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PC Hardware FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about PC Hardware

This FAQ was compiled and written by Willie Lim and Ralph Valentino with numerous contributions by others. Acknowledgements are listed at end of this FAQ.

-1.01 What does this FAQ cover?
PC Hardware FAQ: What does this FAQ cover?
-1.02 Where can I find the latest copy of this FAQ?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where can I find the latest copy of this FAQ?
-1.03 Is it ok to (sell/buy/job-offer/advertise) things here?
PC Hardware FAQ: Is it ok to (sell/buy/job-offer/advertise) things here?
-1.04 I have a binary that people are asking for, should I post it here?
PC Hardware FAQ: I have a binary that people are asking for, should I post it here?
-1.05 Where should I post?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where should I post?
-1.06 How come no one answers my questions?
PC Hardware FAQ: How come no one answers my questions?
-1.07 What are the going prices for...?
PC Hardware FAQ: What are the going prices for...?
-1.08 Who makes/Where can I find [some obscure piece of hardware]?
PC Hardware FAQ: Who makes/Where can I find [some obscure piece of hardware]?
-1.09 What is the history of the IBM PC?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the history of the IBM PC?
-2.02 How do I pick the right processor?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I pick the right processor?
-2.03 What is the difference between the 386SX/386DX and 486SX/486DX?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the difference between the 386SX/386DX and 486SX/486DX?
-2.04 What is a ZIF socket?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is a ZIF socket?
-2.05 What is over clocking and should I do it?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is over clocking and should I do it?
-2.06 Which is faster, a DX-50 or DX2-66
PC Hardware FAQ: Which is faster, a DX-50 or DX2-66
-2.09 Would a math co-processor speed up my machine?
PC Hardware FAQ: Would a math co-processor speed up my machine?
-2.10 Can I use a x387 with my 486?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I use a x387 with my 486?
-2.11 What is the floating point (FDIV) problem with the Pentium?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the floating point (FDIV) problem with the Pentium?
-2.12 How can I tell if my Pentium has the FDIV bug?
PC Hardware FAQ: How can I tell if my Pentium has the FDIV bug?
-2.13 How do I get a replacement for my buggy Pentium?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I get a replacement for my buggy Pentium?
-2.14 Memory terminology, what does it mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: Memory terminology, what does it mean?
-2.15 What happen to my 384k?
PC Hardware FAQ: What happen to my 384k?
-2.16 How do I tell how big/fast my SIMMs are?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I tell how big/fast my SIMMs are?
-2.17 What speed SIMMs do I need?
PC Hardware FAQ: What speed SIMMs do I need?
-2.18 Will 9 chip and 3 chip SIMMs work together?
PC Hardware FAQ: Will 9 chip and 3 chip SIMMs work together?
-2.19 What are "single-sided" and "double-sided" 72-pin SIMMs?
PC Hardware FAQ: What are
-2.20 What does parity/ECC memory protect the system from?
PC Hardware FAQ: What does parity/ECC memory protect the system from?
-2.21 What happens if I get memory error with or without parity/ECC?
PC Hardware FAQ: What happens if I get memory error with or without parity/ECC?
-2.22 Do I really need parity/ECC?
PC Hardware FAQ: Do I really need parity/ECC?
-2.23 How do I get a system with parity support?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I get a system with parity support?
-2.24 How do you distinguish between parity and non-parity SIMMs?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do you distinguish between parity and non-parity SIMMs?
-2.25 Can I use Mac or PS/2 SIMMs in my PC?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I use Mac or PS/2 SIMMs in my PC?
-2.26 What do wait states and burst rates in my BIOS mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: What do wait states and burst rates in my BIOS mean?
-2.27 Cache terminology, what does it mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: Cache terminology, what does it mean?
-2.28 How do I upgrade the size of my cache?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I upgrade the size of my cache?
-2.29 Do I need to fill the "dirty tag" RAM socket on my motherboard?
PC Hardware FAQ: Do I need to fill the
-2.30 How fast do my cache RAMs have to be?
PC Hardware FAQ: How fast do my cache RAMs have to be?
-2.31 Which is the best cache policy, write-through or "write-back?"
PC Hardware FAQ: Which is the best cache policy, write-through or
-2.32 What about an n-way set associative cache, isn't it better?
PC Hardware FAQ: What about an n-way set associative cache, isn't it better?
-2.33 Which is better, ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/etc?
PC Hardware FAQ: Which is better, ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/etc?
