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AGP( accelerated graphics port)

the standard analog video port on computers manufactured before 2009

Adaptive Technology

software and hardware used by individuals with disabilities to interact with technology- also called assistive technology

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)

the part of the processor that performs arithmetic(addition and subtraction) and logic (AND, OR, and NOT) calculations

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

an 8-bit binary code set with 256 characters

Binary Code

a code that represents digital data as a series of 0s and 1s that can be understood by a computer

Binary Number System (base 2)

the base 2 system that only has the digits 0 and 1

Biometric Scanner

a scanner that measures human characteristics such as fingerprints and eye retinas

BIOS (basic input output system)

a program stored on a chip on the motherboard that's used to start up the computer


a binary digit, the smallest unit of digital information


a technology designed to connect peripherals wirelessly at short ranges

Blu-ray disc

an optical disc with about 5 times the capacity of a DVD which it was designed to replace. the single-layer disc capacity is 25 GB, and the double-layer disc is 50 GB


equal to 8 bits and used to represent a single character in modern computer system

Cache Memory

a type of very fast memory used to store frequently accessed information close to the processor

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

the brain of the computer; household inside the system unit on the motherboard.
-it contains two parts: arithmetic logic unit and the control unit

Clock Speed

the speed at which the processor executes the instruction cycle

CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor)

a volatile form of memory that uses a small battery to provide it with power to keep the data in memory even when the computer is turned off, it stores settings that are used by the BIOS


the standard ink colors used by printers; cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black)

Communication device

a device that serves as both an input and output device and allows you to connect to other devices on a network or to the internet.
-networks include: adapters, modems and fax devices

Control Unit

the part of the processor that manages the movement of data through the CPU

CRT Monitor

a legacy technology that uses a cathode ray tube to excite phosphor particles coating a glass screen to light up the pixels

Data bus

the wires of the motherboard over which information flows between the components of the computer

DLP (digital light processing projector)

a projector that uses hundreds/thousands of tiny swiveling mirrors to create an image. They produce high-contrast images with deep blacks but are limited by having weaker reds and yellows

DVD (digital video disc/digital versatile disc)

an optical disc that can hold about 4.7 GB of information.

Drive Controller

located on the motherboard, it provides a drive interface which connects disk drivers to the processor

Dye-Sublimation Printer

a printer that uses heat to turn solid dye into a gas that is then transferred to special paper

EIDE (enhanced integrated drive electronics)

a legacy drive interface found on the motherboard of old-personal computers

Expansion card

a card that plugs directly into an expansion slot on a motherboard and allows you to connect additional peripheral devices to a computer.
-video cards, sound cards, network cards, TV tuners, and modems are common expansion cards


a hot swappable port that can connect up to 63 devices per port. it also allows for peer-to-peer communication between devices such as two video cameras without the use of a computer. also known as IEEE 1394

Flash drive

a small portable, solid state drive that can hold up to 128 GB of information
- they have become the standard for transporting data, also known as key drives, thumb drives, pen drives and jump drives

Flash memory

technology used by solid state storage devices, such as flash drives and memory cards, to store data.
- the data is stored on a chip

Game controller

a type of input device that's used to interact with video games

Gigahertz (GHz)

used to measure the speed at which a processer execute the information cycle.
- equal to one billion cycles per second

Hard drive

the main mass storage device in a computer. a form of nonvolatile storage; when the computer is powered off, the data isn't lost.
- the primary hard drive holds the operating system, programs, and data files
-also called hard disks or hard disk drives


the physical components of a computer


an output device that converts digital signals into sounds.
- different sizes and styles, ranging from tiny earbuds to full size headphones that completely cover the outer ear.
- headphones that also include a microphone are called headsets


a device that can be plugged and unplugged without turning off the computer

Inkjet Printer

the most common personal printer , works by spraying droplets of ink onto the printer

Input device

a device that's used to get data into the computer system so it can be processed

Instruction cycle

the steps a CPU uses to process data: fetch, decode, execute, store.
- also known as the fetch-and-execute cycle or the machine cycle


and input device mounted on a base that consists of a stick, buttons, and sometimes a trigger.
-typically used as a game controller, or used for task as controlling robotic machinery in a factory


an input device that consists of alphabet keys, numeric keys, and other specialized keys


a small keyboard that doesn't contain all the alphabet keys

Laser printer

the most common type of printer found in schools.
- uses a laser beam to draw an image on a drum, the image is electrostatically charged and attracts a dry ink called toner, the drum is then rolled over the paper and the toner is deposited on the paper, finally the paper is heated, bonding the ink to it

LCD ( liquid crystal display)

the most common type of display found on desktop and notebook computers.
- consist of two layers of glass that are glued together with a layer of liquid crystals between them.
- when electricity is passed through the individual crystals, it causes them to pass or block light to create an image

LCD projector

a projector that passes light through a prism, which divides the light into three beams- red, green and blue which are then passed through an LCD screen

