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Ch. 1 Terms

TermDefinition
4-pin 12-V connector An auxiliary motherboard connector used for extra 12-V power to the processor.
8-pin 12-V connector An auxiliary motherboard connector used for extra 12-V power to the processor, providing more power than the older 4-pin auxiliary connector.
20-pin PI connector Used by an older ATX power supply and motherboard and provided +3.3 volts, +5 volts, +12 volts, -12 volts, and an optional and rarely used -5 volts.1
24-pin PI connector Used by the ATX Version 2.2 power supply and motherboard and provides additional power for PCI Express slots.
accelerometer A type of gyroscope used in mobile devices to sense the physical position of the device.
airplane mode A setting within a mobile device that disables the cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth antennas so the device cannot transmit signals.
all-in-one computer A computer that has the monitor and computer case built together and uses components that are common to both a laptop and a desktop computer.
analog A continuous signal with infinit variations. Compare with digital, which is a series of binary values—1s and 0s.
ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) The most common form factor for computer systems presently in use, originally introduced by Intel in 1995. ATX motherboards and cases make better use of space and resources than did the earlier AT form factor.
ATX12V power supply An ATX Version 2.1 power supply that provides an extra 12-V power cord with a 4-pin connector to be used by the auxiliary 4-pin power connector on motherboards used to provide extra power for processors.
audio port A port that can be used by a microphone, audio in, audio out, and stereo audio out. Also called a sound port.
base station A fixed transceiver and antenna used to create one cell within a cellular network.
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) Firmware that can control much of a computer's input/output functions, such as communication with the keyboard and the monitor.
BIOS setup The program in system BIOS that can change the values in CMOS RAM.
Bluetooth A short-range wireless technology used to connect two devices in a small personal network.
cellular network A network that can be used when a wireless network must cover a wide area. The network is made up of cells, each controlled by a base station.
central processing unit (CPU) Also called a microprocessor or processor. The component where almost all processing of data and instructions takes place. The CPU receives data input, processes information, and executes instructions.
chassis A computer case for any type of computer.
DB15 port A 15-pin analog video port popular for many years.
DB9 port A male 9-pin or 25-pin port on a computer system used by slower I/O devices such as a mouse or modem. Data travels serially, one bit at a time, through the port. Serial ports are sometimes configured as COM1, COM2, COM3, or COM4.
DE15 port A 15-pin analog video port popular for many years.
desktop case A computer case that lies flat and sometimes serves double-duty as a monitor stand.
digital A signal consisting of a series of binary values—1s and 0s. Compare with analog.
DIMM (dual inline memory module) A miniature circuit board installed on a motherboard to hold memory.
DisplayPort A port that transmits digital video and audio (not analog transmissions) and is slowly replacing VGA and DVI ports on personal computers.
docking port A connector on a laptop to connect to a port replicator or docking station.
docking station A device that receives a laptop computer and provides additional secondary storage and easy connection to peripheral devices.
dual-voltage selector switch A switch on the back of the computer case where you can switch the input voltage to the power supply to 115 V used in the United States or 220 V used in other countries.
DVI (Digital Video Interface port A port that transmits digital or analog video.
electrostatic discharge (ESD) Another name for static electricity, which can damage chips and destroy motherboards, even though it might not be felt or seen with the naked eye.
e-reader A mobile device that holds digital versions of books, newspapers, magazines, and other printed documents, which are usually downloaded to the device from the web.
Ethernet port A port used by a network cable to connect to the wired network.
expansion card A circuit board inserted into a slot on the motherboard to enhance the capability of the computer.
ExpressCard A PCMCIA standard for laptop I/O cards that uses the PCI Express and USB 2.0 data transfer standards. Two types of ExpressCards are ExpressCard/34 (34mm wide) and ExpressCard/54 (54mm wide). ExpressCards have been replaced by USB ports on today's laptops.
ExpressCard/34 A type of ExpressCard that is 34mm wide. An ExpressCard/34 can fit into an ExpressCard/54 slot.
ExpressCard/54 A type of ExpressCard that is 54mm wide.
external SATA (eSATA) port A standard for external drives based on SATA that uses a special external shielded SATA cable up to 2 meters long.
field replaceable unit (FRU) A component in a computer or device that can be replaced with a new component without sending the computer or device back to the manufacturer. Examples: power supply, DIMM, motherboard, hard disk drive.
FireWire port A port used for high-speed multimedia devices such as camcorders. Also called an IEEE 1394 port.
firmware Software that is permanently stored in a chip. The BIOS on a motherboard is an example of firmware.
fitness monitor A wearable computer device that can measure heart rate, count pool laps or miles jogged or biked, and a host of other activities.
form factor A set of specifications on the size, shape, and configuration of a computer hardware component such as a case, power supply, or motherboard.
geotracking A mobile device routinely reports its position to Apple, Google, or Microsoft at least twice a day, which makes it possible for these companies to track your device's whereabouts.
