Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account


System Unit

A case that contains electronic components of the computer used to process data; variety of shapes and sizes; protects the internal electronic components from damage; all computers and mobile devices have one; contains the processor, video card, sound card, memory, drive bay, and power supply


System board; main circuit board of the system unit; has many components attached to it and built into it; memory chips are installed in memory cards (modules) that go into it


Small piece of semiconducting material, often silicon, which integrated circuits are etched; birthplace of the silicon _____= Texas. Starts as silicon; melts down to purify and form a single unit, then electricity can flow through it purely; Slice the crystal = wafers; wafers must be totally cleaned = process of etching photolithography; wafer full of ______; must be cut once cup up, package it; requires cooling


CPU; interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate a computer


Personal computer processor chip

Processor Core

Contains the circuitry necessary to execute instructions

Multi-Core Processor

A chip with 2 or more separate processor cores


Chip with 2 separate processor cores


Chip with 4 separate processor cores; slower clock speed than a single core processor, but increases performance

System Unit

Contain a control unit and an arithmetic logic unit (ALU); work together to perform processing operations

Control Unit

Component of the processor that directs and coordinates most of the operations in the computer; interprets each instruction and initiates the action

Arithmetic Logic Unit

Performs arithmetic, comparison, and other operations; basic calculations, compares one data item with another

Machine Cycle

Fetch, decode, execute, and store

System Clock

Small quartz crystal circuit that controls the timing of all computer operations; 3 ways that determine how fast a computer is = clock speed, memory, word size

Parallel Processing

Uses multiple processors all at once to execute a single task


This only functions on a digital signal; 2 discrete states: on (1, red) and off (0, green)

Binary System

Number system that has 2 digits, 0 and 1, called bits


Binary digit; smallest unit of data; 8 of these = a byte


Provides combination of 0's and 1's to represent 256 characters; this equals 8 bits

Coding System

Patterns of combination of 0's and 1's that represent characters


Consists of electronic components that store instructions waiting to be executed, data needed by instructions, and the results of information; stores 3 categories of items: the operating system and other software, application programs, and data being processed by application programs and information

Stored Program Concept

Role of memory to store data and programs; each location in memory has an address

Memory Sizes

Kilobyte = 1,000 bytes; Megabyte = 1 million bytes; Gigabyte = 1 billion bytes; Terabyte = 1 trillion bytes

Volatile Memory

Temporary memory; when power is off memory is lost; an example being RAM

Non-Volatile Memory

Permanent memory; examples include ROM, flash memory, and CMOS


Random access memory or main memory; memory chips that can be read from and written to by the processor and other devices; amount of this is necessary and depends on the types of software you use

Dynamic RAM

Chips that must be re-energized

Static RAM

Chips that are faster and reliable


Stores data using magnetic charges, not electrical

Memory Module

Chips reside in this, which are held by memory slots


2 types: disk and memory; memory speeds the processes of the computer because it stores frequently used instructions and data; L1 and L2 are faster because they are part of CPU; L3 is on RAM so slower; RAM is primary memory


Read-only memory; memory chips storing permanent data and instructions; cannot be modified


ROM chips that contain permanently written data, instructions, or information

Flash Memory

Memory that can be erased electronically and rewritten


Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor; provides high speeds and consumes little power; uses battery power

Memory Access Time

The amount of time it takes the processor to read from memory; measured in nanoseconds: 1 billionth of a second; affects how fast the computer processes data

Expansion Slot

Socket in the motherboard that can hold an adapter card; connect to expansion buses

Adapter Card

Sometimes called an expansion card; a circuit board that enhances functions of a component of the system unit and/or provides connections to peripherals


A device that connects to the system unit and is controlled by the processor in the computer; includes modems, disk drives, printers, and keyboards

Sound Card

Enhances the sound generating capabilities of a personal computer—uses microphone and speakers

Video Card

Converts computer output into a video signal that travels through a cable to the monitor and shows an image on the screen

Memory Cards

Removable flash memory device from a phone, camera, media player

USB Flash Drives

Flash memory storage device that plugs in a USB port on computer or mobile device

PC Card Modules

Adds memory, communications, multimedia, and security to computers


Point at which a peripheral attaches to system unit


Joins a cable to a port


Universal serial bus; devices that connect to it: mouse, printer, camera, scanner, speakers, etc

USB 2.0

High-speed USB; more advanced and faster


Can connect multiple types of devices: cameras, color printer, digital VCR's, video camera, etc.

