58 terms

Computer Hardware

A flashcard set for CTS 120 - Computer Hardware and Software at Alamance Community College
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Term
Definition
accumulator
A register in a CPU in which intermediate arithmetic and logic results are stored
AGP (accelerated graphics port)
Older slot design, designed specifically for graphics support. These slots are typically brown.
ALU (arithmetic logic unit)
An integrated circuit within a microprocessor that performs arithmetic and logic operations.
AT form factor
This form factor has serial and parallel ports attached to the case in an expansion slot and connected to the board through cables. It has a single keyboard connector soldered onto the board at the back of the board. The processor is at the front of the board and can sometimes get in the way of expansion cards.
ATA
A connection specification which defines a data cable, data connector and hard drive controller architecture.
ATX (advanced technology eXtended) Form Factor
Developed by Intel in 1995; has Integrated I/O Connectors soldered onto the motherboard; components rotated 90 degrees to improve air circulation; power supply blows air into the case instead of out.
BIOS
Software built into the PC and first software run by a PC when powered on. The fundamental purpose of it is to initialize and test the system hardware components, and to load an operating system or other program from a mass memory device.
bus
A channel or path for transferring data and electrical signals; A subsystem that transfers data between computer components inside a computer or between computers
cache
A small, but fast memory that transparently improves the performance of a larger, but slower memory or storage device
chip (integrated circuit)
A miniaturized electronic circuit (consisting mainly of semiconductor devices, as well as passive components) that has been manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material
chipset
A group of integrated circuits, or chips, that are designed to work together; usually marketed as a single product.
clock rate
Refers to the frequency at which a CPU is running; normally determined by the frequency of an oscillator crystal.
clock signal
Oscillates between a high and a low state and is utilized like a metronome to coordinate actions of circuits.
CMOS
An on-board semiconductor chip, powered by a battery that used to store information such as system hardware settings and system time. At present, systems setting are often stored on EEPROM or other flash media, with this chip maintaining the system clock.
CPU (central processing unit)
The portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, and is the primary element carrying out the computer's functions.
DIMM (dual in-line memory module)
A circuit board that holds memory chips; these have a 64-bit path because of the Pentium Processor requirements. Because of the new bit path, these chips can be installed one at a time.
DRAM (dynamic random-access memory)
A type of random-access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit.
DVI
A video display interface used to connect a video source to a display device, such as a computer monitor.
EPROM (erasable programmable read only memory)
A type of memory chip that retains its data when its power supply is switched off.
expansion card
A printed circuit board that can be inserted into an expansion slot of a computer motherboard to add functionality to a computer system
firmware
Software that is embedded in a piece of hardware.
flash memory
A type of non-volatile computer storage chip that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.
form factor
The name used to denote the dimensions, power supply type, location of mounting holes, number of ports on the back panel, etc. of the motherboard.
format Disk
The process of laying out a structure on the disk that will enable the disk to receive information.
hard disk drive (HDD)
A computer storage read/write device, usually of substantial capacity, which has fixed/permanent surfaces. Data on these surfaces may be randomly accessed.
HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface)
A compact audio/video interface for transferring encrypted uncompressed digital audio/video data from a device to a compatible digital audio device, computer monitor, video projector, and digital television.
IDE (integrated device electronics)
An interface standard for the connection of storage devices; the device controller is 'integrated into the device', which allows for finer tuning and faster speed for the device. This can be used as a general term for all storage device interfaces.
input device
Any peripheral piece of computer hardware equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system
input/output
The communication between an information processing system (such as a computer), and the outside world possibly a human, or another information processing system
IOPS (input/output operations per second)
A common performance measurement used to benchmark computer storage devices like hard disk drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD), and storage area networks (SAN).
memory
Devices that are used to store data or programs (sequences of instructions) on a temporary or permanent basis for use in an electronic digital computer
motherboard
A large circuit board into which can be plugged a number of smaller boards, or circuit elements. This board is the backbone of a computer system.
network
A collection of computers and devices connected by communications channels that facilitates communications among users and allows users to share resources with other users
non-volatile memory
Computer memory that can retain the stored information even when not powered.
northbridge
One of the two chips in the core logic chipset on a PC motherboard. This chip typically handles high-speed devices, especially main memory and graphics controllers. Increasingly these functions have migrated to the CPU chip itself.
operating system
Set of software that manages computer hardware resources and provide common services for computer programs.
optical disc drive
A disk drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves near the light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs
PATA
An older (slower) connection specification that calls for 80-pin ribbon cable that supports up to two devices and constitutes a single data channel to the motherboard.
peripheral
A device attached to a host computer but not part of it, and is more or less dependent on the host. It expands the host's capabilities, but does not form part of the core computer architecture.
peripheral component interconnect (PCI)
A plug-and-play, processor independent (the CPU and this bus can process concurrently) component connectors slot. These slots are typically white.
peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe)
A connector slot which utilizes a switch to prioritize and routes data creating a faster, more reliable transmission. Most commonly used for video cards. These slots are typically white.
PROM (programmable read-only memory )
A form of digital memory where the setting of each bit is locked by a fuse or antifuse. These are used to store programs permanently.
PSU (power supply unit)
A unit of the computer that converts mains AC to low-voltage regulated DC for the power of all the computer components
RAID (redundant array of independent disks)
An umbrella term for computer data storage schemes that can divide and replicate data among multiple hard disk drives in order to increase reliability, allow faster access, or both
RAM (random access memory)
A memory chip used for the main memory of a microcomputer. Application software will both store and retrieve information from this type of chip.
register
A small amount of storage available as part of a CPU or other digital processor; addressed by mechanisms other than main memory and can be accessed more quickly.
ROM (read only memory)
A memory chip on which a series of instruction have been permanently stored. This type of chip might store a copy of your favorite word processor or spreadsheet on your laptop computer.
SATA
A newer connection specification for transferring data between the motherboard and storage devices in serial mode, one bit per time, resulting in more efficient and reliable transfers.
SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random-access memory)
Dynamic random access memory that is synchronized with the system bus.
SIMM (single in-line memory module)
A chip that contains random access memory (RAM) for the computer. Older chips contain 30 pins and the newer chips contain 72 pins; contains as little as 256 KB and as much as 128 MB of memory.
solid state drive (SSD)
A data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently this device does not contain moving mechanical components.
solid-state drive (SSD)
A data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently.
southbridge
One of the two chips in the core logic chipset; typically implements the slower capabilities of the motherboard. In Intel chipset systems, called Input/Output Controller Hub (ICH).
SRAM (static random-access memory)
A semiconductor memory that does not need to be periodically refreshed.
tape drive
A peripheral device used for backups that allows only sequential access to data.
terminal
An electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system
USB (universal serial bus)
A specification to establish communication between devices and a host controller (usually personal computers). USB is intended to replace many varieties of serial and parallel ports.