network (30 users) which consisted of custom made PCs as the users were developing media apps so they always needed the latest graphics card or more RAM. That meant I had to have a good understanding of each mobo and what components could be installed.

    Getting back to topic if you put the time in now to learn how processors work it will be beneficial if you score a support role where you need to upgrade\repair existing PCs.

    Hope this helps! :biggrin
     
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  11. elli5on

    elli5on Kilobyte Poster

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    i didn't mean a year out doing nothing, i will get a job in IT whilst taking a year out, then go back into studying for MCSE. :biggrin
     
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  12. CliffG

    CliffG Nibble Poster

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    I'm going through this chapter is much more detail now - or trying to at least.

    I'm making a few notes, and a few diagrams. Can I ask that someone look over this diagram that I made with some notes to see if "i'm getting it" sorta thing.

    Also i've read on here that Mike Meyer's book doesn't explain CPU's etc as well as it could do, or rather it simplifies the whole thing. Could someone tell me of a link to other sites that may explain the whole thing better, i've seen one or two links before but can't find them again now lol..

    Cheers
    Cliff
     

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  13. CliffG

    CliffG Nibble Poster

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    Update:

    That diagram above was a simplified thing I produced earlier today, since then i've now finished the chapter, made a ton of notes, read them, and re-read them and put a ton of effort into 'getting it all'. Read seperate articles on pipelining, caches, multipliers etc etc.

    I've also (i think) memorized most the particulars about most the cpu types.

    Did the test again and answered 9 of the 10 questions confidently, and a seperate test in Charles Brooks A+ book, where I answer 16 out of 16 questions correctly.

    So after several days stuck on the CPU section, i finally feel i'm ready to move to the next chapter..

    - Taking a break now, think i'll start the next chapter tomorrow :)
     
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  14. Malnomates

    Malnomates Megabyte Poster

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    This chapter seems to really put the voodoo's on us poor readers.I'm finding the concepts of the processor/processing easy enough and the pipeline,multipliers etc are pretty easy to grasp,but all that information on each individual processor is a tad overwhelming right now.As for learning methods,I too am reading,if you've not already guessed,Mike meyer's 5th edition and find it less daunting than I'd first anticipated.Making notes is an absolute must for me,I jot down bullet points and refer to their details if I'm a little shaky on them after reading a few pages.I'm going to go over this chapter a second time I reckon,but I'll not spend days and days learning each and every aspect of all processors at this point,that's going to happen in the weeks leading up to my exam,peruse it every now and then,take in a bit here,a bit there and then hopefully piece it together as i near the end of my studies.
     
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  15. STARTOVER

    STARTOVER New Member

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    Thankyou cliff G for the diagram im also starting to read the book thanks again for making it simple. :)
     
  16. Malnomates

    Malnomates Megabyte Poster

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    WHEW!! just got to the end of the chapter..a beer would be nice around now.Nice work with the diagram CliffG,that's the sort of stuff that makes learning all this stuff easier and much more palatable.Thanks .. (and don't be afraid to post a few more :thumbleft ).
     
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