The Geek Test is used by retail supervisors to hire effective PC sales personnel. If a potential employee cannot obtain a score of 50% on the Geek Test, PLEASE hire someone else. How do you know if the successful Geek candidate will function effectively with customers and other employees? If the potential Geek salesperson does not smile at least three times during the interview, look elsewhere.


What is a Geek?

A Geek is a technologically savvy human being with a gift for patience and detail. Geeks are both mechanically skilled and digitally aware. Geeks are of five classes: 1) Able to change computer parts, install operating systems or programs, adjust equipment as required, and communicate effectively with customers, 2) Additionally able to troubleshoot system errors or component failures and interact at a highly successful level with customers, managers and fellow employees, 3) System managers who can develop web pages using, at the minimum, scripting languages, are able to manage networks and demonstrate effective leadership skills, 4) Software Engineers who routinely use computer programming languages as part of a team effort to develop products and understand almost all aspects of software and hardware interaction, and, 5) Cryptography geniuses and exceptional engineers in service to corporations and government who do not speak about the nature of their work. They are quiet, keep to themselves.

The Geek Test is designed to allow businesses to discover Geek level 2 sales personnel. A score of 50% is passing.

These 50 questions should be completed within 30 minutes. There is only one BEST answer. True there may be individual or bizarre exceptions, but the test examines every day PC experience not unique events.

The Geek test.

1. The acronym PC stands for: A) Personal Computer, B) Probable Cause, C) the "Pixel Control" computer monitor algorithm, D) Power Connector.

2. True or false: A modern Core i7 CPU cooler does not require thermal grease.

3. DDR3 Memory is: A) Obsolete, B) Relatively inexpensive, C) No longer used on LGA 2011 or Socket H2 motherboards, D) Capable of being overclocking when a minimum of 4.75 volts is provided to each module.

4. A SSD (Solid State Drive): A) Requires no formatting, B) Need not and should not be routinely defragmented, C) Cannot be partitioned, D) Requires 120v alternating current.

5. Static electricity: A) May destroy computer components, B) May be generated without your being aware, C) Can be controlled by tying a nylon stocking around your wrist, D) A and B.

6. An “Optical Drive”: A) Uses fiber optic data cables, B) May be Blu-ray, DVD or both, C) Always comes with read/write functionality, D) Can be replaced in most systems by using a RAID hard drive array.

7. PCIe video cards: A) Are not needed because all CPUs have a GPU, B) May be needed because not all CPUs have a GPU, C) There is no such thing as a GPU, D) Have been replaced by Thunderbolt Generation 4.0 technology.

8. The voltage supplied to a motherboard is: A) DC (Direct Current), B) Best when modulated between 6 and 12 volts, C) Delivered to the motherboard using a standard 28-pin plug, D) There is no such thing as "Direct Current."

9. A 32-bit Windows OS can recognize: A) USB3 input but not USB2 input, B) Hard disk data but not JPEG or DNG files, C) The latest Retina Scan Security Technology™ (RSST), D) Not more than 4GB of RAM.

10. A UEFI BIOS and a legacy BIOS: A) Are both written to a volatile memory chip (BIOS chip) on the motherboard, B) Both perform a POST function, C) Require a password at boot-up, D) Incorporate TRUE (Technologically Redundant Unique Encryption) technology.

11. Eighty bits per second (80b/s) is equal to how many bytes per second: A) This is nonsense because bits and bytes are not related, B) 640 bytes per second, C) 10B/s, D) 8GB/s.

12. PCIe slots: A) Require PCI add-on or Ethernet cards to function, B) Are designed for AGP video cards, C) Have a larger bandwidth than PCI slots, D) Are not found on ATX motherboards.

13. An Intel Core i7 CPU: A) Is faster than all Core i5 CPUs, B) Requires twice the voltage of a Core i3 CPU, C) Is used in an LGA 1160 motherboard, D) Uses hyper-threading (HT) technology.

14. An ATX motherboard: A) Should flex noticeably when held to support Heat Intensive Computer System (HICS) protocols, B) May have nine holes for mounting and four holes for a CPU cooler, C) Does not use capacitors but employs Tesla coils, D) Requires a 220v power cord.

