Hardware Glossary

  • 1

  • 10-Foot Interface
    A software GUI designed for display on a large television with the interaction using a remote control.  "10 foot" refers to the fact that the GUI elements (menus, buttons, text and fonts are(...)
  • 2

  • 2.5D Perspective
    2.5D ("two-and-a-half-dimensional"), 3/4 perspective and pseudo-3D are terms, mainly in the video game industry, used to describe either: 2D graphical projections and techniques which cause(...)
  • 3

  • 32-Bit
    In computer architecture, 32-bit describes integers, memory addresses or other data units that are at most 32 bits (4 octets or 4 bytes) wide, or to describe CPU and ALU architectures based on(...)
  • 4

  • 4KTV
    A High Definition TV with 1080p resolution is composed of two million pixels (1920 x 1080), while a 4K TV (aka Ultra High Definition) has over eight million pixels (3840 x 2160). Therefore, 4K(...)
  • 5

  • 5.1 Headset
    The defining feature of a 5.1 headset is really a Dolby Digital to Dolby Headphone transcoder that downmixes all five discrete and the one indiscrete channels into two channels with very careful(...)
  • 6

  • 64-Bit
    In computer architecture, 64-bit describes integers, memory addresses or other data units that are, at most, 64 bits (8 octets or 8 bytes) wide, or describes CPU and ALU architectures based on(...)
  • a

  • Accelerated Graphics Port
    An interface specification developed by Intel.  This interface was based on PCI to meet the bandwidth demands of 3D Video Graphics Cards. Rather than using the PCI bus for graphics data, AGP(...)
  • Active Matrix Display
    A type of flat-panel display technology based on a technology known as TFT (thin film transistor). Active Matrix Displays are brighter and may have better resolution than an older passive(...)
  • Advanced RISC Machine Architecture
    The ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) architecture is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture that is widely used in a number of embedded designs. Due to their power saving features, ARM CPUs are(...)
  • AGP
    An interface specification developed by Intel.  This interface was based on PCI to meet the bandwidth demands of 3D Video Graphics Cards. Rather than using the PCI bus for graphics data, AGP(...)
  • AMD Barton
    Barton includes 512k of on-die L2 cache, but since most gaming data isn't replicated until you get to MUCH larger cache sizes (the 36 Mb of the PA-RISC 8700 comes to mind) it doesn't(...)
  • AMD64
    AMD64, also known as AMD x86-64 or x64, is a 64 bit processor architecture invented by AMD. It is a superset of the x86 architecture, which it natively supports. The AMD64 Instruction set is(...)
  • Anti-Static Mat
    An antistatic mat absorbs static electricity which might otherwise damage electronic components. It is used while repairing a computer or adding expansion cards to prevent damage.
  • ARM
    The ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) architecture is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture that is widely used in a number of embedded designs. Due to their power saving features, ARM CPUs are(...)
  • ATI Radeon R400
    The R400 is a GPU chip made by ATI which competed directly with NVIDIA's NV35 (GeForce FX 5900 Series). The R400 is still development, and the full-up NV30 version of the Geforce FX with DDR(...)
  • b

  • Boot Loader
    This is application code that runs when a digital electronic device is first started (booted).  This code is usually stored in nonvolatile memory and usually does not have an operating system,(...)
  • Boxee
    1.  A cross-platform freeware HTPC software application with a 10-foot user interface and social networking features.  It allows users to view, rate, and recommend content to their friends(...)
  • Bus
    A bundle of wires for data transmition from one part of a computer to another. In a personal computer, for example, bus connects all the internal computer components to the CPU and main(...)
  • Byte
    1. A group of binary digits or bits that operate as a unit. Bytes can be anywhere from six to nine bits "wide". Six and seven bit bytes were used way back when to save bandwith when(...)
  • c

  • CAT 5
    Category 5 cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. The cable standard provides(...)
  • Category 5 Cable
    Category 5 cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. The cable standard provides(...)
  • Central Processing Unit
    1. A type of processor that serves as the main logic and control unit of a comptuer. 2. A term used interchangeably with a processor or microprocessor.  A modern CPU consist of a single tiny(...)
  • CLI
    1. CLI is an acronymn for Command Line Interface. 2. A type of interaction between a human and computer which uses text-only input and output, and its only interaction is through a keyboard.(...)
  • Command Line Interface
    1. CLI is an acronymn for Command Line Interface. 2. A type of interaction between a human and computer which uses text-only input and output, and its only interaction is through a keyboard.(...)
  • CPU
    1. A type of processor that serves as the main logic and control unit of a comptuer. 2. A term used interchangeably with a processor or microprocessor.  A modern CPU consist of a single tiny(...)
  • f

