Core Hardware

This course starts off by covering everything you need to know about the CompTIA A+ industry-standard certification exams.


  • What is a CPU? Video — 00:14:52
    • The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is quite possibly the most critical component of a PC. But what tasks does the CPU deal with, and how does it go about handling them? Let’s dig into the core features of a CPU.

  • Modern CPUs Video — 00:06:48
    • The modern processor is loaded with features that you need to know in order to excel as a PC technician. Let’s examine some of the modern CPU’s abilities and get hands-on with a tool that has become a necessity when dealing with central processing units.

  • 32-bit vs 64-bit computing Video — 00:04:39
    • As technology evolves, the industry sets standards to define milestones. There is possibly no standard more prolific than 32-bit and 64-bit computing. Every piece of hardware and software released in the last three decades follows either the 32-bit or 64-

  • Choosing the right CPU Video — 00:03:39
    • Choosing a CPU that meets all of your needs is one of the most important decisions that you will make when building your PC. The wrong choice can mean a computer that does not perform the needed tasks or quickly becomes outdated. Since we have already lea

  • CPU generations and architecture Video — 00:05:58
    • By now you are probably wondering what that alphabet soup of letters and numbers alongside a CPU name means. Understanding the nomenclature of CPU models will ensure that you fully understand how they work. In this video, we are going to learn about the d

  • CPU cooling Video — 00:12:22
    • While anything that uses electricity generates some heat, no other piece of hardware in our PC generates more heat than the CPU. Keeping temperatures under control is one of the keys to a system’s longevity. Let’s beat the heat and learn all about CPU coo

  • Installing and troubleshooting a CPU Video — 00:06:48
    • Every computer needs a CPU. The installation steps are straightforward, but should be handled with care to prevent damage. Additionally, some form of cooling is required.

  • RAM technology Video — 00:10:13
    • Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) comes in a number of versions defined by the doubling of commands they process per clock cycle. It’s important for techs to recognize these technologies and the speed rating systems used.

  • RAM capacity Video — 00:07:47
    • Individual sticks of DRAM will have very different capacities. It’s important to understand RAM capacities and how sticks work together to provide the total memory for a system.

  • RAM features Video — 00:07:13
    • DRAM varies in other ways, such as single-sided or double-sided DRAM. Different motherboards may or may not be able to take advantage of these features.

  • Virtual memory Video — 00:06:07
    • Running out of memory is something we try to avoid. All operating systems use virtual memory (or RAM), a part of your mass storage set, to act as (very slow) memory in case your real memory runs out.

  • Installing and troubleshooting RAM Video — 00:03:54
    • Upgrading your RAM is one of the quickest tasks that you can do to immediately increase system performance. Whether you are doing a new PC build, or simply updating your system, you are going to need to know how to install and troubleshoot RAM.

  • What is BIOS? Video — 00:05:51
  • POST Video — 00:08:36
    • The power-on self-test (POST) takes place every time a system starts. POST checks the system and communicates any problems it finds to the user.

  • System setup Video — 00:08:49
    • A small system-setup program built into the motherboard firmware enables techs to configure low-level features and options for the system’s hardware. A good tech needs to know how to access and use system setup on any computer.

  • Troubleshooting firmware Video — 00:11:42
    • A system’s BIOS is robust and rarely causes trouble, but when it does a good tech must be ready to troubleshoot. Understanding a few simple tricks can make troubleshooting easier.

  • Form factors Video — 00:05:59
    • Motherboards, power supplies, and cases are surprisingly interchangeable due to industry standards called form factors. Techs should know common form factors and the benefits and challenges of each.

  • Chipsets Video — 00:04:39
    • A motherboard chipset is what determines the RAM capacity, USB capabilities, CPU architecture, and more. Mike explains how the modern chipsets have evolved over the years and why they matter today.

  • Choosing the right motherboard Video — 00:04:16
    • The motherboard is the backbone of a PC. The type and model of motherboard that you choose can have a profound impact on your system and often determines which components you are able to use. What should you look for when picking out a new one? We’ll expl

  • Installing and troubleshooting a motherboard Video — 00:07:58
    • Installing a motherboard into a case is part science and part art. The science comes first. The motherboard must match the case’s form factor, and the motherboard and parts must be compatible. Then, the art: the subtle crafts of preparing everything you n

  • The power supply Video — 00:08:19
    • A PC power supply takes AC power from the grid and transforms it into DC voltage the system needs to run. This video explores modular and non-modular power supplies.

  • Choosing a power supply Video — 00:07:16
    • Power supplies come in a dizzying array of power ratings, sizes, and efficiencies. A good tech understands these factors to make sure a system has the power it needs.

  • Power protection Video — 00:09:28
    • Electrical power from our grid is imperfect. Sometimes it provides too little or too much power. We use tools such as surge suppressors and uninterruptible power supplies to protect our PCs.

  • Cooling your system Video — 00:03:36
    • Previously we discussed the types of heat sinks, fans, and liquid cooling that are used to lower component and system temperatures. Now we will look at keeping your system cool through even the most difficult of tasks.

  • Installing and troubleshooting a PSU Video — 00:08:28
    • Knowing how to install and troubleshoot errors with power supplies is essential. While it is generally a simple process, there are some things to look out for. Let’s go through installing and troubleshooting a PSU together.


Course description

Then you’ll learn what it takes to be a professional IT technician, followed by a foundational understanding of computers, including a tour of Windows 10, 11, macOS, and Linux.

Meet the author

Mike Meyers, affectionately called the “Alpha Geek,” is the industry’s leading authority on CompTIA certifications. He is the president and co-founder of Total Seminars, LLC, a provider of PC and network repair seminars, books, videos and courseware for thousands of organizations throughout the world. Mike has been involved in the computer and network repair industry since 1987 as a technician, instructor, author, consultant and speaker. He has sold over a million IT and certification books, including the best-selling CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide and CompTIA Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide. He has personally taught thousands of students, including U.S. senators, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, members of the United Nation, every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, many branches of the Department of Justice, hundreds of corporate clients and academic students at every level.

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We use Infosec Skills to provide continuous training to our technicians and to prepare them for various certifications. Infosec Skills allows us to create personalized training programs that focus on each of our technicians’ particular roles and see their progress as they take courses. We also, recommend it to clients to make their IT support teams better.

Caleb Yankus


This has been utilized to bridge the skills gap across our cyber team and to aid them as they prepare for their various certifications. It also has provided a nice learning foundation for our various cyber team members to utilize as we continue to find ways for cross-utilization with operations while minimizing the downtime needed to ensure everyone’s knowledge is the same.

Daniel Simpson


We use Infosec Skills to provide base level knowledge for employees. We also use the services to provide in depth learning for employees as they encounter new technologies. If an employee is is assigned to a new project, we can rely on Infosec Skills to provide a rapid concentrated learning environment. This rapid concentrated learning positions our employees for success.

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