Monday, February 4, 2008

Computer Glossary

Computer Glossary

AGP — A high speed point-to-point channel for attaching a graphics card to a computer’s motherboard, primarily to assist in the acceleration of 3D computer graphics

ATA — Advanced Technology Attachment, It is the primary standard for connecting storage to PC’s. It is also known as IDE.

ATAPI — Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface, a set of extensions to the ATA standards to allow ATA CD/DVD drives and tape drives.

ATX — Refer to the shape and size of motherboards.

BIOS — Basic Input/Output System, a software run by the computer to prepare the machine so other software programs can load, execute, and assume control of the computer

BUS — A collection of wires through which data is transmitted from one part of a computer to another.

Cache — Cache memory is random access memory that a computer microprocessor can access more quickly than it can access regular RAM. As the microprocessor processes data, it looks first in the cache memory and if it finds the data there (from a previous reading of data), it does not have to do the more time-consuming reading of data from larger memory.

Chipset — It is a group of integrated circuits that can be used together to serve a single function and are therefore manufactured and sold as a unit. For example, one chipset might combine all the microchips needed to serve as the communications controller between a processor and memory and other devices in a computer.

CPU — Central Processing Unit, the central unit in a computer containing the logic circuitry that performs the instructions of a computer’s programs.

Disk Cache — A portion of RAM used to speed up access to data on a disk. The RAM can be part of the disk drive itself or it can be general-purpose RAM in the computer that is reserved for use by the disk drive

Firewire — A form of interface standard that offers high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data services.

Form Factor — The physical shape and size of the motherboard

Front Side Bus (FSB) — The physical bi-directional data connection that carries all electronic signal information between the CPU and other devices within the system

Gigabyte GB — A measure of computer data storage capacity and is "roughly" a billion bytes. A gigabyte is two to the 30th power, or 1,073,741,824 in decimal notation.

Graphics Accelerator — A type of video adapter that contains its own processor to boost performance levels. These processors are specialized for computing graphical transformations, so they achieve better results than the general-purpose CPU used by the computer

Hard Disk — A magnetic disk on which you can store computer data

IDE — An interface for mass storage devices, such as the hard drive or CD-ROM drive

Kilobyte KB — A measure of computer data storage capacity and is "roughly" a thousand bytes. A gigabyte is two to the 10th power, or 1,024 in decimal notation.

Megabyte MB — A measure of computer processor storage and real and virtual memory, a megabyte is 2 to the 20th power bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes in decimal notation.

Megahertz MHz — One MHz represents one million cycles per second. The speed of microprocessors, called the clock speed, is measured in megahertz. For example, a microprocessor that runs at 200 MHz executes 200 million cycles per second. Each computer instruction requires a fixed number of cycles, so the clock speed determines how many instructions per second the microprocessor can execute. To a large degree, this controls how powerful the microprocessor is

Parallel Port — It is a type of physical interface used in conjunction with a cable to connect separate peripherals in a computer system. Over a parallel port, binary information is transferred in parallel: each bit in a particular value is sent simultaneously as an electrical pulse across a separate wire

PCI — A computer bus for attaching peripheral devices to a computer motherboard

PCI Express — An implementation of the existing PCI computer bus, but it is much faster

Pipelining — A technique used in advanced microprocessors where the microprocessor begins executing a second instruction before the first has been completed. That is, several instructions are in the pipeline simultaneously, each at a different processing stage

RAID — Redundant Array of Independent Disks, a set of standards for teaming disk drives to improve fault tolerance and performance.

RAM — Random Access Memory, a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes.

Serial ATA (SATA) — A computer bus technology primarily designed for transfer of data to and from a hard disk.

Serial Port — It is a serial communication physical interface through which information transfers in or out one bit at a time

Virtual Memory — It is a concept that, when implemented by a computer and its operating system, allows programmers to use a very large range of memory or storage addresses for stored data. The computing system maps the programmer’s virtual addresses to real hardware storage addresses. Usually, the programmer is freed from having to be concerned about the availability of data storage.

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