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Exam Objectives: CompTIA A+ 220-801

The exam objectives as stated (and copyrighted) by CompTIA, Inc. are as follows:

1.0 PC Hardware 40%

1.1 Configure and apply BIOS settings.

  • Install firmware upgrades—flash BIOS
  • BIOS component information
    • RAM
    • Hard drive
    • Optical drive
    • CPU
  • BIOS configurations
    • Boot sequence
    • Enabling and disabling devices
    • Date/time
    • Clock speeds
    • Virtualization support
    • BIOS security (passwords, drive encryption: TPM, lo-jack)
  • Use built-in diagnostics
  • Monitoring
    • Temperature monitoring
    • Fan speeds
    • Intrusion detection/notification
    • Voltage
    • Clock
    • Bus speed

1.2 Differentiate between motherboard components, their purposes, and properties.

  • Sizes
    • ATX
    • Micro-ATX
    • ITX
  • Expansion slots
    • PCI
    • PCI-X
    • PCIe
    • miniPCI
    • CNR
    • AGP2x, 4x, 8x
  • RAM slots
  • CPU sockets
  • Chipsets
    • North Bridge
    • South Bridge
    • CMOS battery
  • Jumpers
  • Power connections and types
  • Fan connectors
  • Front panel connectors
    • USB
    • Audio
    • Power button
    • Power light
    • Drive activity lights
    • Reset button
  • Bus speeds

1.3 Compare and contrast RAM types and features.

  • Types
    • DDR
    • DDR2
    • DDR3
    • SDRAM
    • SODIMM
    • RAMBUS
    • DIMM
    • Parity vs. non-parity
    • ECC vs. non-ECC
    • RAM configurations
    • Single channel vs. dual channel vs. triple channel
    • Single sided vs. double sided
  • RAM compatibility and speed

1.4 Install and configure expansion cards.

  • Sound cards
  • Video cards
  • Network cards
  • Serial and parallel cards
  • USB cards
  • Firewire cards
  • Storage cards
  • Modem cards
  • Wireless/cellular cards
  • TV tuner cards
  • Video capture cards
  • Riser cards

1.5 Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media.

  • Optical drives
    • CD-ROM
    • DVD-ROM
    • Blu-Ray
  • Combo drives and burners
    • CD-RW
    • DVD-RW
    • Dual Layer DVD-RW
    • BD-R
    • BD-RE
  • Connection types
    • External
    • USB
    • Firewire
    • eSATA
    • Ethernet
    • Internal SATA, IDE and SCSI
    • IDE configuration and setup (Master, Slave, Cable Select)
    • SCSI IDs (0—15)
    • Hot swappable drives
  • Hard drives
    • Magnetic
    • 5400 rpm
    • 7200 rpm
    • 10,000 rpm
    • 15,000 rpm
  • Solid state/flash drives
    • Compact flash
    • SD
    • Micro-SD
    • Mini-SD
    • xD
    • SSD
  • RAID types
    • 0
    • 1
    • 5
    • 10
  • Floppy drive
  • Tape drive
  • Media capacity
    • CD
    • CD-RW
    • DVD-RW
    • DVD
    • Blu-Ray
    • Tape
    • Floppy
    • DL DVD

1.6 Differentiate among various CPU types and features and select the appropriate cooling method.

  • Socket types
    • Intel: LGA, 775, 1155, 1156, 1366
    • AMD: 940, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, F
  • Characteristics
    • Speeds
    • Cores
    • Cache size/type
    • Hyperthreading
    • Virtualization support
    • Architecture (32-bit vs. 64-bit)
    • Integrated GPU
  • Cooling
    • Heat sink
    • Fans
    • Thermal paste
    • Liquid-based

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

  • Physical connections
    • USB 1.1 vs. 2.0 vs. 3.0 speed and distance characteristics
    • Connector types: A, B, mini, micro
    • Firewire 400 vs. Firewire 800 speed and distance characteristics
    • SATA1 vs. SATA2 vs. SATA3, eSATA, IDE speeds
    • Other connector types
      • Serial
      • Parallel
      • VGA
      • HDMI
      • DVI
      • Audio
      • RJ-45
      • RJ-11
    • Analog vs. digital transmission
      • VGA vs. HDMI
    • Speeds, distances and frequencies of wireless device connections
      • Bluetooth
      • IR
      • RF

1.8 Install an appropriate power supply based on a given scenario.

  • Connector types and their voltages
    • SATA
    • Molex
    • 4/8-pin 12v
    • PCIe 6/8-pin
    • 20-pin
    • 24-pin
    • Floppy
  • Specifications
    • Wattage
    • Size
    • Number of connectors
    • ATX
    • Micro-ATX
    • Dual voltage options

