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DC1-4

Chapter 4 - The Components of the System Unit

DefinitionTerm
External power supply, used by some external peripherals, that converts AC power into DC power that the peripheral requires. AC adapter
Expansion bus designed by Intel to improve the speed with which 3-D graphics and video transmit. Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)
Measures the amount of time it takes a processor or storage device to read or locate an item in memory or storage. access time
Circuit board that enhances functions of a component of a system unit and/or provides connections to peripherals. adapter card
Unique number that identifies the location of a byte in memory. address
The part of a bus that transfers information about where data should reside in memory. address bus
L2 cache built directly on the processor chip. advanced transfer cache (ATC)
Acronym for arithmetic logic unit; component of a processor that performs arithmetic, comparison, and other operations. ALU
Continuous (wave form) signals. analog
Component of a processor that performs arithmetic, comparison, and other operations. arithmetic logic unit
Basic calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. arithmetic operations
American Standard Code for Information Interchange; the most widely used coding system to represent data. ASCII
Bus that connects the processor to cache. backside bus (BSB)
Term used to refer to a device's capability of supporting older devices, as well as newer devices. backward compatible
Opening inside the system unit in which additional equipment can be installed. bay
The smallest unit of data a computer can process. See also bit. binary digit
Number system used by computers that has just two unique digits, 0 and 1, called bits. binary system
The smallest unit of data a computer can process. Bit is short for binary digit. bit
Network standard, specifically a protocol, that defines how two Bluetooth devices use short-range radio waves to transmit data. Bluetooth
Adapter that will convert an existing USB port into a Bluetooth port. Bluetooth wireless port adapter
Electrical channel that transfers electronic bits internally within the circuitry of a computer, allowing the devices both inside and attached to the system unit to communicate with each other. bus
The size of a bus, which determines the number of bits that a computer can transmit at one time. bus width
Eight bits that are grouped together as a unit. A byte provides enough different combinations of 0s and 1s to represent 256 individual characters. byte
Area of memory that stores the contents of frequently used data or instructions. cache
Intel processor used by less-expensive basic PCs. Celeron
Electronic component on a computer’s motherboard that interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate the computer. See also processor. central processing unit (CPU)
Mobile technology that integrates wireless capabilities in notebook computers and Tablet PCs. Centrino 2
Case of the system unit made of metal or plastic that protects the internal electronic components from damage. chassis
Small piece of semiconducting material, usually silicon, on which integrated circuits are etched. chip
One tick of the system clock. clock cycle
Pace of the system clock, measured by the number of ticks per second. clock speed
Operations that involve comparing one data item with another to determine whether the first item is greater than, equal to, or less than the other item. comparison operations
Technology used by some RAM chips, flash memory chips, and other types of memory chips that provides high speeds and consumes little power by using battery power to retain information even when the power to a computer is off. complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)
Device that joins a cable to a port. connector
Component of a processor that directs and coordinates most of the operations in the computer. control unit
Family of Intel processors used in most high-performance PCs. Core
Part of a bus that transfers actual data. data bus
Double Data Rate SDRAM; type of RAM that is even faster than SDRAM because it transfers data twice for each clock cycle, instead of just once. DDR SDRAM
Second generation of DDR; type of RAM that is faster than DDR. DDR2
Third generation of DDR; type of RAM, faster than DDR2, designed for computers with multi-core processors. DDR3
Processor operation that translates a program instruction into signals the computer can execute. decoding
Representation of data using only two discrete states: on (1) and off (0). digital
Type of memory module that has pins on opposite sides of the circuit board that do not connect, thereby forming two sets of contacts. DIMMS typically hold SDRAM chips. DIMM (dual inline memory module)
External device that attaches to a mobile computer or device and provides power connections to peripherals, along with memory cards, optical disc drives, and other devices. docking station
Rectangular opening in the system unit that typically holds disk drives. drive bay
Processor chip that contains two separate processor cores. dual-core processor
Type of RAM chip that must be re-energized constantly or lose its contents. dynamic RAM (DRAM)
Variation of a PROM chip that allows a programmer to erase microcode with an electric signal. EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) chip
Short for external SATA; special-purpose port that allows you to connect an external SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard disk to a computer. eSATA port
Processor operation that carries out commands; part of the machine cycle. executing
Bus that allows the processor to communicate with peripherals. expansion bus
Circuit board that enhances functions of a component of a system unit and/or provides connections to peripherals. See also adapter card. expansion card
Socket on a motherboard that can hold an adapter card. expansion slot
Removable flash memory device that adds memory, communications, multimedia, and security capabilities to mobile computers. ExpressCard module
