adapter card
A small circuit board inserted in an expansion slot and used to comunicate between the system bus and the peripheral device. Also called an interface  card.
binary number system
The number system used by computers; it has only two numbers, 0 and 1, called binary digits or bits.
BIOS (basic input/output system )
Firmware that can control much of computers input/output functions, such as communicatiion with the floopy drive and the monitor.
BIOS setup
The program in system BIOS that can change the values in CMOS RASM. Also called CMOS setup.
bit
(binary digit)A 0 or 1 used by the binary number system.
byte
A collection of eight bits that can represent a single character.
cards
Adapter boards or interface cards placed into expansion slots to expand the function of a computer, allowing it to communicate with external devices such as monitors or speakers.
central processing unit (CPU)
Also called a microprocessor or processor.The heart and brain of the compute, which recieves data input, processes information, and executes instructions.
chipset
A group of chips on the motherboard that controls the timing and flow of data and instructions to and from the CPU.
clock speed
The , or frequency, expressed in MHz, that controls activity on the motherboard and is generated by a crystal or oscillator somewhere on the motherboard.
CMOS (complementary metaloxide semiconductor)
The technology used to manufacture microchips. CMOS chips require less electricity, hold data longer after the electricity is turned off, and produce less heat than earlier technologies. The configuration or setup chip is CMOS chip.
CMOS RAM
Memory contained on the CMOS configuration chip.
CMOS setup
The program in system Bios that can change the values in CMOS RAM. Also called BIOS setup.
data bus
The lines on system bus that the CPU uses to send and recieve data.
data path size
The number of lines on a bus that can hold data, for example,8,16,32,and 64 lines, which can accommodate 8,16,32, and 64 bits at a time.
DIMM (dual inline memory module)
A miniature circuit board installed on a motherboard to hold memory. DIMMs can hold up to 4GB of RAM on a single module.
expansion cards
A circuit board inserted into a slot on the motherboard to enhance the capability of the computer.
expansion slots
A narrow slot on the motherboard where an expansion card can be inserted. Expansion slots connect to a bus on the motherboard.
firmware
Software that is permanently stored in a chip. The BIOS on a motherboard is an example of firmware.
Flash ROM
ROM that can be reprogrammed or changed without replacing chips.
floppy disk drive
A drive that can hold either a 5-1/2 inch or 3-1/2 inch floppy disk. Also called floppy drive.
floppy drive
A drive that can hold either a 5-1/2 inch or 3-1/2 inch floppy disk. Also called floppy drive.
front side bus (FSB)
The bus between the CPU and memory on the motherboard. The bus frequency in documentation is called the system speed,such as 400MHz. Also called the memory bus, front-side-bus, local bus, or host bus.
gigahertz (GHz)
One thousand Mhz, or one billion cycles per second.
graphics card.
An interface cardtgatcaptures video input and saves it to a file on the hard drive.
hard copy
Output from a printer to paper
hard disk drive (HDD)
The main secondary storage device of a
PC. Two technologies are currently used by hard
drives: magnetic and solid state. Also called a hard disk drive (HDD).
hardware
The physical components that constitute
the computer system, such as the monitor, the
keyboard, the motherboard, and the printer.
hertz (Hz)
Unit of measurement for frequency,
calculated in terms of vibrations, or cycles per second. For example, for 16-bit stereo sound, a frequency of 44,000Hz is used.
host bus
The bus between the CPU and memory
on the motherboard. The bus frequency in
documentation is called the system speed, such as
400 MHz. Also called the memory bus, front-side
bus, local bus, or host bus.
keyboard
A common input device through which
data and instructions may be typed into computer memory.
magnetic hard drive
One of two technologies used
by hard drives where data is stored as magnetic
spots on disks that rotate at a high speed. The
other technology is solid state drive (SSD
main board
The main board in the computer, Also
called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips,
DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged into the motherboard
megahertz (MHz)
One million Hz, or one million
cycles per second. See hertz (Hz).
memory
Physical microchips that can hold data and
programming, located on the motherboard or expansion cards.
microprocessor
Also called a
microprocessor or processor. The heart and brain
of the computer, which receives data input,
processes information, and executes instructions.