Port Replicators

An external device that provides connections to peripherals through ports built into the device; it attaches to a mobile computer or device


Allows the various devices both inside and attached to the system unit to communicate with each other

Data Bus

Used to transfer actual data

Address Bus

Used to transfer information about where the data should be in memory

Word Size

The number of bits the processor can interpret and execute at a given time

Types of Expansion Buses

PCI bus/Express bus, USB and FireWire, PC Card bus, Graphics port

Front Side Bus

Part of the motherboard and connects the processor to main memory

Back Side Bus

Connects the processor to cache


Opening inside the system unit to install additional equipment

Drive Bay

Holds disk drives

Power Supply

Converts the wall outlet AC power into DC power

AC Adapter

External power supply


Any data and instructions entered into the memory of a computer

Input Device

Any hardware component that allows users to enter data and instructions into a computer: keyboard, mouse, etc

Pointing Device

Allows user to control a pointer on the screen

Enhanced Keyboard

12 or more function keys along the top and a set of arrow keys


Goal is to incorporate comfort, efficiency, and safety in the design of the work place

Optical Mouse

Uses devices that emit and sense light to detect the house's movement

Air Mouse

Motion-sensing mouse that allows you to control objects by moving the mouse through the air


Stationary pointing device with a ball on top


Small, flat, rectangular pointing device (Mac)

Pointing Stick

Pressure sensitive pointing device shapes like a pencil eraser


Touch screens that recognize multiple points of contact at the same time


Freestanding computer, usually includes a touch screen (airport self check-in)

Microsoft Surface

30 inch tabletop display that allows one or more people to interact with the screen. Other objects besides fingers can be used as an input device, such as a paintbrush

Touch Sensitive Pads

Input device that enables users to scroll (iPod)

Click Wheel

Rotate the wheel to browse (iPod)


Small metal or plastic device that looks like a pen but uses pressure

Digital Pen

Larger pen, provides more functionality than a stylus. Includes electronic erasers and programmable buttons and is pressure sensitive

Signature Capture Pad

Capture a handwritten signature (mall check out)

Graphics Tablet

Need it to use an pen input on a computer that does not have touch screen; flat, rectangular, plastic board that you write on with the pressure-sensitive pen


Held with both hands (PlayStation, Xbox)


Handheld vertical lever mounted on a base

Motion-Sensing Game Controllers

Allow the user to guide on screen elements by moving a handheld input device (Wii-uses Bluetooth wireless technology)


Most expensive and high quality, stationary digital camera


Portable digital camera, many lenses and attachments, used by photojournalists

Point and Shoot

Affordable, light weight digital camera


The number of horizontal and vertical pixels in a display device


Picture element; smallest element in an electronic image. Effects the quality of digital photos

Speech Recognition

Computers capability of distinguishing spoken words


Enables users to speak to other users over the internet

Audio Input

The process of entering any sound into the computer; voice input is a part of this

Video Input

The process of capturing full motion images and storing them on a computers storage medium

Digital Video Camera

Records video as digital signals instead of analog signals

Web Cam

Type of digital video camera; video telephone call: both people see each other


A device that can capture data directly from a source document

Optical Scanner

A scanner; a light sensing input device that read printed text/graphics and translates them into a form the computer can process

Flatbed Scanner

Works like a copy machine but goes onto the computer screen

Optical Readers

Uses light source to read then converts them into digital data

Optical Character Recognition

Reading characters from ordinary documents and translating the images into a computer form

Turnaround Document

Document that you return to the company that sent it. (like a bill: you keep part of it and send the other part back)

Optical Mark Recognition

Read hand written marks (scantron tests)

RFID Readers

Uses radio signals to communicate with a tag placed in or attached to an object, animal, person

MICR Readers

Magnetic-ink character recognition; device read text printed with magnetized ink (checks to the bank)