Special type of expansion slot in desktop, notebook, and mobile computers that holds an ExpressCard. ExpressCard slot
Drive bay that allows users to access openings in the bay from outside the system unit. external bay
Special-purpose port that allows you to connect an external SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard disk to a computer. external SATA port
A high-speed IrDA port. fast infrared port
Processor operation that obtains a program instruction or data item from memory. fetching
Expansion bus that eliminates the need to install cards in expansion slots. FireWire bus
Device that plugs in a FireWire port on the system unit and contains multiple FireWire ports in which you plug cables from FireWire devices. FireWire hub
Port that can connect multiple types of devices that require faster data transmission speeds. See also IEEE 1394 port FireWire port
ROM chips that contain permanently written data, instructions, or information, recorded on the chips when they were manufactured. firmware
Type of nonvolatile memory that can be erased electronically and rewritten. flash memory
Term used to refer to size and shape of a desktop personal computer system unit. form factor
Bus that is part of the motherboard and connects the processor to main memory. See also system bus. front side bus (FSB)
Device that joins a port and a connector that are both female or both male. gender changer
Approximately 1 billion bytes. gigabyte (GB)
One billion ticks of the system clock per second. gigahertz (GHz)
Adapter card that converts computer output into a video signal that travels through a cable to the monitor, which displays an image on the screen. See also video card. graphics card
Small cooling device used to cool processors in notebook computers heat pipe
Small ceramic or metal component with fins on its surface that absorbs and ventilates heat produced by electrical components. heat sink
One clock cycle per second. hertz
More advanced and faster type of USB. See also USB 2.0. Hi-Speed USB
Feature that allows you to insert or remove a removable flash memory device and other devices while the computer is running. hot plugging
Port that can connect multiple types of devices that require faster data transmission speeds. See also FireWire port. IEEE 1394 port
Electronic component that contains many microscopic pathways capable of carrying electrical current. integrated circuit
Processors that have an internal design similar to that of Intel processors, perform the same functions as Intel processors, and can be as powerful, but often are less expensive. Intel-compatible processors
Drive bay that is concealed entirely within the system unit. internal bay
Infrared Data Association; network standard used to transmit data wirelessly via infrared (IR) light waves. IrDA
Port that uses infrared light waves to transmit signals between a wireless device and a computer. IrDA port
Intel processor used by workstations and low-end servers. Itanium
Term sometimes used to identify an audio or video port. jack
Exactly 1,024 bytes. kilobyte (KB or K)
A type of memory cache that is built directly into the processor chip, with a capacity of 8 KB to 128 KB. L1 cache
A type of memory cache that is slightly slower than L1 cache, but has a much larger capacity, ranging from 64 KB to 16 MB. L2 cache
Cache on the motherboard that is separate from the processor. L3 cache
A continuous flow of fluid(s), such as water and glycol, that transfers the heated fluid away from the processor, cools the liquid, then returns the cooled fluid to the processor. liquid cooling technology
The four basic operations (fetching, decoding, executing, and storing) performed by a processor. machine cycle
Newer type of RAM that stores data using magnetic charges instead of electrical charges. magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM)
Type of memory that can be read from and written to by the processor and other devices. Programs and data are loaded into RAM from storage devices such as a hard disk and remain in RAM as long as the computer has continuous power. main memory
Large scale parallel processing that involves hundreds or thousands of processors. massively parallel processing
Approximately 1 million bytes. megabyte (MB)
Electronic components in a computer that store instructions waiting to be executed by the processor, the data needed by those instructions, and the results of processing the data. memory
Cache that helps speed the processes of a computer by storing frequently used instructions and data. memory cache
Removable flash memory device, usually no bigger than 1.5" in height or width, that you insert and remove from a slot in a personal computer, game console, mobile device, or card reader/writer. memory card
Small circuit board that houses RAM chips and is held in a memory slot on the motherboard. memory module
Slots on the motherboard that hold memory modules. memory slots
Instructions programmers use to program a PROM chip. microcode
Term used by some computer and chip manufacturers to refer to a processor chip for a personal computer. See also processor. microprocessor
Special type of serial port that connects the system unit to a musical instrument, such as an electronic keyboard. MIDI port
Main circuit board of the system unit, which has some electronic components attached to it and others built into it. See also system board. motherboard
Single chip with two or more separate processor cores. multi-core processor
Software written to support multiple threads. multi-threaded program
Electronic music industry’s standard that defines how devices represent sounds electronically. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
One billionth of a second. nanosecond
Type of memory that does not lose its contents when a computer’s power is turned off. nonvolatile memory
One billionth of a second. See also nanosecond. ns
Processing method that uses multiple processors simultaneously to execute a single program or task in order to speed processing times. parallel processing
Thin, credit-card-sized removable flash memory device that primarily is used today to enable traditional notebook computers and Tablet PCs to access the Internet wirelessly. PC Card