1.9 Evaluate and select appropriate components for a custom configuration, to meet customer specifications or needs.

  • Graphic / CAD / CAM design workstation
    • Powerful processor
    • High-end video
    • Maximum RAM
  • Audio/Video editing workstation
    • Specialized audio and video card
    • Large fast hard drive
    • Dual monitors
  • Virtualization workstation
    • Maximum RAM and CPU cores
  • Gaming PC
    • Powerful processor
    • High-end video/specialized GPU
    • Better sound card
    • High-end cooling
  • Home Theater PC
    • Surround sound audio
    • HDMI output
    • HTPC compact form factor
    • TV tuner
  • Standard thick client
    • Desktop applications
    • Meets recommended requirements for running Windows
  • Thin client
    • Basic applications
    • Meets minimum requirements for running Windows
  • Home Server PC
    • Media streaming
    • File sharing
    • Print sharing
    • Gigabit NIC
    • RAID array

1.10 Given a scenario, evaluate types and features of display devices.

  • Types
    • CRT
    • LCD
    • LED
    • Plasma
    • Projector
    • OLED
  • Refresh rates
  • Resolution
  • Native resolution
  • Brightness/lumens
  • Analog vs. digital
  • Privacy/antiglare filters
  • Multiple displays

1.11 Identify connector types and associated cables.

  • Display connector types
    • DVI-D
    • DVI-I
    • DVI-A
    • Displayport
    • RCA
    • DB-15
    • BNC
    • miniHDMI
    • RJ-45
    • miniDin-6
  • Display cable types
    • HDMI
    • DVI
    • VGA
    • Component
    • Composite
    • S-video
    • RGB
    • Coaxial
    • Ethernet
  • Device connectors and pin arrangements
    • SATA
    • eSATA
    • PATA
      • IDE
      • EIDE
    • Floppy
    • USB
    • IEEE1394
    • SCSI
    • PS/2
    • Parallel
    • Serial
    • Audio
    • RJ-45
  • Device cable types
    • SATA
    • eSATA
    • IDE
    • EIDE
    • Floppy
    • USB
    • IEEE1394
    • SCSI
      • 68pin vs. 50pin vs. 25pin
    • Parallel
    • Serial
    • Ethernet
    • Phone

1.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices.

  • Input devices
    • Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • Touch screen
    • Scanner
    • Barcode reader
    • KVM
    • Microphone
    • Biometric devices
    • Game pads
    • Joysticks
    • Digitizer
  • Multimedia devices
    • Digital cameras
    • Microphone
    • Webcam
    • Camcorder
    • MIDI enabled devices
  • Output devices
    • Printers
    • Speakers
    • Display devices

2.0 Networking 27%

2.1 Identify types of network cables and connectors.

  • Fiber
    • Connectors: SC, ST and LC
  • Twisted Pair
    • Connectors: RJ-11, RJ-45
    • Wiring standards: T568A, T568B
  • Coaxial
    • Connectors: BNC, F-connector

2.2 Categorize characteristics of connectors and cabling.

  • Fiber
    • Types (single-mode vs. multi-mode)
    • Speed and transmission limitations
  • Twisted pair
    • Types: STP, UTP, CAT3, CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6, plenum, PVC
    • Speed and transmission limitations
  • Coaxial
    • Types: RG-6, RG-59
    • Speed and transmission limitations

2.3 Explain properties and characteristics of TCP/IP.

  • IP class
    • Class A
    • Class B
    • Class C
  • IPv4 vs. IPv6
  • Public vs. private vs. APIPA
  • Static vs. dynamic
  • Client-side DNS
  • DHCP
  • Subnet mask
  • Gateway

2.4 Explain common TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purpose.

  • Ports
    • 21—FTP
    • 23—TELNET
    • 25—SMTP
    • 53—DNS
    • 80—HTTP
    • 110—POP3
    • 143—IMAP
    • 443—HTTPS
    • 3389—RDP
  • Protocols
    • DHCP
    • DNS
    • LDAP
    • SNMP
    • SMB
    • SSH
    • SFTP
  • TCP vs. UDP

2.5 Compare and contrast wireless networking standards and encryption types.

  • Standards
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n
    • Speeds, distances and frequencies
  • Encryption types
    • WEP, WPA, WPA2, TKIP, AES

2.6 Install, configure, and deploy a SOHO wireless/wired router using appropriate settings.

  • MAC filtering
  • Channels (1—11)
  • Port forwarding, port triggering
  • SSID broadcast (on/off)
  • Wireless encryption
  • Firewall
  • DHCP (on/off)
  • DMZ
  • NAT
  • WPS
  • Basic QoS

2.7 Compare and contrast Internet connection types and features.

  • Cable
  • DSL
  • Dial-up
  • Fiber
  • Satellite
  • ISDN
  • Cellular (mobile hotspot)
  • Line of sight wireless internet service
  • WiMAX