  • File Transfer Protocol
    A standard network protocol used to transfer files from one computer to another over a TCP-based network.  The standard FTP networking port port is port 21.
  • Firewall
    A firewall controls traffic flow between your network and the Internet. A firewall can be either hardware or software. Windows XP SP2 or higher includes a software firewall. A hardware firewall(...)
  • FireWire
    An external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of up to 400Mbps (in 1394a) and 800Mbps (in 1394b). The IEEE 1394 multimedia connection enables simple, low-cost, high-bandwidth(...)
  • Floppy Disk
    A data storage device that is composed of a circular piece of thin, flexible (i.e. "floppy") magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic wallet. Floppy disks are read(...)
  • FTP
    A standard network protocol used to transfer files from one computer to another over a TCP-based network.  The standard FTP networking port port is port 21.
  • g

  • GPU
    Also called Visual Processing Unit (VPU), is the microprocessor of a graphics card (or graphics accelerator) for a personal computer or game console. Modern GPUs are very efficient at(...)
  • Graphical User Interface
    GUI (pronounced like "gooey") is an acronym for Graphical User Interface. It is a human-computer interface (a way for humans to interact with computers) that utilizes the visual concepts of(...)
  • Graphics Processing Unit
    Also called Visual Processing Unit (VPU), is the microprocessor of a graphics card (or graphics accelerator) for a personal computer or game console. Modern GPUs are very efficient at(...)
  • GUI
    GUI (pronounced like "gooey") is an acronym for Graphical User Interface. It is a human-computer interface (a way for humans to interact with computers) that utilizes the visual concepts of(...)
  • h

  • HDTV
    HDTV = 640x480 up to 1440p televsion on newer televisions branded as HDTV. Its hallmark is being broadcast in digital format, either ATSC (off the air) or QAM (cable/satellite) Virtually all(...)
  • High Definition Television
    HDTV = 640x480 up to 1440p televsion on newer televisions branded as HDTV. Its hallmark is being broadcast in digital format, either ATSC (off the air) or QAM (cable/satellite) Virtually all(...)
  • Homebrew
    A slang term for software that is not licensed or endorsed by a device's manufacturer (created at home typically by individuals rather than software development companies), which usually applies(...)
  • Hub
    1. A hub is a device that has several Ethernet ports on the back of the device. One of these ports will likely be labeled “Uplink”. This port allows you to connect multiple hubs together, if you(...)
  • i

  • IEEE 1394
    An external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of up to 400Mbps (in 1394a) and 800Mbps (in 1394b). The IEEE 1394 multimedia connection enables simple, low-cost, high-bandwidth(...)
  • Integrated Access Points
    While integrated access points and routers are only $20 more expensive than the access point itself, it's the best way. An access point basically expands a wired network to include wireless(...)
  • Intel Placer Chipset
    Placer is the Intel codename for a dual channel 133 MHz system bus DDR system (two PC266 DDR channels, 533 MHz system bus) for the Xeon 2-way workstations. It includes PCI-X support, AGP 8x(...)
  • Intel Prescott
    In August 2003 Intel released the Prescott Prescott CPU core. Simply put, the Prescott core takes Intel's Netburst architechure to the next level and reworks the current Northwood core. However,(...)
  • Intergraph Interpro 200
    The Intergraph InterPro 200 series workstations were first launched in July 1987.  They came in three models, the 200, 220 and 240 each with more expansion capabilities than the last.  They(...)
  • j

  • Joint Test Action Group
    1. Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) 2. A common name for the IEEE 1149.1 Standard Test Access Port and Boundary-Scan Architecture, which was devised by electronic engineers for testing printed(...)
  • JTAG
    1. Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) 2. A common name for the IEEE 1149.1 Standard Test Access Port and Boundary-Scan Architecture, which was devised by electronic engineers for testing printed(...)
  • l