Expansion bus for a PC Card. PC Card bus
Special type of expansion slot in desktop, notebook, and mobile computers that holds a PC Card. PC Card slot
High-speed expansion bus that connects higher speed devices. PCI bus (Peripheral Component Interconnect bus)
Expansion bus that expands on and doubles the speed of the original PCI bus. PCI Express (PCIe) bus
Family of Intel processors used by less expensive, basic PCs. Pentium
Device that connects to a system unit and is controlled by the processor in the computer. peripheral
Concept in which the processor begins fetching a second instruction before it completes the machine cycle for the first instruction pipelining
Technology that gives a computer the capability to configure adapter cards and other peripherals automatically as a user installs them. Plug and Play
Point at which a peripheral attaches to or communicates with a system unit so it can send data to or receive information from the computer. port
External device that attaches to a mobile computer to provide connections to peripherals through ports built into the replicator. port replicator
Component of the system unit that converts wall outlet AC power to the DC power that is used by a computer. power supply
Electronic component on a computer’s motherboard that interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate the computer. See also central processing unit (CPU). processor
Blank ROM chip on which a programmer can write permanently. PROM (programmable read-only memory) chip
Chip with four separate processor cores. quad-core processor
Type of memory that can be read from and written to by the processor and other devices. Programs and data are loaded into RAM from storage devices such as a hard disk and remain in RAM as long as the computer has continuous power. RAM
Type of memory that can be read from and written to by the processor and other devices. Programs and data are loaded into RAM from storage devices such as a hard disk and remain in RAM as long as the computer has continuous power. random access memory
Rambus DRAM; type of RAM that is much faster than SDRAM because it uses pipelining techniques. RDRAM
Type of nonvolatile memory that is used to store permanent data and instructions. read-only memory (ROM)
Small, high-speed storage locations in a process that temporarily hold data and instructions registers
Type of memory module that houses RDRAM chips. RIMM (Rambus inline memory module)
Newer type of SCSI that transmits at much faster speeds than parallel SCSI. SAS (serial attached SCSI)
Type of high-speed parallel interface used to attach peripheral devices to a computer. See also SCSI. SCSI (small computer system interface)
Special high-speed parallel port to which peripherals, such as disk drives and printers, can be attached. SCSI port
Synchronous DRAM; type of RAM, much faster than DRAM, that is synchronized to the system clock. SDRAM
Type of interface that connects a device to the system unit by transmitting data one bit at a time. serial port
Type of memory module that has pins on opposite sides of the circuit board that connect together to form a single set of contacts. SIMMs typically hold SDRAM chips. SIMM (single inline memory module)
Adapter card that enhances the sound generating capabilities of a personal computer by allowing sound to be input through a microphone and output through external speakers or headset. sound card
Type of RAM that is faster and more reliable than any variation of DRAM. static RAM (SRAM)
Concept of using memory to store both data and programs. stored program concept
Processor operation that writes a result to memory. storing
Term describing processors that can execute more than one instruction per clock cycle superscalar
Peripheral or chip that creates sound from digital instructions. synthesizer
Name sometimes used for the motherboard. See also motherboard. system board
Bus that is part of the motherboard and connects the processor to main memory. See also front side bus (FSB). system bus
Small quartz crystal circuit that is used by the processor to control the timing of all computer operations. system clock
Case that contains the electronic components of a computer that are used to process data. system unit
New type of processor that integrates the functions of a processor, memory, and a video card on a single chip. system-on-a-chip
Approximately one trillion bytes. terabyte (TB)
Element of an integrated circuit that can act as an electronic switch that opens or closes the circuit for electrical charges. transistor
16-bit coding scheme that has the capability of representing more than 65,000 characters and symbols. Unicode
Port that can connect up to 127 different peripherals with a single connector type. See also USB port. universal serial bus port
More advanced and faster type of USB. See also Hi-Speed USB. USB 2.0
USB that is more than 10 times faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0
Flash memory storage device that plugs in a USB port on a computer or portable device. USB flash drive
Device that plugs in a USB port on the system unit and contains multiple USB ports in which cables from USB devices can be plugged. USB hub
Port that can connect up to 127 different peripherals with a single connector type. See also universal serial bus port. USB port
Adapter card that converts computer output to a video signal that travels through a cable to a monitor, which displays an image on the screen. See also graphics card. video card
Type of memory that loses its contents when a computer’s power is turned off. volatile memory
Technology used by Intel's dual-core and multi-core processors that provides the capability to track computer hardware and software, diagnose and resolve computer problems, and secure computers from outside threats. vPro technology
Windows feature that can allocate available storage space on removable flash memory devices as additional cache. Windows ReadyBoost
Number of bits a computer can interpret and execute at a given time. word size
Intel processor used by workstations and low-end servers. Xeon
Created by: sheidkamp