AGP (Advanced Graphics Port)
A connection standard
for video adapters and motherboards. In a typical PCI
system (see PCI below), one controller manages all
of the PCI adapter cards. This means that when two
or more adapter cards are in a computer, they must
each 'wait their turn' to send and / or receive data.
The AGP system eliminates this 'bottleneck', by having
only one video adapter 'talking' to one controller,
at greater speeds than in the PCI system. Virtually
all modern Windows and Macintosh systems use an AGP
video adapter, either built into the motherboard or
plugged into an AGP adapter slot.
Short for "Basic
Input Output System". The BIOS is a startup program
contained in Read-Only Memory on the system board that
configures and prepares the system to start. It includes
simple routines to access the video, storage devices,
and other primary hardware components.
CAS (Column Access Strobe) Latency is the amount
of time that it takes to retrieve data from the module.
This is usually expressed in clock cycles. CL2 (or "2
clock cycles") is faster than CL3.
chipset is a group of integrated circuits (microchips)
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.
Double data rate memory reads data on both
the rising and falling edges of the clock signal. SDRAM
only carries information on the rising edge of a signal.
Basically this allows the DDR module to transfer data
twice as fast as SDRAM.
Dual Channel Memory
on certain motherboards designed with two memory channels
instead of one. The two channels handle memory-processing
more efficiently by utilizing the theoretical bandwidth
of the two modules, thus reducing system latencies,
the timing delays that inherently occur with one memory
module. Dual channel requires 2 sticks of RAM (The
same exact size, speed, and make) and installed into
the correct RAM slots to operate in dual channel mode.
If the memory does not exactly match in the banks and
channels, the system will automatically drop back to
single-channel operation, and at the speed of the slowest
ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE (ESD)
when you touch an object that conducts electricity
and is at a different electrical potential than you
are. The release of static electricity can damage any
of the electronic components of a computer such as
the disk drive, system board, processor, memory, add-in
boards, and other components.
Firewire (IEEE 1394)
FireWire (also known as IEEE 1394), was developed by Apple Computer in the late 1980s and has been incorporated into Macintosh computers beginning with the Blue and White Power Macintosh G3 model. The IEEE-1394 specification has been adopted by Canon, JVC, Kodak, Sony, and others for the purpose of data interfacing between computers, peripherals, and consumer electronics products. Products supporting Firewire include camcorders, VCRs, printers and digital cameras and even Televisions. Firewire is a high-speed serial bus that allows users to transfer digital video or still images from a camera or camcorder to a printer, PC, or TV. Apple computer trademarked the name 'FireWire' for the specification to reflect the performance if data transfer speeds of up to 400 Megabits per second. FireWire 800 doubles the transfer rate to 800 Mbps.
Factor is the shape and size of your system board.
The standards are ATX , AT , Baby AT, Micro ATX and
the new BTX. You want to make sure the form factor
of your computer case and mother board match.
A conductive strap that allows any electrostatic
charge to be conducted harmlessly to an electrical
IDE (Integrated Device Electronics)
IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) is also known as ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment.) The common IDE bus is used in computers as a hard drive or optical drive peripheral bus used to interconnect the system board to the high-capacity storage. After the introduction of the Serial ATA specification, the original parallel IDE bus is typically called PATA (Parallel ATA). The original (ATA-1) IDE specification called for data transfer rates of 8.3 Megabytes per second across either an 8 or 16-bit data cable and a maximum of two devices connected to the bus. EIDE or Fast ATA, doubled the transfer rate to 16.6 Megabytes per second and supported up to four devices on the bus (allowing two devices on a primary and two devices on a secondary channel. Additional specifications were introduced through to the Ultra-ATA/133 standard supporting a 133 Megabytes per second transfer rate with a 16-bit data width.