15. A new computer that fails to boot-up may: A) Require an examination of the boot priority listing in the BIOS, B) Need to have every power connection reexamined, C) Need to be tapped gently using an Intel™ motherboard hammer, D) Require both A and B.

16. SATA devices: A) Are less dependable than USB3 devices, B) Require two 12v modular power supply connectors if larger than 3T (three terabytes), C) Have separate sockets for power and data cables, D) Operate at 20TB/s using generation 4.0 bandwidth.

17. The Windows 8.1 operating system may: A) Be installed on a Corsair™ 360GB SSD, B) Be installed on a SATA drive having 1000 megabytes in one unallocated partition, C) Be installed on an external Western Digital Black 1T hard drive using a USB Generation 3.1 connection, D) Be installed using both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions on the same active partition.

18. For the typical user, hard drives larger than 2T should be partitioned using: A) The UEFI BIOS partitioning table (UBPT), B) The GPT (GUID) partitioning table, C) The MBR partitioning table, D) MS-DOS (Disk Operating System) version 6.2 or later.

19. Computer malware may be transmitted by: A) Downloading an email attachment, B) Using an unknown DVD, C) Copying data from one computer to another using a USB flash drive, D) All of the above.

20. Anti-virus and malware programs are: A) Redundant, so only one or the other is required, B) Both relevant to complete system security, C) Unnecessary if 64-bit UEFI BIOS and Digital Signatures are used in the system, D) Unnecessary if the system is not connected to the Internet.

21. Best practice is to install the Windows operating system: A) When two or more hard disks are attached to the system, B) When one SSD and one hard disk are attached to the system, C) Initially, without any SSD or hard drive but by shadowing system RAM, D) With one SSD or one hard drive attached.

22. A “Keylogger” malware program: A) May be downloaded along with “legitimate” software. B) Can be very hard to detect, C) May forward private data and passwords to a criminal network, D) All of the above.

23. Hard disk and SSD (solid state drives) must be: A) Installed, partitioned and formatted, B) Installed, formatted and partitioned, C) Installed partitioned and indexed, D) Installed, defragmented and formatted.

24. DDR3 RAM modules are: A) Interchangeable between recently manufactured ATX motherboards, B) Resistant to static electricity damage C) Easily broken if mishandled, D) Provided with a notch among the pins for proper mounting.

25. A computer case will not have: A) A motherboard tray, B) 5.25 inch bays, C) A reset switch, D) Four or eight DDR3 RAM slots in the DIMM slider tray.

26. A backup power supply: A) Should be provided with every new PC, B) Need not add additional weight to a PC, C) Is almost never required by policy, D) Is practical in some applications.

27. The difference between a 32-bit and 64-bit operating system (OS) is: A) Irrelevant with high-speed Internet, B) 32-bit systems are faster when processing large video files, C) 64-bit systems are faster when using AutoCAD™ to design nuclear submarines. D) All computer systems presently use 128-bit architecture.

28. All Windows operating system computers: A) Require at least two hard disks or a SSD and one hard disk, B) Require either one SSD or one Hard Disk, B) Require at least two SSDs or two Hard disks, D) Require 16GB to 32GB of RAM.

29. The actual frequency of DDR RAM is: A) Twice the stated MHz, B) Four times the rated MHz in a quad-channel system, C) One-half the stated MHz, D) RAM frequencies are measured in GHz not MHz.

30. Installing a Windows OS using one hard drive or one SSD prevents: A) The system from accessing more than 4GB of RAM, B) Other hard disks from being added at a later time, C) Computer malware from being written within hard disk firmware, D) System files from being written to several drives.

31. “Hot-plugging” SATA drives: A) Is common practice when using an Intel Core i7 CPU with a 64-bit operating system, B) Is simply not an issue at all in a modern computer, C) May require enabling in the system BIOS, D) Is not possible.

32. Newer SATAe drives will: A) Require a special plug, B) Require a matching eSATA drive, C) Run more slowly but cooler than legacy SATA drives, D) Require formatting using Windows NT Single Boot System (NTBS) technology.