Legacy Technology

old technology that's still used alongside its more modern replacement, typically because it still works and is cost-effective


temporary storage that's used by a computer to hold instructions in a day

Memory Card

a form of solid-state storage used to expand the storage of digital cameras, video games


an input device that converts sounds into digital signals and is used to chat in real time or as part of voice-recognition applications used in video games and for dictating text


a communication device used to connect a computer to a telephone line, modems are most often used for dial-up internet access.
- short for modulator-demodulator
- modulates digital data into an analog-signal that can be transmitted over a phone line and one the receiving end, demodulates the analog signal back into a digital data


a video output device that works by lighting up pixels on a screen.
- each pixel contains three colors: red, green, blue(RGB) from that base all colors can be created by varying the intensities of the 3 colors


the main circuit board of a computer, it houses the CPU, drive controllers and interfaces, expansion slots, data buses, ports and connectors, BIOS, and memory and may also include integrated peripherals such as video, sounds and network cards.
- provides a way for devices to attach to a computer


an input device that allows a user to interact with objects by moving a pointer-cursor, on the computer screen.
- may include one or more buttons and a scroll wheel and works by moving across a smooth surface to signal movement of the pointer

Multi-core Processor

a processor that consists of 2 or more processors on a single-chip.
- increases the processing speed over a single-core processor and reduces energy consumption over multiple separate processors

Multifunction device

a printer device with a built in scanner, sometime fax capabilities.
- all-in-one printer

Network Adapter

a communication device used to establish a connection with a network.
- adapter may be onboard, an expansion card or an USB device may be wired or wireless

OLED (organic light-emitting diode)

used in monitors that are composed of extremely thin panels of organic molecules between two electrodes

optical disc

a form of removable storage.
- data is stored on theses discs using a laser to either melt the disc material or change the color of embedded dye
- laser can read the variations as binary data

output device

a device that returns information to the user

parallel processing

the use of multiple processors or multi-core processors to divide up the work

PCI (peripheral component interconnect)

expansion slot on a motherboard that an expansion card plugs into

PCI express

a faster version of PCI thats typically used to connect a video card

peripheral device

the components that serve the input, output, and storage functions of a computer system

photo printer

designed to print high quality photos on a special photo paper.
- inkjet printers that use special ink cartridges or dye-sublimation printers, to produce lab-quality prints


an industry standard that allows a camera to connect directly to a printer


a method used by a single processor to improve performance.


The term "pixel" is actually short for "Picture Element." These small little dots are what make up the images on computer displays, whether they are flatscreen (LCD) or tube (CRT) monitors. The screen is divided up into a matrix of thousands or even millions of pixels.

plasma monitor

uses gas plasma technology, which sandwhiches a layer of gas between two glass plates. When voltage is applied, the as releases ultraviolet (UV) light. this UV light causes the pizels on the screen to glow and form an image.


a printer that uses one or more pens to draw an image on a roll of paper


a way to connect a peripheral device to a motherboard


a device that can project images from your computer onto a wall or viewing screen

Ps/2 port

legacy port used to connect a keyboard and mouse

RAM (random access memory)

volatile memory that holds the operating systems, programs, and data that the computer is currently using.
- any info left in memory is lost when the power is turned off


number of horizontal pixels used by vertical pixels
- the higher the resolution the sharper the image, the measure of the number of pixels in an image, expressed in megapixels

RFID tag

a tag that can be read by an RFID scanner.
- contains tiny antenna for receiving and sending a radio frequency signal

ROM (read-only memory)

nonvolatile form of memory that doesn't need power to keep its data


standard internal device interfaces


an input device that can increase the speed and accuracy of data entry and convert info into a digital format that can be saved, copied and manipulated

serial and parallel ports

legacy ports used to connect peripheral devices to a computer

solid-state storage

a non mechanical form of storage that uses flash memory to store data on a chip

sound card

an expansion cord that provides audio connections for input( microphones and synthesizers) and output (speakers and headphones)


an output device that converts digital signals from a computer or media player into sound


a special pen like input took used by table computers, graphic design tables, PDA's, and other handheld devices

system unit

The main case of the computer unit that contains the components responsible for most of the computer's processing. The system unit typically includes the chasis, power supply, motherboard, processor, hard disk drives, optical drives, and any expansion cards.

thermal printer

printer that creates an image by heating specially coated heat-sensitive paper, to change color where the heat is applied


input device typically found on a notebook computer instead of a mouse, motion is detected by moving finger across the touch-sensitive surface

touch screen

an input device that can accept input from a finger or stylus


A coding scheme similar to ASCII that attempts to represent characters in most of the world's languages using 2bytes for each one.
- codes for more than 100, 000 characters

USB (universal serial bus)

A data path standard that theoretically allows up to 126 devices, such as keyboards, digital cameras, and scanners, to be chained together from a single port, allowing for data transmission that is much faster and more flexible than through traditional serial and parallel ports.

USB hub

device used to connect multiple USB devices to a single USB port

video card

A computer expansion card that takes graphical data from the computer and converts it to a signal that can be transmited to a monitor over a wire or cable.


Input device used to record video, often found in laptop computers.

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