monitor
The most commonly used output device for
displaying text and graphics on a computer
motherboard
The main board in the computer, Also
called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips,
DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged into the motherboard
mouse
A pointing and input device that allows the
user to move a cursor around a screen and select items with the click of a button.
nonvolatile memory
Refers to a kind of RAM that is stable
and can hold data as long as electricity is powering the memory.
parallel ATA (PATA)
An older IDE cabling method that
uses a 40-pin flat or round data cable or an 80-
conductor cable and a 40-pin IDE connector.
parallel port
A female 25-pin port on a computer
that can transmit data in parallel, 8 bits at a time,
and is usually used with a printer. The names for parallel ports are LPT1 and LPT2.
peripheral device
Devices that communicate with the
CPU but are not located directly on the
motherboard, such as the monitor, floppy drive, printer, and mouse.
port
(1) As applied to services running on a computer, a
number assigned to a process on a computer so that
the process can be found by TCP/IP. Also called a
port address or port number. (2) Another name for
an I/O address. See also I/O address. (3) A physical
connector, usually at the back of a computer, that
allows a cable from a peripheral device, such as a printer, mouse, or modem, to be attached.
power supply
A box inside the computer case that
supplies power to the motherboard and other
installed devices. Power supplies provide 3.3, 5, and
12 volts DC. Also called a power supply unit (PSU).
primary storage
Temporary storage on the
motherboard used by the CPU to process data and
instructions. Memory is considered primary storage.
printer
A peripheral output device that produces
printed output to paper. Different types include dot matrix, ink-jet, and laser printers.
processor
Also called a
microprocessor or processor. The heart and brain
of the computer, which receives data input,
processes information, and executes instructions.
program
A set of step-by-step instructions to a
computer. Some are burned directly into chips, while
others are stored as program files. Programs are
written in languages such as Visual Basic and C++.
protocol
A set of rules and standards that two entities use for communication
RAM (random access memory)
Memory modules on
the motherboard containing microchips used to
temporarily hold data and programs while the
CPU processes both. Information in RAM is lost
when the PC is turned off.
ROM (read-only memory)
Chips that contain programming code and cannot be erased.
S/PDIF (Sony-Philips Digital Interface) sound port
A sound port that connects to an external home
theater audio system, providing digital output and the best signal quality.
secondary storage
Storage that is remote to the CPU
and permanently holds data, even when the PC is turned off, such as a hard drive.
serial ATA (SATA)
An ATAPI cabling method that
uses a narrower and more reliable cable than the
80-conductor cable. See also parallel ATA.
serial port
A male 9-pin or 25-pin port on a
computer system used by slower I/O devices such
as a mouse or modem. Data travels serially, one bit
at a time, through the port. Serial ports are
sometimes configured as COM1, COM2, COM3,
or COM4.
software
Computer programs, or instructions to
perform a specific task. Software may be BIOS,
OSs, or applications software such as a wordprocessing or spreadsheet program.
solid state device (SSD)
An electronic device with no
moving parts. A storage device that uses memory
chips to store data instead of spinning disks (such
as those used by magnetic hard drives and CD
drives). Examples of solid state devices are jump
drives (Also called key drives or thumb drives),
flash memory cards, and solid state disks used as
hard drives in notebook computers designed for
the most rugged uses. Also called solid state disk
(SSD) or solid state drive (SSD).
system BIOS
BIOS located on the motherboard.
system board
The main board in the computer, Also
called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips,
DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged
into the motherboard
system bus
The bus between the CPU and memory
on the motherboard. The bus frequency in
documentation is called the system speed, such as
400 MHz. Also called the memory bus, front-side bus, local bus, or host bus.
system clock
A line on a bus that is dedicated to
timing the activities of components connected to it.
The system clock provides a continuous pulse that other devices use to time themselves.
trace
A wire on a circuit board that connects two components or devices.
universal serial bus (USB) port
A type of port
designed to make installation and configuration of
I/O devices easy, providing room for as many as 127 devices daisy-chained together
video card
An interface card installed in the
computer to control visual output on a monitor.
Also called display adapter or graphics card.
video memory
Memory used by the video controller.
The memory might be contained on a video card
or be part of system memory. When part of system
memory, the memory is dedicated by Windows to video.
volatile
Refers to a kind of RAM that is temporary,
cannot hold data very long, and must be
frequently refreshed.

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