To speed up the computer
beyond the manufacturer's specifications in order to
run faster. This may be accomplished by changing a
jumper on the motherboard, by changing the clock crystal
or related settings in the BIOS Setup. The motherboard
and CPU may or may not be able to handle the increased
speed, causing intermittent failures or random errors
or lock-ups. Enhanced cooling systems are typically
added when a CPU is overclocked because of the increased
heat being generated.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect)
The Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) is a specification that was developed by Intel and other industry leaders in response the bottleneck becoming apparent in the earlier ISA bus design. Intel's design goal was a high-performance industry standard bus that would avoid the difficulty of competing buses and the resulting consumer confusion. Intel had been working on an architecture that offered both exceptional performance and plug-and-play capabilities. The specification defines how expansion cards (i.e. PCI network, video or modem cards), install themselves and exchange information with the CPU.
"Short for Power
On Self Test". Immediately after a motherboard
has been powered on, the BIOS begins performing basic
hardware component detection. During this detection
process, responses from the component may be required.
Most motherboards will generate a series of beep codes
to indicate initial pass/fail operations, including,
but not limited to, base memory (RAM) testing, keyboard
detection, video card detection, and sometimes, other
limited motherboard I/O operations. Other BIOS test
routines may perform very extensive initialization
sequences, and generate a startup message or a specific
POST failure code. Some motherboards can display a
diagnostic LED sequence or generate a progress code
on the system bus that can be monitored during startup
and displayed in some fashion or by using a special
An I/O interconnect bus standard (which includes a protocol and a layered architecture) that expands on and doubles the data transfer rates of original PCI. PCI Express is a two-way, serial connection that carries data in packets along two pairs of point-to-point data lanes, compared to the single parallel data bus of traditional PCI that routes data at a set rate. The high-speed serial I/O connections currently can be implemented in interconnect widths of 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 32 lane configurations, operating at the initial signal rate of 2.5GHz which can result in a scalable bandwidth of up to 16 Gigabytes per second. PCI Express was developed so that high-speed interconnects such as 1394b, USB 2.0, InfiniBand and Gigabit Ethernet would have an I/O architecture suitable for their high speed transfers.
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive)
Level 0 -- Striped Disk Array without Fault
Provides data striping (spreading out blocks
of each file across multiple disk drives) but no redundancy.
This improves performance but does not deliver fault
tolerance. If one drive fails then all data in the
array is lost.
Level 1 -- Mirroring and Duplexing:
Provides disk mirroring. Level 1 provides twice the
read transaction rate of single disks and the same
write transaction rate as single disks.
Your computers memory; this
is a volatile memory. All programs are stored in this
memory when they are running and will be wiped from
memory when the computer is powered off.
Advanced Technology Attachment)
Serial ATA (Serial
Advanced Technology Attachment or SATA) is a new standard
for connecting hard drives into computer systems. As
its name implies, SATA is based on serial signaling
technology, unlike current IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)
hard drives that use parallel signaling. SATA has several
practical advantages over the parallel signaling (also
called Parallel ATA or PATA) that has been used in
hard drives since the 1980s. SATA cables are more flexible,
thinner, and less massive than the ribbon cables required
for conventional PATA hard drives. SATA cables can
be considerably longer than PATA ribbon cables, allowing
the designer more latitude in the physical layout of
a system. Because there are fewer conductors (only
7 in SATA as compared with 40 in PATA), crosstalk and
electromagnetic interference (EMI) are less likely
to be troublesome. The signal voltage is much lower
as well (250 mV for SATA as compared with 5 V for PATA).
USB (Universal Serial Bus)
USB (Universal Serial Bus) has transfer rates of up to 100 Mbps, and "Hi-Speed" or USB 2.0 specification supports transfer rates up to 480 Mbps (when both the host and peripheral support the specification). USB is a high speed serial connection that allows the user to attach mice, keyboards, joysticks, network adapters, scanners, digital speakers or cameras, as well as just about any type of optical, flash or hard drive. The 4-pin USB connection also provides power to many peripherals, and supports "hot-swapping" allowing you to connect or disconnect devices without shutting down or restarting. By using USB hubs, multiple devices (up to 127) can be attached to a single USB connection.
allows you to use a portion of your hard drive as though
it were RAM. Your hard drive is up to 100 times slower
than RAM, so virtual memory is much slower than RAM.
When you upgrade your RAM, you can reduce or eliminate
the use of virtual memory. Upgrading RAM makes memory
available to complete tasks previously handled by virtual