Quiz about Computer components and PC building
Quiz about Computer components and PC building

Computer components and PC building Quiz


I'm going to walk you through building a new PC from components and along the way, you may learn something about hardware. So come on in and please bring your anti-static wrist strap!

A multiple-choice quiz by WesleyCrusher. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
296,852
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
4421
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 122 (5/10), Guest 97 (9/10), Guest 76 (10/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. We'll start by laying out the largest piece of our computer to be. It is also the one that has the fewest electronic components. Which one is it? Hint

The motherboard
The hard disk
The optical drive
The case

2. The component we need to install next is one that could be opened without damaging it, but it could be very dangerous for your health to do so. Also, it has a substantial impact on the noise level of your new PC. Which one is it? Hint

The motherboard
The CPU fan
The power supply
The graphics card

3. If the processor is the brain of the PC, the component installed next is its spine - both for its function of mechanically connecting various pieces and for its capability to do some low-level, reflex-like processing. Hint

The cabling tree
The heatsink
The motherboard
The network card

4. Now we're ready to get to the heart of the matter: This type of component is almost exclusively manufactured by the two companies; Intel and AMD. Its design uses complex techniques like speculative execution and microcode. Hint

The graphics card
The main processor
The motherboard
The random number generator

5. Several parts of the computer nowadays come with one of these attached, but there is also one of them you will need to install separately. It will fit over the processor and is usually the largest of its type in the computer. Hint

The heatsink / fan assembly
The voltage regulator
The power supply
The mounting bracket

6. The component we need now is one that you will often need in multiples. It is quite small, only a few millimeters thick, and all the data stored in it will be lost when you switch off your PC. Hint

The PCI bus
The hard disk
The main memory
The optical drive

7. Before we can switch on our new computer for the first time to test it, we will need one more component. It is the one that will have the most impact on the computer's gaming performance. It also has its own built-in memory and specialized processors to do its job well. Hint

The graphics card
The power supply
The cache
The hard disk

8. With the first test and setup successful, we can now go ahead and install the component that will enable you to install software, listen to CD music and watch a DVD movie on your computer. Its speed is usually expressed in "X". (Remember this quiz was written in 2008 - new computers might not have one of these any more) Hint

The hard disk
The sound card
The graphics card
The optical drive

9. Almost there! But we do not yet have a place to put our operating system and programs and save any data to. So we will rectify that problem and install one - but be careful not to drop it: This component is the most sensitive one to mechanical shock. Hint

The main memory
The hard disk
The processor
The motherboard

10. We now have a workable computer able to play games, access the internet and do work with. Before we however close the case and fire it up, let's install an expansion card to customize it. Which of the following would NOT be installed as an expansion card inside the computer? Hint

A firewire (IEEE1394) interface
A printer
A wireless LAN adapter
An ISDN connection card


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. We'll start by laying out the largest piece of our computer to be. It is also the one that has the fewest electronic components. Which one is it?

Answer: The case

The process of building a computer by yourself requires some patience and skill, but can be quite rewarding and you will be able to buy exactly the components you want. Before starting to actually build anything, read all the instructions that come with the components and make sure everything is complete and looks undamaged.

Then, begin by laying out the case and removing all covers - you will be happy you did once you start installing components and don't have to leave anything sensitive lying around unprotected while struggling with an uncooperative screw.
2. The component we need to install next is one that could be opened without damaging it, but it could be very dangerous for your health to do so. Also, it has a substantial impact on the noise level of your new PC. Which one is it?

Answer: The power supply

Many cases come with a pre-installed power supply, but you should be sure to study tests and reports since case vendors often install cheaper devices that waste energy and do not deal well with inevitable small fluctuations of mains power. If the case of your choice comes with a noisy or inefficient power supply, try getting it without one. Also, when selecting a power supply, make sure it is strong enough to power all components, but do not overshoot - a 400 watts supply working at 80% is much more energy efficient than an 800 watts one working at 40%.

At this point, I also have a warning for you: Do not EVER open a power supply! Even after disconnecting it from the mains, several components still hold high voltage charges and can continue to do so for several hours. These charges are strong enough to give you dangerous electric shocks.
3. If the processor is the brain of the PC, the component installed next is its spine - both for its function of mechanically connecting various pieces and for its capability to do some low-level, reflex-like processing.

Answer: The motherboard

Thinking of the motherboard as the spine of your computer is a very useful analogy for a non-technical person because it really fills the same functions as your spine does in your body. It connects the processor (the brain) to all other parts of the computer (the body), both mechanically and electrically. It also contains the needed electronics to make the processor's instructions understandable to those peripherals, just like the spinal cord further processes the brain's commands while relaying them to the limbs.

When installing the motherboard, take care you are installing all the needed spacers and feet, but do not yet screw the board to the case as you will want to take it out again to install the processor. Also, make sure the rear connector cutout of the case (the flimsy metal covering) fits the layout of your board and if necessary, exchange it for the one supplied with your motherboard.
4. Now we're ready to get to the heart of the matter: This type of component is almost exclusively manufactured by the two companies; Intel and AMD. Its design uses complex techniques like speculative execution and microcode.

Answer: The main processor

When installing the processor, please remember that the socket it will go in is called "Zero Insertion Force" for a reason. If you feel you need any force whatsoever to make the processor slide in, STOP immediately: you are doing it wrong! Either you have the pins lined up wrong or you did not completely open the lever that locks the socket. Check your line-up and start again.

To close the lever, however, you will need some force. You might also hear a slightly crunchy sound that is not very convincing you are doing the right thing. This is normal as the processor now slides into a very tight fit with the socket. Just be careful, do it slowly and if you feel excessive resistance, ease off and check for errors.
5. Several parts of the computer nowadays come with one of these attached, but there is also one of them you will need to install separately. It will fit over the processor and is usually the largest of its type in the computer.

