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Introduction

This section is intended to introduce the main subsystems of a personal computer system. Within each subsystem there can be a huge variety of components that could be used. This section looks at the most common components and at their characteristics. For example, it does not really matter what type of motherboard or what manufacturer produced the motherboard. The techniques for choosing, configuring and installing will be mainly the same regardless. It would be impossible to cover every computer component available and instead we shall attempt to gain the 'skills' to adapt and 'learn' how to deal with the many computer system components available today.

For example, there many different processors from several different manufacturers that are used in PCs today. This section looks at the function of the processor and also at the more commonly used processors and their features. Even though the range of components used in PCs is very large, there are often common features within each subsystem. For example, although cases come in many different colours, sizes, etc. there are some common features such as the form factor (i.e. ATX, Mini ATX, Micro ATX, BTX) and layout (desktop or tower).

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