GPS (global positioning system) A receiver that uses the system of 24 or more satellites orbiting the Earth. The receiver locates four or more of these satellites, and from these four locations, calculates its own position in a process called triangulation.
gyroscope A device that contains a disc that is free to move and can respond to gravity as the device is moved.
hard disk drive The main secondary storage device of a computer. Two technologies are currently used by hard drives: magnetic and solid state. Also called hard disk drive (HDD).
hard drive The main secondary storage device of a computer. Two technologies are currently used by hard drives: magnetic and solid state. Also called hard disk drive (HDD).
HD15 port A 15-pin analog video port popular for many years.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port A connector that transmits both digital video and audio and is used on most computers and televisions.
heat sink A piece of metal, with cooling fins, that can be attached to or mounted on an integrated chip package (such as the CPU) to dissipate heat.
hotspot A small area that offers connectivity to a wireless network, such as a Wi-Fi network.
IEEE 1394 port A port used for high-speed multimedia devices such as camcorders. Also called an IEEE 1394 port.
infrared (IR) An outdated wireless technology that has been mostly replaced by Bluetooth to connect personal computing devices.
internal components The main components installed in a computer case.
keyboard backlight A feature on some keyboards where the keys light up on the keyboard.
laptop A portable computer that is designed for travel and mobility. Laptops use the same technology as desktop computers, with modifications for conserving voltage, taking up less space, and operating while on the move.
Lightning port The connector used on newer Apple iPhones, iPods, and iPads for power and communication.
loopback plug A device used to test a port in a computer or other device to make sure the port is working and might also test the throughput or speed of the port.
LPT port An outdated female 25-pin port on a computer that transmitted data in parallel, 8 bits at a time, and was usually used with a printer. Parallel ports have been replaced by USB ports.
main board The main board in the computer, also called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips, DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged into the motherboard.
microATX (MATX) A smaller version of the ATX form factor. MicroATX addresses some new technologies that were developed after the original introduction of ATX.
microprocessor Also called a microprocessor or processor. The component where almost all processing of data and instructions takes place. The CPU receives data input, processes information, and executes instructions.
microUSB A smaller version of the regular USB connector.
miniUSB A smaller version of the regular USB connector and is smaller than microUSB.
modern port A port used to connect dial-up phone lines to computers.
Molex connector A 4-pin power connector used to provide power to a PATA hard drive or optical drive.
motherboard The main board in the computer, also called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips, DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged into the motherboard.
multimeter A device used to measure the various attributes of an electrical circuit. The most common measurements are voltage, current, and resistance.
Near Field Communication (NFC) A wireless technology that establishes a communication link between two NFC devices (for example, two smart phones or a smart phone and an NFC tag) that are within 4 inches of each other.
netbook A low-end, inexpensive laptop with a small 9- or 10-inch screen and no optical drive that is generally used for web browsing, email, and word processing by users on the go.
network port A port used by a network cable to connect to the wired network.
notebook A portable computer that is designed for travel and mobility. Laptops use the same technology as desktop computers, with modifications for conserving voltage, taking up less space, and operating while on the move.
optical connector An outdated female 25-pin port on a computer that transmitted data in parallel, 8 bits at a time, and was usually used with a printer. Parallel ports have been replaced by USB ports.
parallel port An outdated female 25-pin port on a computer that transmitted data in parallel, 8 bits at a time, and was usually used with a printer. Parallel ports have been replaced by USB ports.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) A bus common to personal computers that uses a 32-bit wide or a 64-bit data path. Several variations of PCI exist. On desktop systems, one or more notches on a PCI slot keep the wrong PCI cards from being inserted in the PCI slot.
PCI Express (PCIe) The latest evolution of PCI, which is not backward compatible with earlier PCI slots and cards. PCIe slots come in several sizes, including PCIe x1, PCIe x4, PCIe x8, and PCIe x16.
PCIe 6/8-pin connector A power cord connector used by high-end video cards using PCIe x16 slots to provide extra voltage to the card and can accommodate a 6-hole or 8-hole port.
PCMCIA card A card used with older laptops that was one or more variations of a PC Card to add memory to a laptop or provide ports for peripheral devices.
phablet A mobile device that has the same capabilities of a smart phone or tablet and is smaller than a tablet and larger than a smart phone.
POST (power-on self test) A self-diagnostic program used to perform a simple test of the CPU, RAM, and various I/O devices. The POST is performed by startup UEFI/BIOS when the computer is first turned on.
POST card A test card installed in a slot on the motherboard or plugged in to a USB port that is used to help discover and report computer errors and conflicts that occur when a computer is first turned on and before the operating system is launched.
