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adapter card A small circuit board inserted in an expansion slot and used to communicate between the system bus and a peripheral device - also called an interface card.
binary number system The number system used by computers; it has only two numbers, 0 and 1 called binary digits, or bits
BIOS (basic input/output system) Firmware that can control much of a computer's input/output functions, such as communication with the floppy drive and the monitor.
bus The paths, or lines, on the motherboard on which data, instructions, and electrical power move from component to component.
byte A collection of eight bits that can represent a single character
cards Adapter boards or interface cards placed into expanxion slotts to expand the functions of a computer, allowing it to communicate with external devices such as monitors or speakers.
central processing unit (CPU) Also called a microprocessor or processor. The heart and brain of the computer, which receives data input, processes information, and executes instructions.
chipset A group of chips on the motherboard that controls the timing and flow of data and instructions to and from the CPU.
clock speed The speed, or frequency, expressed in MHz, that controls activity on the motherboard and is generated by a crystal or oscillator located somewhere on the motherboard.
CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) The technology used to manufacture microchips. CMOS chips require less electricity, hold data longer after the electricity is turned off, and produce less heat than easrlier technologies. The configuration or setup chip is a CMOS chip.
CMOS setup The program in system BIOS that can change the values in CMOS RAM. Also called BIOS setup.
data bus The lines on the system bus that the CPU uses to send and receive data.
data path size The number of lines on a bus that can hold data, for example, 8,16,32,and 64bits at a time.
DIMM (dual inline memory module) A minature circuit board installed on a motherboard to hold memory. DIMMs can hold up to 4 GB of RAM on a single module.
expansion cards A circuit board inserted into a slot on the motherboard to enchance the capability of the computer.
expansion slots A narrow slot on the motherboard where an expansion card can be inserted. Expansion slots connect to a bus on the motherboard.
firmware Software that is permanently stored in a chip. The BIOS on a motherboard is an example of firmware.
flash ROM ROM that can be reprogrammed or changed without replacing chips.
floppy disk drive (FDD) A drive that can hold either a 5.5 inch or 3.25 inch floppy disk. Also called floppy drive.
front side bus (FSB) See system bus.
gigahertz (GHz) One thousand MHz, or one billion cycles per second.
graphics card See video card.
hard copy Output from a printer to paper.
Hard disk drive (HDD) The main secondary storage device of a PC. Two technologies are currently used by hard drives: magnetic and solid state. Also called a hard drive.
hardware The physiccaql components that constitute the computer system, such as the monitor, the keyboard, the motherboard, and the printer.
hertz (Hz) Unit of measurement for frequency, calculated in terms of vibrations, or cycles per second. For example, for 16-bit stereo sound, a frequency of 44,000Hz is used. See also megahertz.
host bus See memory bus or system bus.
keyboard A common input device through which data and instructions may be typed into computer memory.
magnetic hard drive One of two technologies used by hard drives where data is stored as magnetic spots on disks that rotate at a high speed. the other technology is solid state drive (SSD).
main board See motherboard.
megahertz (MHz) One million Hz, or one million cycles per second. See hertz (Hz).
memory Physical microchips that can hold data and programming, located on the motherboard or expansion cards.
microprocessor See Central processing unit (CPU).
monitor The most commonly used output device for displaying text and graphics on a computer.
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.
mouse A pointing and input device that allows the user to move a cursor around a screen and select items with the click of a button.
non-volatile memory Refers to a kind of RAM that is stable and can hold data as long as electricity is powering the memory.
parallel ATA (PATA) AN older IDE cabling method that uses a 40-pin IDE connector. See also serial ATA.
parallel port A female 25-pin port on a computer that can transmit data in papallet, 8 bits at a time, and is usually used with a printer. The names for papallel ports are LPT1 and LPT2.
peripheral device Devices that communicate with the CPU but are not located directly on the motherboard, such as the monitor, floppy drive, printer, and mouse.
port (1) As applied to services running on a computer, a number assigned to a process on a computer so that the process can be found by TCP/IP. Also called a prot address or port number. (2) Another name for an I/O address. See also I/O address. (3) A physical
power supply A box inside the computer case that supplies power to the motherboard and other installed devices. Power supplies provide 3.3, 5, and 12 volts DC. Also called a power supply unit (PSU).
primary storage Temporary storage on the motherboard used by the CPU to process data and instructions. Memory is considered primary storage.
printer A peripheral outpur devicee that produces printed output to paper. Different types include dot matrix, ink-jet, and laser printers.
processor See central processing unit (CPU).
program A set of step-by-step instructions to a computer.
protocal A set of rules and standards that two entities use for communication.
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 PC is turned off.
ROM (read-only memory) Chips that contain programming code and cannot be erased.
S/PDIF (Sony-Philips Digital Interface) sound port A sound port that connects to an external home theater audio system, providing digital outpur and the best signal quality.
secondary storage Storage that is remote to the CPU and permanently holds data, even when the PC is turned off, such as a hard drive.
serial ATA (SATA) An ATAPI cabling method that uses a narrower and more reliable cable than the 80-conducter cable.
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.
software Computer programs, or instructions to perform a specific task. Software may be BIOS, OSs, or applications software such as a word-processing or spreadsheet program.
solid state drive (SSD) A hard drive that hsa no moving parts.
startup BIOS Part of system BIOS that is responsible for controlling the PC when it is first turned on. Startup BIIOS gives control over to the OS once it is loaded.
system BIOS BIOS located on the motherboard.
system board See motherboard.
system bus The bus between the CPU and memoryon the motherboard. The bus frequency in documentation is called the system speed, such as 400 MHz. Also called the memory bus, front-side bus, local bus, or host bus.
system clock A line on a bus that is dedicated to timing the activities of components connected to it. The system clock provides a continuous pulse that other devices use to time themselves.
traces A wire on a circuit board that connects two componentsor devices.
universal serial bus (USB) 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.
video card An interface card installed in the computer to control visual output on a monitor. Also called display adapter or grapics card.
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.
volatile Refers to a kind of RAM that is temporary, cannot hold data very long, and must be frequently refreshed.
Created by: Hozhey