ATX: ATX form factor
is current standard for home PC's. Cases, motherboards, and power supplies
use ATX specifications.
An older form factor. AT systems can easily be identified by the
port, which is also AT. It is much larger than a
An older form factor, similar to
BIOS: Basic Input Output
System. These are the basic instructions built into the
chip on your motherboard.
A bit is a single piece of data (either a 0 or a 1).
No! Not mass transportation! A bus is a data pathway connecting two or
more devices. Busses are measured by their speed in megahertz, and their
bandwidth in bits.
A byte is a group of eight bits.
The CD-ROM disk is a data storage device. Since it is a
storage device, it can only be read, and not written to. See the
CD Rewritable disks differ from regular CD-ROM's in that they can be
written to by a special drive. Re-Writable disks can be written more than
disks, can be written to, but only once. CD-RW drives can use either CD-RW
or CD-R disks.
A chip is very compact set of transistors, that work together to perform
complex task. Also see chip set.
A group of chips that work together to provide certain functions, and/or
support for advanced functions.
Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. This is the
on your motherboard that stores the
CMOS is powered by a battery on the motherboard.
Central Processing Unit. This is the chip that is designed to perform the
most complex of computing task in a PC. Modern CPU's are actually several
different components built into one package. See the
A term used to describe a PC which is built to reside on a desk top, as
opposed to a mobile PC or a notebook PC
Double Data Rate memory is a type of much faster SDRAM, operating at 266
MHz or 333 MHz. See "Memory" on the
A program that "tells" a PC how to use a device.
A data storage area. A hard disk
drive may be partitioned into
several different drives, which are labeled using letters of the
alphabet. A floppy disk drive
is commonly named "A Drive", and the main
of a hard drive is most often named "C Drive".
A CD media type commonly used to store large data files like movies.
Electro Static Discharge:
Floppy Disk Drive:
The 3.5 inch floppy disk
drive reads 3.5 inch floppy disks. These disks must be formatted,
but almost always come from the factory formatted. What does a
floppy disk look like? Check out the images on the upper right side
of this page!
Wall: Used in
LAN's or WAN's to
keep people who are unauthorized out!
FireWire: A data exchange standard that allow for faster
external devices like external CD-RW and Hard Disk
GUI: Graphical User Interface. This makes
using the operating system easier to use by using simpler methods to
and manipulate data, such as menus.
Hard Disk Drive: Mass storage device used by PC's. Also
known as a "magnetic" storage device, as opposed to an "optical" storage
device, like a CD-ROM. The hard drive is where data is stored long
term, not to be confused with "main memory" which is another word for
(Hz): A measurement
of electrical frequency, modern PC processors operate in the gigahertz,
while memory and processor busses operate in the
Internet: Also known as the "world wide web".
Data on the internet (in public pages anyway) is available for anyone in
the world with a PC to access. If you are viewing this page, you are
on the internet.
Area Network. A much smaller version of an internet, often used in
businesses, schools, and government agencies.
Device: A device
using magnetism to change data bits on the surface of a special
disk. The hard disk drive and floppy disk drive are magnetic storage
Memory: The hard drive is often misnamed as being
memory. The system memory (also main memory) are the RAM chips that
are installed in modules on the motherboard. For more on memory see
Motherboard: Also called the systemboard. See the
Operating System: A program (or programs) that enable a PC
to accept input, process the input, and generate output. Windows is
an operating system.
Optical Storage Device: A device that uses a laser to change
data bits on the surface of a special disk. CD-ROM's (which can only
read the storage media), CD-RW's, and DVD drives are all optical storage
Port: Often called a
"printer port". As opposed to a serial port through which data flows
one bit at a time, in a parallel port data can flow 8 bits at a
USB: Universal Serial Bus is a data exchange standard
similar to FireWire, which allows for easy connection of external
devices. USB 2.0 is even as fast and faster than
Virus: A real virus invades our body, infects, and kills
healthy cells. A computer virus is similar. Just think of data
files as being the cells. Some viruses are harmless, while others
can completely wreck your PC.
Worm: Similar to a virus, worms infect your
computer. Worms often do no more than send copies of them selves out
through your e-mail program.