2.8 Identify various types of networks.

  • LAN
  • WAN
  • PAN
  • MAN
  • Topologies
    • Mesh
    • Ring
    • Bus
    • Star
    • Hybrid

2.9 Compare and contrast network devices their functions and features.

  • Hub
  • Switch
  • Router
  • Access point
  • Bridge
  • Modem
  • NAS
  • Firewall
  • VoIP phones
  • Internet appliance

2.10 Given a scenario, use appropriate networking tools.

  • Crimper
  • Multimeter
  • Toner probe
  • Cable tester
  • Loopback plug
  • Punchdown tool

3.0 Laptops 11%

3.1 Install and configure laptop hardware and components.

  • Expansion options
    • Express card /34
    • Express card /54
    • PCMCIA
    • SODIMM
    • Flash
  • Hardware/device replacement
    • Keyboard
    • Hard Drive (2.5 vs. 3.5)
    • Memory
    • Optical drive
    • Wireless card
    • Mini-PCIe
    • screen
    • DC jack
    • Battery
    • Touchpad
    • Plastics
    • Speaker
    • System board
    • CPU

3.2 Compare and contrast the components within the display of a laptop.

  • Types
    • LCD
    • LED
    • OLED
    • Plasma
  • Wi-Fi antenna connector/placement
  • Inverter and its function
  • Backlight

3.3 Compare and contrast laptop features.

  • Special function keys
    • Dual displays
    • Wireless (on/off)
    • Volume settings
    • Screen brightness
    • Bluetooth (on/off)
    • Keyboard backlight
  • Docking station vs. port replicator
  • Physical laptop lock and cable lock

4.0 Printers 11%

4.1 Explain the differences between the various printer types and summarize the associated imaging process.

  • Laser
    • Imaging drum, fuser assembly, transfer belt, transfer roller, pickup rollers, separate pads, duplexing assembly
    • Imaging process: processing, charging, exposing, developing, transferring, fusing and cleaning
  • Inkjet
    • Ink cartridge, print head, roller, feeder, duplexing assembly, carriage and belt
    • Calibration
  • Thermal
    • Feed assembly, heating element
    • Special thermal paper
  • Impact
    • Print head, ribbon, tractor feed
    • Impact paper

4.2 Given a scenario, install, and configure printers.

  • Use appropriate printer drivers for a given operating system
  • Print device sharing
    • Wired
      • USB
      • Parallel
      • Serial
      • Ethernet
    • Wireless
      • Bluetooth
      • 802.11x
      • Infrared (IR)
    • Printer hardware print server
  • Printer sharing
    • Sharing local/networked printer via Operating System settings

4.3 Given a scenario, perform printer maintenance.

  • Laser
    • Replacing toner, applying maintenance kit, calibration, cleaning
  • Thermal
    • Replace paper, clean heating element, remove debris
  • Impact
    • Replace ribbon, replace print head, replace paper

5.0 Operational Procedures 11%

5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures.

  • ESD straps
  • ESD mats
  • Self-grounding
  • Equipment grounding
  • Personal safety
    • Disconnect power before repairing PC
    • Remove jewelry
    • Lifting techniques
    • Weight limitations
    • Electrical fire safety
    • CRT safety—proper disposal
    • Cable management
  • Compliance with local government regulations

5.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls.

  • MSDS documentation for handling and disposal
  • Temperature, humidity level awareness and proper ventilation
  • Power surges, brownouts, blackouts
    • Battery backup
    • Surge suppressor
  • Protection from airborne particles
    • Enclosures
    • Air filters
  • Dust and debris
    • Compressed air
    • Vacuums
  • Component handling and protection
    • Antistatic bags
  • Compliance to local government regulations

5.3 Given a scenario, demonstrate proper communication and professionalism.

  • Use proper language—avoid jargon, acronyms, slang when applicable
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Listen and do not interrupt the customer
  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Be on time (if late contact the customer)
  • Avoid distractions
    • Personal calls
    • Talking to co-workers while interacting with customers
    • Personal interruptions
  • Dealing with difficult customer or situation
    • Avoid arguing with customers and/or being defensive
    • Do not minimize customer’s problems
    • Avoid being judgmental
    • Clarify customer statements (ask open ended questions to narrow the scope of the problem, restate the issue or question to verify understanding)
  • Set and meet expectations/timeline and communicate status with the customer
    • Offer different repair/replacement options if applicable
    • Provide proper documentation on the services provided
    • Follow up with customer/user at a later date to verify satisfaction
  • Deal appropriately with customers confidential materials
    • Located on a computer, desktop, printer, etc.

5.4 Explain the fundamentals of dealing with prohibited content/activity.

  • First response
    • Identify
    • Report through proper channels
    • Data/device preservation
  • Use of documentation/documentation changes
  • Chain of custody
    • Tracking of evidence/documenting process
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