Biometric Input

Authenticating a person's identity by verifying a personal characteristic (fingerprint reader)


Computer, with limiting processing power, that enables users to send data or receive information from a host computer


Data that's been processed into a useful form; 4 types: Text, graphics, audio, and video

Output Device

Any hardware component that conveys information to one or more people, such as printers, speakers, and headphones

Display Device

Visually conveys text, graphics, and video information; for example, a monitor is packaged as a separate peripheral


Information appears in one color

LCD Monitor

Desktop monitor that uses a liquid crystal display to produce images; use a digital signal to produce a price

Liquid Crystal Display

Uses a liquid compound to present information on a display device; contains fluorescent tubes that emit light waves toward the crystals

Plasma Monitor

Uses gas plasma technology; sandwiches a layer of gas between 2 glass plates; richer in color and wider than LCD, expensive

CRT Monitor

Contains a cathode ray tube; large, sealed glass tube; small amount of electromagnetic radiation—health risks


Produces text and graphics on paper; can use a cable or wireless. 2 types of wireless: Bluetooth and infrared

Non-Impact Printer

Puts characters on the paper without actually touching it—spray ink, heat, pressure

Ink-Jet Printer

Sprays tiny drops of liquid

Multi-Function Peripherals

A device that has a printer, scanner, copy machine, fax, all in one; less expensive, but if the device breaks every function is lost

Thermal Printer

Electrical heat pins hit heat-sensitive paper; inexpensive, low quality

Digital Photo Printer

High quality, dye sublimation printer that uses heat to transfer colored dye to coated paper

Mobile Printer

Small, light, battery powered, print while traveling; ink jet or thermal


Sophisticated printers, high quality drawings (blueprints, maps) engineering

Large Format Printer

Ink jet printer, photo realistic quality prints, high cost/performance

Impact Printer

Easily print through many layers, inked ribbon

Dot-Matrix Printer

Produced printed images when tiny wire pins strike inked ribbon

Line Printer

High speed impact that prints an entire line at once


Holds data, instructions, and information for future; home users 320 GB, enterprise 50 PB

Storage Medium

Secondary storage; the physical material on which a computer keeps data, instructions, and information. Hard disks, memory cards, USB flash drives, etc.


The number of bytes a storage medium can hold

Storage Device

The computer hardware that records/retrieves items to and from storage media

Hard Disks

Storage device that contains one or more inflexible, circular platters that use magnetic particles to store data, instructions, and information in an airtight, sealed case; capacity, platters, read/write heads, cylinders, sectors and tracks, revs/minute, transfer rate, and access time

Longitudinal Recording

Aligned the magnetic particles horizontally around the surface of the disk


Redundant array of independent disks; a group of 2 or more integrated hard disks, ideal storage


Network attached storage; device is a server connected to a network with the sole purpose of providing storage

External Hard Disk

A separate free standing hard disk that connects with a cable to a port; 4 TB

Removable Hard Disk

Insert and remove from a drive; 750 GB

Pocket Hard Drive

External hard disk that are smaller and contain miniature hard disks

Hard Disk Controllers

A special purpose chip and electronic circuits that control the transfer of data, instructions, and info from a disk; may be a separate adapter card inside a system unit


Hard disk interface; serial advanced technology attachment


Hard disk interface; enhanced integrated drive electronic


Hard disk interface; small computer system interface


Hard disk interface; serial attached SCSI

Flash Memory Storage

Type of non-volatile memory that can be erases electronically and rewritten

Solid State Media

Consists entirely of electronic components

Solid State Drive

Storage device uses flash memory: fast access time and transfer rates, generates less heat and consumes less power, last longer

Cloud Storage

Internet service that provides storage to computer users; Windows Live Sky Drive, YouTube, Facebook

Optical Discs

Type of optical storage media that consists of a flat, round, portable, disc-CD; store software, data, photos, movies, music; read only—not re-writable; track is divided into evenly sized sectors; audio: CD-R


Process of copying audio/video data from a purchased disc and saving it on digital media

Other Types of Storage

Tape, microfilm (large) and microfiche (small), enterprise storage, magnetic stripe cards and smart cards

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording