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Size Matters: Learn About Form Factors and System Cases from PC Pro

Posted by TestOut Staff on

When you look at a desktop computer, what do you see? To some extent, the answer to that question probably depends on your overall knowledge of computer components. The average computer user, whose IT interaction is limited to surfing the web and using a few familiar desktop apps (such as Microsoft Word) probably doesn't notice much more than the shape, color and orientation of the system case. That person probably knows where to find the power button, and would recognize a USB port, a headphone jack, an optical media drive.

A certified PC technician, on the other hand, could tell at a glance what type of system case is in use and what the form factor, or size and configuration, of the motherboard is. That sort of thing has to be second-nature when your job description includes repairing or servicing computers. TestOut Continuing Education's PC Pro course educates you about the different types of motherboard form factors, including:

  • ATX: A 12-inch by 9.6-inch board with a CPU below the power supply
  • Mini-ATX: An 11.2-inch by 8.2-inch board that is often interchangeable with an ATX
  • Micro-ATX: A board that is sometimes smaller than its maximum dimension of 9.6 inches by 9.6 inches
  • Mini-ITX: The smallest ATX-derived board, with a maximum dimension of 6.7 inches by 6.7 inches
  • NLX: An older form factor used for slimline desktop computers
  • BTX: A newer form factor designed to improve system performance and thermal management (cooling)

With LabSim, however, you'll do much more than simply read and memorize form factor factoids. LabSim helps you learn to visually identify computer components — including motherboards — as well as practice installing and modifying them. When you open up a PC for the first time in a hardware repair shop, or as the helpdesk IT guy, you'll know exactly what to expect on the inside of the system case, as well as how to troubleshoot and make repairs. Don't just get a certification. Get the knowledge you need to step in and perform on your first day at a new job. That's the TestOut CE difference.


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