CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ domain 3: Hardware — What you need to know for the exam

June 27, 2022 by Greg Belding

The CompTIA A+ certification verifies that the cert holder has the equivalent of 12 months of hands-on experience working as a help desk support technician, desktop support technician, or field service technician. What would any of these positions be without experience working with the hardware end of computers and related technology? As you can probably guess, hardware has its own domain on the CompTIA A+ Core 1 certification exam.

This article will detail domain 3: Hardware of the A+ Core 1 certification exam. It will explore the information that this domain covers, such as basic cable types and their connectors, knowing when to install the appropriate RAM, selecting and installing storage devices, installing and configuring motherboards, central processing units (CPU), installing and replacing appropriate power supplies, deploying and configuring multifunction devices/printers, and installing and replacing printer consumables. 

Domain 3: Hardware

A+ presents hardware as domain 3 of the Core 1 certification exam. Hardware makes up 25% of the overall certification exam material and is the second most weighty of the A+ Core 1 domains of knowledge. Domain 3 contains seven subdomains, which is more than average for the domains of this certification exam. Below is a full rundown of the A+ domains of knowledge:

  • 1.0  Mobile Devices
  • 2.0  Networking
  • 3.0  Hardware
  • 4.0  Virtualization and Cloud Computing
  • 5.0  Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

What’s new in Domain 3: Hardware?

The biggest difference between domain 3 in this A+ exam version 220-1101 and the A+ previous version is that the number of subdomains has been reduced from 11 to seven. The subdomains have been consolidated; for example, the former cables subdomain and cable connector subdomain have been consolidated into a cables and their connectors subdomain that covers both areas of knowledge. Below is a comparison of the subdomains between this exam version and the previous version.

(220-1001) Domain 3

(220-1101) Domain 3

3.1 Explain basic cable types, features, and their purposes 3.1 Explain basic cable types and their connectors, features, and purposes
3.2 Identify common connector types 3.2 Given a scenario, install the appropriate RAM
3.3 Given a scenario, install RAM types 3.3 Given a scenario, select and install storage devices
3.4 Given a scenario, select, install, and configure storage types 3.4 Given a scenario, install and configure motherboards, central processing units (CPUs), and add-on cards
3.5 Given a scenario, install and configure motherboards, CPUs, and add-on cards 3.5 Given a scenario, install or replace the appropriate power supply
3.6 Explain the purposes and uses of various peripheral types 3.6 Given a scenario, deploy and configure multifunction devices/printers and settings
3.7 Summarize power supply types and features 3.7 Given a scenario, install and replace printer consumables
3.8 Given a scenario, select and configure appropriate components for a custom PC configuration to meet customer specifications or needs
3.9 Given a scenario, install and configure common devices
3.10 Given a scenario, configure SOHO multifunction devices/printers and settings
3.11 Given a scenario, install and maintain various print technologies

 

Domain 3: Hardware exam outline

Below is an outline of the exam material covered by domain 3: hardware.

3.1 Explain basic cable types and their connectors, features, and purposes

This subdomain covers six concepts: network cables, peripheral cables, video cables, hard drive cables, adapters, and connector types. Thirteen connector types are covered, from RJ11 and RJ45 to DB9, which is a slight reduction from the 15 covered by the previous exam version.

3.2 Given a scenario, install the appropriate RAM

Certification candidates will be expected to explain six types of RAM, most notably with the new addition of virtual RAM for this exam update. This subdomain also covers single, double, triple and quad-channel RAM.

3.3 Given a scenario, select and install storage devices

Four categories of material are covered by this subdomain – hard drives, SSDs, drive configurations and removable storage. Exam candidates are expected to explain the different features of each of these storage types, such as the speed of the hard drive, the different form factors of SSDs and the different forms of removable storage such as flash drives and memory cards.

3.4 Given a scenario, install and configure motherboards, central processing units (CPUs) and add-on cards

This subdomain is the most technically challenging in this domain and is the broadest in terms of the information covered. A+ exam candidates will be expected to explain motherboard form factors, connector types, basic input/output system (BIOS)/unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) settings, CPU architecture, encryption, and even cooling. If you wonder which subdomain budding help desk support technicians should cut their teeth on in terms of the nuts and bolts of traditional computer support, it’s this one. 

3.5 Given a scenario, install or replace the appropriate power supply

Material covered by this subdomain spans six considerations regarding power supply, from different input and output types to redundant power supply and wattage rating. 

3.6 Given a scenario, deploy and configure multifunction devices/printers and settings

Exam candidates are expected to understand eight scenario-based concepts, such as proper setup location for these devices, connectivity and security to configuration and network scan services. 

3.7 Given a scenario, install and replace printer consumables

This subdomain covers installing and replacing printer consumables for five different types of printers: laser, inkjet, thermal, impact and 3-D printers. New for this exam update is the addition of resin and print bed for the 3-D printer section of this material.

Summary

Working with hardware is the bread and butter of the help desk support technician role, making hardware a necessary domain on the A+ certification exam. Check out the Infosec CompTIA A+ hub to learn more about the A+ domains of knowledge and other important information you will need to know for the certification exam and A+ careers.

Sources

Posted: June 27, 2022
Author
Greg Belding
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Greg is a Veteran IT Professional working in the Healthcare field. He enjoys Information Security, creating Information Defensive Strategy, and writing – both as a Cybersecurity Blogger as well as for fun.

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