Top 25 Computer Hardware Interview Questions and Answers

As companies rapidly embrace the computerization of operations, the demand for computer hardware operators and specialists continues swelling. Computer hardware consists of the computer’s physical parts such as the monitor, keyboard, motherboard, and graphic card.

Some of the few positions touching on computer hardware are hardware and network engineer, desktop support engineering, hardware engineering, network system manager, and trainee engineer, to mention a few.

This article looks at some of the common computer hardware interview questions that you should expect should you decide to seek to pursue the careers mentioned above. Let’s dive right into it.

1.    Why Are You Interested in This Position?

I am passionate about computers and everything to do with technology. I have worked in this field and gathered lots of experience that will come in handy in the provided job description. Therefore, I can uphold the high standards set by the IT department of this company or even push it further if given a chance.  

2.    Have You Ever Encountered a Heat Sink? What’s Its Use and How Important Is It?

I have encountered a heat sink, owing to the nature of this job. It is a component that lowers the temperature of a computer or any device with a microprocessor. It plays an important role in such devices, given that overheating has negative impacts on the processor. If it is tampered with or fixed poorly, the device will be forced to shut down automatically to prevent damage to the processor.

3.    In Your Own Experience, What Do You Think Causes the Overheating of a Microprocessor?

In my career, I have discovered three different causes of microprocessor heating. The most common is the poor connection of the processor fan, which inhibits proper ventilation. It also occurs when the heat sink is not in contact with the processor or if the voltage supply is incompatible.

4.    What Four Things Would You Look for If a Colleague Called You to Report No Display on Her Computer?

There are four main reasons why a computer screen may fail to display any information. Therefore, I will first check for power-related issues. This includes checking whether all the corrections are okay. If I cannot establish any problem with the power connection, I will check for heat sink-related issues, improper jumper settings, and any CPU fan problem.

5.    Could You Please Explain the Main Difference Between Main and Cache Memory in a Computer?

The main memory in a computer, also known as the Random-Access Memory, stores the operating system software, software applications, and any other information that guarantees the Central Processing Unit fast and direct access for performing different tasks.

On the other hand, cache memory refers to the memory area between the RAM and the processor. Its increase improves the speed of the system.

6.    Could You Please differentiate Between SCRAM and DRAM?

SCRAM, fully explained as the static RAM, stores every bit of data on MOSFETs. It is therefore used in devices that require extremely fast data access without a high capacity. Examples include CPU caches, router buffers, hard drives, and printers.

On the other hand, DRAM stores each bit of data in a paired transistor and capacitor. It is fully known as Dynamic RAM and must be refreshed severally to maintain data given that capacitors leak electricity and therefore loses data fast.

7.    Tell Us What Hyperthreading Is and Its Uses

Before explaining what hyperthreading is, I first need to explain what a thread is. A thread is a series of instructions sent to the Central Processing Unit. Hyperthreading is a technology that effectively uses the spare processing cycles.

Processors that incorporate this technology have a duplicate set of registers that hold the data required to execute a thread. These can also be used to spend the spare computation cycles working on a different thread.

8.    You Are Familiar with Intel Celeron and Pentium Family of Processors. Could You Please Tell Us the Differences?

A little bit of research reveals that Celeron processors are intended for normal home computer use, making them lower-end options. It is reported that the best processor in this category has an L2 Cache of 128 kb, a core voltage of 1.75V, and a clock speed limit of roughly 2.0GHz.

On the other hand, Pentium processors are more powerful. They have a higher L2 Cache and clock speed and run at a lower voltage than their counterpart.

9.    Differentiate Between CISC and RISC

RISC, fully known as Reduced Instruction Set Computer and CISC, Complex Instruction Set Computers, are the design foundations of computer chipsets. The former grew popularly in the 1990s and influenced many processors used at the time, especially in the enterprise business world.

10. Outline the Difference Between Multitasking and Multiprocessing

In multitasking, the processor can perform several programs at once by fast switching through all of them. It does not involve several processors. On the other hand, multiprocessing enables a processor to perform several functions and programs simultaneously with the help of several processors.

11. Do You Prefer Working Alone or In a Team?

I have been part of several projects in my career. I have both worked alone and in teams. I can handle both. I believe that teamwork is great since it allows sharing ideas and ensures that work is done faster. My skills have also increased tremendously, thanks to the different times I have worked with a team of individuals.

I also appreciate independent work as I believe that some jobs are better done alone. However, I have no problem with both. I am highly flexible and can work both independently and as part of a team.

12. Part of Your Work Involves Dealing with Microprocessors. Could You Please Tell Us Some of The Factors That You Have Discovered to Affect the Speed of Microprocessors?

There are four main factors that I have found to affect the speed of microprocessors. The most common one is the number of instructions build in the microprocessor, followed by its bandwidth. The number of transistors a processor has also affects its speed as well as the clock speed.