POST diagnostic card A test card installed in a slot on the motherboard or plugged in to a USB port that is used to help discover and report computer errors and conflicts that occur when a computer is first turned on and before the operating system is launched.
power supply A box inside the computer case that receives power and converts it to provide power to the motherboard and other installed devices. Power supplies provide 3.3-, 5-, and 12-V DC.
power supply tester A device that can test the output of each power cord coming from a power supply.
power supply unit (PSU) A box inside the computer case that receives power and converts it to provide power to the motherboard and other installed devices. Power supplies provide 3.3-, 5-, and 12-V DC.
processor Also called a microprocessor or processor. The component where almost all processing of data and instructions takes place. The CPU receives data input, processes information, and executes instructions.
PS/2 port A round 6-pin port used by a keyboard or mouse.
RAM (random access memory) Memory modules on the motherboard containing microchips used to temporarily hold data and programs while the CPU processes both. Information in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off.
RJ-11 port A phone line connection or port found on modems, telephones, and house phone outlets.
RJ-45 port A port that looks like a large phone jack and is used by twisted-pair cable to connect to a wired network adapter or other hardware device. RJ stands for registered jack.
SATA power connector A 15-pin flat power connector that provides power to SATA drives.
screen orientation The layout or orientation of the screen that is either portrait or landscape.
serial ATA (SATA) An ATAPI interface standard for hard drives, optical drives, and other drives that uses a narrower and more reliable cable than the 80-conductor cable and is easier to configure than PATA systems.
serial port A male 9-pin or 25-pin port on a computer system used by slower I/O devices such as a mouse or modem. Data travels serially, one bit at a time, through the port. Serial ports are sometimes configured as COM1, COM2, COM3, or COM4.
SIM (Subscriber Identity Modular) Card A small flash memory card that contains all the information a device needs to connect to a GSM or LTE cellular network, including a password and other authentication information.
smart camera A digital camera that has embedded computing power to make decisions about the content of the photos or videos it records, including transmitting alerts over a wired or wireless network when it records certain content.
smart phone A cell phone that includes abilities to send text messages, text messages with photos, videos, or other multimedia content, surf the web, manage email, play games, take photos and videos, and download and use apps.
SO-DIMM (small outline DIMM) A type of memory module used in laptop computers that uses DIMM technology. A DDR3 SO-DIMM has 204 pins. A DDR2 or DDR SO-DIMM has 200 pins. Older, outdated SO-DIMMs can have 72 pins or 144 pins.
S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) sound port A port that connects to an external home theater audio system, providing digital audio output and the best signal quality.
startup BIOS Part of BIOS firmware on the motherboard that is responsible for controlling the computer when it is first turned on. Startup UEFI/BIOS gives control over to the OS once the OS is loaded.
S-Video port A 4-pin or 7-pin round video port that sends two signals over the cable, one for color and the other for brightness, and is used by some high-end TVs and video equipment.
system BIOS BIOS (basic input/output system) firmware on the motherboard that is used to control essential devices before the OS is loaded.
system board The main board in the computer, also called the system board. The CPU, ROM chips, DIMMs, RIMMs, and interface cards are plugged into the motherboard.
tablet A computing device with a touch screen that is larger than a smart phone and has functions similar to a smart phone.
tethered To connect a mobile device with a cellular connection to the Internet to a computer so that the computer can access the Internet by way of the mobile device.
Thunderbolt port A port that transmits digital video and audio (not analog transmissions) and is slowly replacing VGA and DVI ports on personal computers.
touch pad A common pointing device on a laptop computer.
tower case The largest type of personal computer case. Tower cases stand vertically and can be as high as two feet tall. They have more drive bays and are a good choice for computer users who anticipate making significant upgrades.
Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Legacy BIOS in UEFI firmware.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) port A type of port designed to make installation and configuration of I/O devices easy, providing room for as many as 127 devices daisy-chained together.
USB optical drive An external optical drive that connects to a computer via a USB port.
USB to Bluetooth adapter A device that plugs into a USB port on a computer to connect to Bluetooth devices.
USB to RJ-45 dongle An adapter that plugs into a USB port and provides an RJ-45 port for a network cable to connect to a wired network.
USB to Wi-Fi dongle An adapter that plugs into a USB port and provides wireless connectivity to a Wi-Fi network.
VGA (Video Graphics Array) port A 15-pin analog video port popular for many years.
video memory Memory used by the video controller. The memory might be contained on a video card or be part of system memory. When part of system memory, the memory is dedicated by Windows to video.
vision sensor A digital camera that has embedded computing power to make decisions about the content of the photos or videos it records, including transmitting alerts over a wired or wireless network when it records certain content.
wearable technology device A device, such as a smart watch, wristband, arm band, eyeglasses, headset, or clothing, that can perform computing tasks, including making phone calls, sending text messages, recording and transmitting data, and checking email.
Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) The common name for standards for a local wireless network as defined by IEEE 802.11. Also see 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Created by: drewtang40