Answer: The heatsink / fan assembly

The sophisticated chips in today's computers produce far more heat per square inch than a stove operated at maximum power. This heat has to be drained off, because otherwise the chips would heat to the point of melting in mere minutes. While power supplies, graphics cards and motherboards come with the heatsinks already attached, the processor heatsink is a separate assembly you have to install yourself.

Before you apply the thermal paste or remove the protective cover from the pre-applied thermal paste, do a dry run of the installation process for the heat sink. You may need quite some force for this one and one characteristic of the thermal paste is that it is one-use only, so mounting the heatsink the wrong way will waste your paste and you'll have to remove all the old paste, too, before trying again. Do this particular installation with your motherboard on a firm, flat surface on which you've laid out the protective antistatic cover that came with it. This way, you cannot break it when you exert some pressure, nor will a stray static charge cause damage.

When the heatsink is installed, you can put the motherboard back in the case, screw it down and attach all the cables from the power supply and case. Remember to connect the secondary CPU power if your processor needs it!
6. The component we need now is one that you will often need in multiples. It is quite small, only a few millimeters thick, and all the data stored in it will be lost when you switch off your PC.

Answer: The main memory

When you buy main memory, you usually have the option to purchase the desired amount in one or two individual modules. Usually, it is much better to take two separate modules as the computer will be able to access the data faster. Make sure both these modules are from the same manufacturer and the same specification and check which slots you need to install them in to enable the speed boost!

The only exception to the rule of buying memory as module pairs would be if your computer only has two slots for memory. In that case, buy the single module so you will later be able to expand memory without throwing away your existing module.

When installing memory modules, make sure they are firmly seated and oriented the right way. While they do have notches to indicate the right orientation, it is possible to force them in the wrong way with some brutality and doing so will likely ruin at least the memory and the motherboard once you switch on the PC.

It is recommended to install at least 4, better 8, Gigabytes of memory in a new PC if it is designed for running Windows 10. The absolute minimum is 2 GB for the 64-bit version, but that would not let you do much.
7. Before we can switch on our new computer for the first time to test it, we will need one more component. It is the one that will have the most impact on the computer's gaming performance. It also has its own built-in memory and specialized processors to do its job well.

Answer: The graphics card

For a few years now, graphics cards have surpassed the main processor as the most expensive individual component of an average middle class PC. Also, the performance between the cards varies quite a lot. Even a simple card for 50 dollars or Euros will support all daily tasks except for gaming. Many entry level processors now come with an integrated graphics chip performing at that level as well.

Graphics cards in the 150-200 dollar/Euro class represent a good compromise between performance and price. You will be able to run even the most current games, although you will likely not be able to use them at maximum resolution with all effects at maximum. They also have enough power to use all Vista effects.

A 400+ Euro/dollar card is worthwhile only if you are building a dedicated gaming PC and wish to be fully prepared for the games releases of the next two years. In this case, consider installing a matched pair of graphics cards from the upper middle class range if your favorite games support them. You will get more performance for the same price as you would get by paying the substantial premium involved in an absolute top class card.
8. With the first test and setup successful, we can now go ahead and install the component that will enable you to install software, listen to CD music and watch a DVD movie on your computer. Its speed is usually expressed in "X". (Remember this quiz was written in 2008 - new computers might not have one of these any more)

Answer: The optical drive

Back when the first CD-ROM drives became available for PCs, it was not possible to boot the computer from them. Instead, you had to first load an operating system (at that time usually MS-DOS) and then to load special helper software (device drivers). MS-DOS was so complex in this regard that you actually needed two such drivers, the first to control the drive as such and then the second to make the operating system able to read files from it. So to install an operating system from CD, you had to first boot from a diskette which then loaded the needed drivers before the actual installation then used the files from the CD to speed things up.

Today, the optical drive, whether DVD or BluRay, is one of the least complicated components to install in a PC. Nonetheless I have a small hint for you: If you are still using the old ATA (parallel) bus to connect your drives, connect the optical drive on one cable and the hard disk(s) on the other. It will speed up data transfers.
9. Almost there! But we do not yet have a place to put our operating system and programs and save any data to. So we will rectify that problem and install one - but be careful not to drop it: This component is the most sensitive one to mechanical shock.

Answer: The hard disk

Compared to vintage models, modern hard disks are very shock-resistant when not in operation. This is due to the fact that they automatically park their read/write heads in a place where shock is not as likely to damage them when they are powered down. Still, dropping your drive from any appreciable height is very likely to ruin it, so be careful.

Also, once you have installed your drives, make sure you do have both power and data cables connected to them before booting the computer for a test run. Some motherboards will fail the self-test without comment, giving you nothing but a black screen, when you have the data cable connected, but not the power. (This is also why I recommend a test before connecting any drive - you will be able to distinguish true errors in the central component setup from a simple cabling flaw during connecting disks).
10. We now have a workable computer able to play games, access the internet and do work with. Before we however close the case and fire it up, let's install an expansion card to customize it. Which of the following would NOT be installed as an expansion card inside the computer?

Answer: A printer

The prevalence of expansion boards has become much lower than it was in the 90s and the early 2000s. With most motherboards now carrying at least a halfway decent sound chip and networking functionality and few PCs still using ISDN or modems to connect to the internet, the most common reasons for installing such cards have vanished. Another commonly installed card of the past was a television tuner or video digitization card, nowadays mostly obsolete because most video already comes on digital, computer-readable media.

The devices I mentioned are all available both as external boxes connected via the USB bus and as internal cards, except of course for a printer. A printer is simply too large to fit a PC case, thus you would not be able to find one supporting internal installation.
Source: Author WesleyCrusher

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor crisw before going online.
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