33. Selecting options within a UEFI BIOS is: A) Never advisable, B) Difficult even for experienced users, C) Never done without first removing the CMOS battery, D) Best accomplished while consulting the motherboard’s manual and making a limited number of changes at any one time.

34. True or false: A microwave that uses 450 watts of household current is using the same amount of power as a computer that is using 450 watts.

35. True or false: A computer power supply is simply a large transformer. It will not regulate voltage fluctuations.

36. Configuring a new hard drive, added to an existing Windows OS, requires the use of: A) Windows File Explorer, B) The “Find New Hardware” function, C) The supplied Allen wrench, D) The Disk Management utility.

37. If a system fails to boot, the first thing to do is: A) Shut down the system, wait one hour then reboot, B) Inspect the BIOS to insure that the Boot Sequence is set to, the “Optical Drive,” C) Inspect the BIOS to insure that the Boot Sequence will load a disk containing an “Active Partition,” D) Remove and replace the CMOS battery.

38. Enabling Java Script (default) on web browsers: A) Occasionally results in a malware infection, B) Is less risky when Java is kept up to date, C) May be allowed on one web browser but not another for added security, D) All of the above.

39. A modern AMD or Nvidia video card: A) Works best when using 4GB of DDR3 RAM, B) Works very well for most users when equipped with 2GB of VRAM, C) Requires an x4 PCIe slot, D) Requires a monitor having a Display Port 1.2d connection.

40. A CPU's cooling system may include: A) A metal heatsink equipped with heat pipes and a fan, B) A CPU waterblock, pump, tubing, radiator and fan, C) A Push-Pull fan system, D) Any of the above.

41. Installing a motherboard’s panel header cables: A) Is easy when using a x16 PCIe slot, B) Is easy when using a ASUS Q-connector, C) Is difficult without needle nosed pliers, D) Is not required when assembling a Haswell-E system.

42. Most users will not benefit from: A) Three video cards in PCIe slots, B) 128Gb of RAM, C) An “overclocked” CPU, D) Any of the above.

43. True or False: A 1200 watt power supply is well beyond anything used in a home system.

44. A modern Intel CPU requires, minimally: A) A heatsink, thermal grease and a fan, B) A heatsink and two fans, C) A well fitted liquid cooling system WITHOUT thermal compound, D) One large copper thermocouple and an attached thermostat.

45. DDR3 or DDR4 memory may also be called: A) Sticks, B) DIMMS, C) Modules, D) All of the above.

46. A computer monitor: A) Uses RGB (Red, Green and Blue) to produce colors, black, and white, B) Uses Pixels as the smallest unit of color information, C) May display the sRGB or Adobe™ RGB color space, D) All of the above.

47. Modern ATX or mini ATX motherboards always require: A) One sound Card in an x16 PCIe slot, B) RAM modules not listed in the qualified vendor’s list, C) One or more IDE hard drives, D) A unique power supply cable just for the CPU.

48. True or false: A PC’s “chipset” and PCH refer to the same thing.

49. Power supplies are typically attached within a computer case using: A) Six bolts, B) Two lateral snaps, C) Four screws, D) Tricorder flanges.

50. A motherboard may have: A) A heat pipe connecting CPU, VRM heatsinks, and a chipset heatsink, B) A separate BIOS and CMOS chip, C) A heatsink over the PCH, D) All of the above.

You may now put down your pencil.

Answers: 1 A, 2 False, 3 B, 4 B, 5 D, 6 B, 7 B, 8 A, 9 D, 10 B, 11 C, 12 C, 13 D, 14 B, 15 D, 16 C, 17 A, 18 B, 19 D, 20 B, 21 D, 22 D, 23 A, 24 D, 25 D, 26 D, 27 C, 28 B, 29 C, 30 D, 31 C, 32 A, 33 D, 34 True, 35 False, 36 D, 37 C, 38 D, 39 B, 40 D, 41 B, 42 D, 43 False, 44 A, 45 D, 46 D, 47 D, 48 True, 49 C, 50 D.

Copyright Ed Ruth 2015.

The book "Building Your Own High Performance Computer - The Big Book of Computer Components and Assembly, is available at:

Copyright 2014 Ed Ruth