13. Have You Ever Found Yourself in a Situation Where a Computer Refuses To Work Even After Exhausting All Your Knowledge and Experience? If Yes, What Did You Do?

A colleague once called me to help with his computer that was misbehaving. It stopped displaying abruptly and just went numb. I checked for connectivity issues, CPU fan problems, jump start-related issues, but everything seemed to be intact. After spending over five minutes trying to diagnose the problem to no avail, I walked to my supervisor and asked for help. We later discovered that the problem was bigger than we thought and had to ship the computer back to the manufacturer for repair.

14. In Your Experience, What Do You Think Are the Main Differences Between a Serial and Parallel Port?

I’d first like to mention that these two ports facilitate data transfer, be it in and out of the computer. However, for serial port transmission, only one bit moves at a time. This is because most of these ports are of RS-232C or RS-422 standards.

On the other hand, a parallel port uses a 25-pin connector to connect external devices such as printers, computers, and a wide range of devices with high bandwidth. Therefore, unlike in serial ports, this uses parallel data transmission.

15. Mention Some of the Components of a Microprocessor

A microprocessor consists of several components. These include the arithmetic and logic unit responsible for math computations, including division, addition, subtraction, and different Boolean functions. The registers hold data temporarily for the microprocessors, whereas the control units receive data from the Central Processing Unit before moving it from one microprocessor to another.

Another important component is the memory cache which speeds up the computing process, saving the Central Processing unit the stress of retrieving data through the slower RAM.

16. Have You Ever Dealt with Microprocessor System Interrupts? What Are the Different Types?

There are two types of microprocessor system interrupts: internal and external. Internal interrupts are also known as software interrupts, are normally caused by a software instruction. They are more or less similar to a branch or jump instruction. On the other hand, an external interruption is caused by an external hardware module and is normally known as a hardware interrupt.

17. In Your Opinion, What Is the Easiest Way to Come Up with Cache Locations to Store Memory Blocks?

I believe that direct mapping is one of the easiest and most accurate ways of defining cache locations in which memory blocks can be stored. This method maps every main memory block into one possible cache line. Keep in mind that in a direct-mapped cache structure, the cache exists in several sets, each having a single line.

The memory block can only use one cache line based on its address. The cache can then be fixed as a column matrix.

18. What Do You Understand by Virtual Memory?

Virtual memory refers to the memory management feature in the operating system. It makes use of both software and hardware, thus filling in for physical memory shortage. It achieves this by temporarily transferring data from the Random-Access Memory to the disk.

19. What Is the Difference Between Input, Output, and Storage Devices?

An input device is used to feed data into a computer. On the other hand, output devices are used used to receive data back from the same computer. This can either be through display, projection, and physical reproduction. Input devices include the keyboard, mouse, scanner, whereas output devices are the printer, projector, and monitor.

Storage devices do not feed or receive data but instead store it in the computer. The three different types of storage devices are magnetic, optical, and solid-state devices.

20. Some of The Common Terms Used In this Field are Microprocessor and Interface. What are These?

The microprocessor is the primary component of any computer. It is a tiny programmable device that processes data. In personal computers, it is used interchangeably with the Central Processing Unit. On the other hand, an interface is a communication channel that allows the exchange of information between computers and several devices.

21. The Front Side Bus Is Different from The Back Side Bus. Could You Please Tell the Difference?

The front-side bus, commonly known as the system bus, forges a connection between the Central Processing Unit and the main memory. On the other hand, the backside bus connects the CPU to a level 2 cache. The backside bus, therefore, has a faster clock speed than the front side bus.

22. What Do You Understand by Packaging a Microprocessor and What Are the Different Packaging Available?

Packaging is the process by which a computer’s microprocessor is connected to its motherboard. The different types of microprocessor packaging are LGA, SECC, SPGA, and PGA. LGA or the land grid array is the most common. Such connection is facilitated by an LGA socket, which allows the CPU to fit into a motherboard.

23. You Must Have Come Across Intel Pentium. What Is It?

Intel Pentium refers to a series of microprocessors that Intel Corporation first released. They have been used in several personal computers ever since 1993.

24. It is Visible from Your CV That You Have Been in This Industry for Quite Some Time. Could You Mention Any Difference Between Pentium III and IV?

Pentium III and IV are some of the recent Pentium models ever since the conception of base Pentium in 1993. There are two main differences between these two models. The bus speed in the Pentium III processor is 133 MHz, whereas Pentium IV has the lowest rating of 400MHz.

The Pentium 4s is also smaller than Pentium III.

25. Why Should a CPU Fan Be Placed in a System? Does It Have Any Essence?

A CPU fan is placed in a system to cool down the system and make it more functioning.


These twenty-five options sum up some of the most frequently asked interview questions in computer hardware interview questions. We wish you all the best in your interview!

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