Course code InfT2045

Credit points 3

Computer Hardware

Total Hours in Course120

Number of hours for lectures24

Number of hours for laboratory classes24

Independent study hours72

Date of course confirmation06.09.2022

Responsible UnitDepartment of Computer Systems

Course developer

author lect.

Didzis Lauva

Mg. geogr.

Course abstract

The aim of the study course is to learn the structure and principles of operation of computer technologies and the physical processes related to them, the mutual interaction between the elements and components used in computer technologies, as well as the operation and structure of individual components.
Students acquire theoretical knowledge of the main up-to-date computer technologies used today, their components and external devices (peripheral devices), as well as their development over time.
Students acquire practical knowledge of the structure of computer technology, the most typical problems of computer technology, their diagnosis and solution.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

•Students know about computer technologies, its architecture and conceptual parts, the interdependence between these conceptual parts, and operation principles of peripheral devices (lecture tests, laboratory works, individual discussions with the teaching staff).
•Students have skills to repair and upgrade computer and peripheral equipment, swap the elements of computer and make a simple computer diagnostics (laboratory works).
•Students are able to use hardware parts in the specified computer, to justify the purchase needs of a computer for personal and business sector, to justify the purchase of external equipment and the replacement computer element (individual discussions with the teaching staff, final test).

Course Content(Calendar)

1.Introduction. The conception of computer hardware. Von Neumann architecture. The fundamentals of information processing within the IT system. (2h)
2.The system board of the computer and its functional meaning. Main components of the system board. Interfaces on the system board. (2h)
3.The energy delivery for computer. Electricity and its characteristics. Volts, amperes. Work and power. Efficiency. Alternating current and direct current. The structure of the power supply unit, primary and secondary circuits. The standards of power supply units. (2h)
4.Heat and temperature. The origin of the heat in computer hardware. Joule-Lenz law. Heat impact on computer and its parts. The risks related with the heat. (2h)
5.Heat transfer. Cooling systems. Materials used to transfer the heat. Physical factors describing the heat transfer. Heatsinks, fans, thermal pastes and bearings. (2h)
6.CPU and GPU. Physical and logical core. Threading. SoC. Cache memory. (2h)
7.Exchange of the information between different computer components. Buses. Chipsets. Data transfer protocols. (2h)
8.Primary memory, Random access memory, Video RAM. Characteristics and working principles of RAM. Timings and latencies. RAM modules. Pagefile. (2h)
9.Secondary memory. SSD, HDD, M.2, RAID, SATA and PATA, NVM, NAS. (2h)
10.BIOS, UEFI, CMOS, chipsets, P.O.S.T., BIOS settings and its upgrade. (2h)
11.Video. Video signals. Video information. RGB. VGA. DVI, HDMI. Colours. Colour depth. (2h)
12.Peripheral devices. Optical mouse working principles. Importance of the sound and light in the information transfer. Physical concepts of WiFi and cable networking. (2h)

Laboratory works:
1.Safety regulations in the computer lab. The technical description and specification of the computer without opening it based on visual and functional (operating systems and programs) information analysis. (3h)
2.The technical description and specification of the computer based on its parts and components by disassembling it, without turning the computer on. Computer assembly.(3h)
3.The comparision of the IDE and AHCI controller speed on virtual machine run on VirtualBox. (3h)
4.The the diagnostics and swapping of the computer`s CPU. (3h)
5.The diagnostics of the RAM using Memtest86+ and the analysis of the results. Swapping RAM modules (3h)
6.The low level hard disk exploration using the software HDAT2. Disk partition management and data recovery. (3h)
7.The creation of boot sector on the disk image file and it`s testing using the virtual emulation software PCem. (3h)
8.The individual conversation with the instructor about randomly chosen practical work. (3h)

Requirements for awarding credit points

•Full attendance of the laboratory works and finished and handed in the results of each laboratory work in the e-studies;
•Positive grade obtained in the individual conversation about random laboratory work topics;
•Positive grade obtained in the final test published in the e-studies (positive results are equal or higher than 40%).

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

The study materials about each lecture topic is available for the student in the e-studies at any time. There are questions published about the each topic and general answers on them can be obtained within published study materials. The questions are built in such a way that students would want to seek an advanced level answers on these questions. Students can discuss the questions with other students and teacher in the e-studies, within the forum activity as well as during the practical classes.

Practical classes:
The information about each laboratory work is published in the e-studies and it consists of two main parts:
1.the description about the laboratory work which includes the aim and the tasks for laboratory work;
2.The quiz-type activity which students fill in during the laboratory work class with the observations, results and analysis.
Before the laboratory work, the student must familiarize himself with its description.

The final test is based on the content which can be found in the lecture study materials and on the information obtained during the practical class. The individual studies for the final test are done independently based on the answers the student handed in, discussions in the forum activity and the content handed in in the practical work activities. This information is fully available for the student during the whole semester in the e-studies.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The final grade consists of the three equally weighted parts:
1.The grade of the answers on lecture related questions which are handed in e-studies:
a.The answers must be handed in before the deadline;
b.The answers must be given on all questions;
c.The answers must be fully written, high-quality and justified.
2.The grade about the individual conversation with the teaching staff. The conversation is about randomly chosen laboratory work.
3.The grade about the final test in the e-studies.

Compulsory reading

1. Mueller S. Upgrading and Repairing PCs. 22st revised edition. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2015. 1162 p.
2. Wolf M. The Physics of Computing. Morgan Kaufmann, 2016.

Further reading

1. Rathbone A. Upgrading and Fixing Computers Do-it-Yourself For Dummies. 2010. 340 p.
2. Gookin D. Troubleshooting and Maintaining Your PC All-in-One For Dummies. 2017. 456 p.
3. Datortermini [tiešsaiste]. Pieejams:
4. Computer [tiešsaiste]. Pieejams:


ITF Bachelor Study Programs “Computer Control and Computer Science” and “Information Technologies for Sustainable Development”