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Hardware Fundamentals
Semester 2, 2013
Deadline: 8:30 am, Tuesday 6th May, 2014
Course Weighting
: Part 1: 10% Part 2: 5%

Department of Computing


This is an individual assignment. This assignment must be a product of your own work except for the use of resources supplied with the course, discussions conducted by the lecturer during class time, and other assistance shown as acceptable in the section Assistance to Other Students.


Part 1:

10% weight
Task 1 100 marks
Part 2: 5% weight
Task 1 25 marks
Task 2 40 marks
Task 3 35 marks


Marks will be deducted for failure to follow the Department of Computing Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Assessment Items, in particular, sections 7 and 8 (referencing and plagiarism). Plagiarism will be reported to the Programme Director who may award zero marks or refer the matter to the Department Discipline Committee, who has powers of suspension/exclusion.

Please make sure you keep a backup copy of your assignment.

Marks will be deducted if you fail to draw upon appropriate professional and academic literature in your writing and if the assignment is not written and presented in a professional manner.

You can quote other people`s work provided that you cite and reference them correctly in your report. However, the majority of your report should be your own ideas and thoughts written in your words.

Your report must end with a section giving references - this will show where you got your source material from. Please use APA 6 referencing style.

Do you want to do the best that you can do on this assignment and improve your grades?

You could:

Talk it over with your lecturer

Visit Te Tari Awhina or Maia for learning advice and support

Visit the Centre for Pacific Development and Support

Contact the USU Advocate for independent advice

For contact details and more information, go to


A report submitted in a folder (with the assignment cover sheet that is available on Moodle in the assignment folder) Warning: failure to use this cover sheet will result in 5 marks being deducted).

Assignment Hand-in

A softcopy of your assignment needs to be submitted electronically via Moodle BEFORE 8:30am on Tuesday 6th May.As well as this, you must submit a hard copy during *YOUR* next practical session after the 6th.

Electronic submission of a copy of the paper-based version is required for ALL assignments. This copy will only be used as a backup for the paper based version, and must be submitted by Tuesday 6th, before 8:30am.

Assignments which are submitted up to one day late (Tuesday after 8:30am to Wednesday 8:30am) will be marked, but cannot achieve more than a C- (pass only) grade. Assignments handed in more than 24 hours late will not be marked unless Special Assessment Circumstances apply. So, it is better to hand in an incomplete assignment on time.

Special Assessment Circumstances

A student, who due to circumstances beyond his or her control, misses a test, final exam or an assignment deadline or considers his or her performance in a test, final exam or an assignment to have been adversely affected, should complete the Special Assessment Circumstances (SAC) form available from the Student Central.

Within any semester, a student may have only one SAC per course. When requesting an SAC for an assignment, the SAC must be submitted (along with work completed to date) within the time frame of the extension requested; i.e. if the Doctor`s certificate is for one (1) day, then the SAC and work completed must be submitted within one (1) day.

Part 1

Task 1:

The first task in this assignment tests your knowledge of what is required to build a fully-functioning computer system, and prompts you to research certain aspects of building a system. Imagine you are going to build your own computer: What will you need to know? What are you going to use your computer for?

The objective of Task 1 is to design a complete system for EACH of the 3 categories shown below. There are budget limitations on each category which cannot be exceeded.

1. Basic Home-user System $1600

2. Home Office System $2200

3. Gaming System $3200

Important points/requirements:

- Although you are building to a budget, don`t choose more expensive parts just because you have some allocated budget left over. You need to justify your choice. Note that this goes both ways though - some parts you will need to spend more on that usual, depending on what category you are building for. Either way, justify your choice.

- Create a spreadsheet listing all of the components, their prices, the place or website you could purchase, the cost of each component, and an explanation of why you would choose this part.

- Parts must be available in New Zealand, and in $NZ. I.e., not a part that can be shipped here from overseas. Use NZ stores or websites only.

- Parts must be available at the time you search for them, for the quoted price.

- Full details of each component must be provided. - i.e., not just "Intel i5 processor".

- Include peripheral devices in your systems builds - i.e., a home office system will probably need several peripheral devices that a gaming system/basic home system doesn`t.

Questions to ask yourself before beginning:

- What sort of system are you building? What tasks are required of this system?

- What hardware components would you need? (Note that many will be similar - i.e., all computers require a power supply - however some parts may be different for specific machines)

- What hardware components are necessary/best-suited to the tasks the system will undertake? ( THIS will probably require some careful research)

- Which parts are compatible with other parts?

- What is your price budget?

- How can you justify choosing certain components over others? (i.e., if building a gaming system, why would you choose a ~$100 mouse instead of a basic one ~$15?)

Useful resources: - probably the best resource for this task. Gives a comprehensive list of components that are (mostly) available in New Zealand. Check each store though, and make sure of this. - provides a lot of practical information about parts. Essentially a big forum, and because of this you can get a bit of conflicting information. Be careful with your research. - has some links to some basics that might be useful.

Part 2 (Assignment Quiz)

Task 1:

Research the phrase "RAID Hard Drive Arrays", and write a short report (several paragraphs, 250min - 350max words) on what a "RAID Hard Drive" configuration is, giving a brief description of these 4 common RAID configurations:

- RAID 0
- RAID 1
- RAID 5
- RAID 10

Include in your report when and where these RAID configurations could be used, and include the advantages and disadvantages of each configuration.

Task 2:

Research the terms "SLI - Scalable Link Interface", and "AMD CrossfireX" in terms of graphics cards. Write a short report (several paragraphs, 250min - 350max words) on these two graphics card set-ups, comparing each one and discussing advantages and disadvantages.

Where would either of these set-ups be used?

What different configurations of SLI and CrossfireX are there?

Task 3:

Discuss what preventive maintenance is, in terms of computer hardware and software. Write a short report (several paragraphs, 250min - 350max words) on preventive maintenance tasks. Be sure to detail how often each task should be carried out, and under what circumstances.

Question Set #55

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