-2.35 Will an ISA card work in an MCA (PS/2) machine?
PC Hardware FAQ: Will an ISA card work in an MCA (PS/2) machine?
-2.36 What does the "chip set" do?
PC Hardware FAQ: What does the
-2.37 How do I enter the CMOS configuration menu?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I enter the CMOS configuration menu?
-2.38 What is bus mastering and how do I know if I have it?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is bus mastering and how do I know if I have it?
-2.39 Can I put an ISA cards in EISA or VLB slots?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I put an ISA cards in EISA or VLB slots?
-2.40 How should I configure ISA/VLB cards in the EISA config utility?
PC Hardware FAQ: How should I configure ISA/VLB cards in the EISA config utility?
-2.41 What is the difference between EISA Standard and Enhanced modes?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the difference between EISA Standard and Enhanced modes?
-2.42 Is there any point in putting more than 16M in an ISA machine?
PC Hardware FAQ: Is there any point in putting more than 16M in an ISA machine?
-2.43 What disadvantages are there to the HiNT EISA chip set?
PC Hardware FAQ: What disadvantages are there to the HiNT EISA chip set?
-2.45 Why is my PC's clock so inaccurate?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why is my PC's clock so inaccurate?
-2.46 How can I automatically set my PC's clock to the correct time?
PC Hardware FAQ: How can I automatically set my PC's clock to the correct time?
-2.47 What is the battery for and how do I replace it?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the battery for and how do I replace it?
-2.48 Can I use IRQ2 or is it special?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I use IRQ2 or is it special?
-2.49 Where do all the IRQ's and DMA Channels go?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where do all the IRQ's and DMA Channels go?
-3.02 How can I tell if I have MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE/SCSI?
PC Hardware FAQ: How can I tell if I have MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE/SCSI?
-3.03 Do caching controllers really help?
PC Hardware FAQ: Do caching controllers really help?
-3.04 Do IDE controllers use DMA?
PC Hardware FAQ: Do IDE controllers use DMA?
-3.05 Why won't my two IDE drives work together?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why won't my two IDE drives work together?
-3.06 Which is better, VLB or ISA IDE?
PC Hardware FAQ: Which is better, VLB or ISA IDE?
-3.07 How do I install a second controller?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I install a second controller?
-3.09 Which is better, SCSI or IDE?
PC Hardware FAQ: Which is better, SCSI or IDE?
-3.10 Can MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE and SCSI coexist?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE and SCSI coexist?
-3.11 What's the difference between SCSI and SCSI-2? Are they compatible?
PC Hardware FAQ: What's the difference between SCSI and SCSI-2? Are they compatible?
-3.12 How am I suppose to terminate the SCSI bus?
PC Hardware FAQ: How am I suppose to terminate the SCSI bus?
-3.13 Can I share SCSI devices between computers?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I share SCSI devices between computers?
-3.14 What is Thermal Recalibration?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is Thermal Recalibration?
-3.15 Can I mount my hard drive sideways/upside down?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I mount my hard drive sideways/upside down?
-3.16 How do I swap A: and B:
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I swap A: and B:
-3.17 My floppy drive doesn't work and the light remains on, why?
PC Hardware FAQ: My floppy drive doesn't work and the light remains on, why?
-3.18 What is a 16550 and do I need one?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is a 16550 and do I need one?
-3.19 Are there any >4 channel serial port cards?
PC Hardware FAQ: Are there any >4 channel serial port cards?
-3.20 Should I buy an internal or external modem?
PC Hardware FAQ: Should I buy an internal or external modem?
-3.21 What do all of the modem terms mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: What do all of the modem terms mean?
-3.22 Why does my fast modem connect at a lower speed?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why does my fast modem connect at a lower speed?
-3.23 >What kinds of sound cards are available?
PC Hardware FAQ: >What kinds of sound cards are available?
-3.24 Where can I find EISA/VLB sound and IO cards?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where can I find EISA/VLB sound and IO cards?
-3.25 Where can I get DOS drivers for my ethernet card?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where can I get DOS drivers for my ethernet card?
-3.26 How does the keyboard interface work?
PC Hardware FAQ: How does the keyboard interface work?
-3.27 Can I fake a keyboard so my computer will boot without it?
PC Hardware FAQ: Can I fake a keyboard so my computer will boot without it?
-4.01 Why do I lose x Meg on my hard drive?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why do I lose x Meg on my hard drive?
