1.0 PC Hardware

1.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose.

  • Physical connections

    I/O interface or ports refers to the physical connection between the computer and any attached device or communication circuit. These interfaces are generally located on the back of the computer or the front panel. These connections generally provide an electrical circuit for power, and the means of transferring data. A different interface is required for each type of I/O device or connection and must follow specific standards for that connection.

    • USB 1.1 vs. 2.0 vs. 3.0 speed and distance characteristics

      Universal Serial Bus, hot-swappable, powered through the USB connection, USB A, USB B and USB mini-B connections.

      • Connector types: A, B, mini, micro

    • Firewire 400 vs. Firewire 800 speed and distance characteristics

      • 1394a - 400MB/s
      • 1394b - 800MB/s

    • SATA1 vs. SATA2 vs. SATA3, eSATA, IDE speeds

    • Other connector types
      • Serial

        • Typical serial ports include 9-pin and 25-pin connection
        • Compliant to the RS-232 standard
        • Information is transfered in or out in a single-bit stream
        • Newer technology includes Ethernet, FireWire, and USB

      • Parallel

        Also known as a printer or Centronics port, a 25-pin computer interface designed for bi-directional communication. Defined under the IEEE 1284 standard.

      • VGA

      • HDMI

      • DVI

      • Audio

        Mini-audio jack, 1/8" jack, 3.5mm jack.

      • RJ-45

        • Network Interface Controller
        • Provides communication between the computer and the network
        • Modern onboard interface is typically an RJ-45 connection

      • RJ-11

        Acronym for modulator-demodulator. Provides analog phone line communication between the computer and a telephone network. Interface is provided through an RJ-11 connection with 56Kb/s maximum transmission speed.

    • Analog vs. digital transmission
      • VGA vs. HDMI

  • Speeds, distances and frequencies of wireless device connections
    • Bluetooth

    • IR

    • RF


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