-4.03 I have two floppies. Can I add a floppy based tape drive?
PC Hardware FAQ: I have two floppies. Can I add a floppy based tape drive?
-4.04 How fast is a tape drive? Will a dedicated controller improve this?
PC Hardware FAQ: How fast is a tape drive? Will a dedicated controller improve this?
-4.05 What is QIC80, QIC40?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is QIC80, QIC40?
-4.06 How come I can't fit as much stuff on my tape drive as they claim?
PC Hardware FAQ: How come I can't fit as much stuff on my tape drive as they claim?
-4.07 Are Colorado/Conner/Archive/... tapes compatible with each other?
PC Hardware FAQ: Are Colorado/Conner/Archive/... tapes compatible with each other?
-4.08 How does the drive/software know how long the tape is?
PC Hardware FAQ: How does the drive/software know how long the tape is?
-4.09 What are all those QICs?
PC Hardware FAQ: What are all those QICs?
-4.10 Which QICs are read/write compatible?
PC Hardware FAQ: Which QICs are read/write compatible?
-4.11 What is the CMOS/jumper setting for my hard drive?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the CMOS/jumper setting for my hard drive?
-6.02 Do I need a CPU fan / heat sink
PC Hardware FAQ: Do I need a CPU fan / heat sink
-6.03 What does the turbo switch do?
PC Hardware FAQ: What does the turbo switch do?
-6.04 How does the front panel LED display measure the system's speed?
PC Hardware FAQ: How does the front panel LED display measure the system's speed?
-6.05 Should I turn my computer/monitor off?
PC Hardware FAQ: Should I turn my computer/monitor off?
-6.06 Are there any manufacturers/distributers who read the net?
PC Hardware FAQ: Are there any manufacturers/distributers who read the net?
-7.01 What do the POST beeps mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: What do the POST beeps mean?
-7.02 What do the POST codes mean?
PC Hardware FAQ: What do the POST codes mean?
-8.01 What is the pin out for ...?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is the pin out for ...?
-8.03 What is Plug and Play?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is Plug and Play?
-8.04 What is an OEM product?
PC Hardware FAQ: What is an OEM product?
-8.05 What size should I set my DOS partitions to be?
PC Hardware FAQ: What size should I set my DOS partitions to be?
-8.06 How do I get DOS to letter my devices the way I want?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I get DOS to letter my devices the way I want?
-8.07 Why won't my system boot from the hard drive?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why won't my system boot from the hard drive?
-8.08 How do I clean my computer?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I clean my computer?
-8.11 What tape backup software is available?
PC Hardware FAQ: What tape backup software is available?
-8.12 Why doesn't my new device work as fast as it should?
PC Hardware FAQ: Why doesn't my new device work as fast as it should?
-8.13 My drive lists a MTBF of 300,000 hours. Will it really last 34 years?
PC Hardware FAQ: My drive lists a MTBF of 300,000 hours. Will it really last 34 years?
-8.14 How do I find pin 1 on my chip/card/cable/connector?
PC Hardware FAQ: How do I find pin 1 on my chip/card/cable/connector?
-8.15 I've run out of power connectors, what can I do?
PC Hardware FAQ: I've run out of power connectors, what can I do?
-8.16 What does FCC approval cover and what needs to be approved?
PC Hardware FAQ: What does FCC approval cover and what needs to be approved?
-9.02 What do the industry acronyms stand for?
PC Hardware FAQ: What do the industry acronyms stand for?
-9.03 Where can I get the ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/etc specs?
PC Hardware FAQ: Where can I get the ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/etc specs?
-9.04 What books are available for the PC architecture?
PC Hardware FAQ: What books are available for the PC architecture?
-9.05 What books are available on network programming?
PC Hardware FAQ: What books are available on network programming?

Copyright notice:

The comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.* Frequently Asked Questions is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. No author or distributor accepts responsibility to anyone for the consequences of using it or for whether it serves any particular purpose or works at all, unless he says so in writing. Refer to the GNU General Public License for full details.

Everyone is granted permission to copy, modify and redistribute this FAQ, but only under the conditions described in the GNU General Public License. Among other things, the copyright notice and this notice must be preserved on all copies.

Where section authors are noted, the copyright is held by that author. Where no author is noted, the copyright is held by the FAQ editors Willie Lim (wlim@lehman.com) and Ralph Valentino (ralf@alum.wpi.edu).










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previous page:  alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt Frequently Asked Questions
  
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