  • L1 Cache
    Level 1 (L1) cache, also known as primary cache, is a memory cache built into the CPU.  L1 cache is used by the central processing unit of a computer to reduce the average time to access(...)
  • L2 Cache
    Level 2 (L2) cache, also known as secondary cache or RAM cache, is the cache memory external to the CPU. L2 cache memory resides on a separate chip from the microprocessor chip. L2 cache(...)
  • L3 Cache
    Level 3 cache is the third-fastest cache memory available to a CPU. It usually consists of SRAM chips located on the motherboard. The "L3" indicates that the CPU attempts to access this cache(...)
  • LCD
    Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), used in digital watches and many portable computers, utilizes two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. An electric current(...)
  • Level 1 Cache
    Level 1 (L1) cache, also known as primary cache, is a memory cache built into the CPU.  L1 cache is used by the central processing unit of a computer to reduce the average time to access(...)
  • Level 2 Cache
    Level 2 (L2) cache, also known as secondary cache or RAM cache, is the cache memory external to the CPU. L2 cache memory resides on a separate chip from the microprocessor chip. L2 cache(...)
  • Level 3 Cache
    Level 3 cache is the third-fastest cache memory available to a CPU. It usually consists of SRAM chips located on the motherboard. The "L3" indicates that the CPU attempts to access this cache(...)
  • Liquid Crystal Display
    Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), used in digital watches and many portable computers, utilizes two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. An electric current(...)
  • m

  • MAC Address
    MAC Address, short for Media Access Control Address, is a unique hardware address assigned to each network device. In the case of Ethernet, the hardware address is a 48-bit value. To(...)
  • Mass Storage
    Mass storage refers to various techniques and devices for storing large amounts of data. Mass storage devices include all types of disk drives and tape drives.  Mass storage is distinct from(...)
  • Media Streamer
    1. A device that is capable of playing digital audio on a television or other display device from a  different source of data.  Streaming refers to downloading digital data at the same time as(...)
  • MOBO
    A Motherboard, which is the central or primary circuit board making up a complex electronic system, such as a computer. The motherboard contains the connectors for attaching additional(...)
  • Modchip
    Short for "modification chip", a modchip is a hardware device used to modify or disable limitations or bugs of a device's original software. Modchips are most popular in video game consoles(...)
  • Motherboard
    A Motherboard, which is the central or primary circuit board making up a complex electronic system, such as a computer. The motherboard contains the connectors for attaching additional(...)
  • MS-DOS
    1. An acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System. 2. Microsoft's first operating system and developed to accompany IBM's first IBM PC in August 1981.   MS-DOS is a 16-bit operating(...)
  • n

  • NAND
    1. An acronym for ("not and") in logical programming terms. 2. NAND gate: An electronic gate that implements a logical NAND. 3. NAND logic: Methods of building other logic gates using just(...)
  • NAS
    A network attached storage device is a device that allows a hard drive to be shared across the network. This hard drive is NOT attached to any of your computers. It is simply made available by(...)
  • Network Attached Storage
    A network attached storage device is a device that allows a hard drive to be shared across the network. This hard drive is NOT attached to any of your computers. It is simply made available by(...)
  • Network Interface Card
    A Network Interface Card (NIC) provides a hardware interface between a computer and a network. The term NIC most commonly refers to network adapter hardware in the form factor of an add-in(...)
  • NIC
    A Network Interface Card (NIC) provides a hardware interface between a computer and a network. The term NIC most commonly refers to network adapter hardware in the form factor of an add-in(...)
  • Non-Volatile Memory
    Computer memory that retains information, even when powered off. Examples of non-volatile memory are flash memory and read-only memory.  This is usually a secondary storage method for(...)
  • Not And Gate
    1. An acronym for ("not and") in logical programming terms. 2. NAND gate: An electronic gate that implements a logical NAND. 3. NAND logic: Methods of building other logic gates using just(...)
  • Numeric Keypad
    A separate section on some computer keyboards that group numeric keys together, along with basic arithmatic functions (division, multiplication, addition and subtraction).  These numbers are(...)
  • numpad
    A separate section on some computer keyboards that group numeric keys together, along with basic arithmatic functions (division, multiplication, addition and subtraction).  These numbers are(...)
  • NVM
    Computer memory that retains information, even when powered off. Examples of non-volatile memory are flash memory and read-only memory.  This is usually a secondary storage method for(...)
  • o

  • Operating System
    A collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. External applications require an operating system in order to(...)
  • OS
    A collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. External applications require an operating system in order to(...)
  • p

  • PCI Express
    A new generation of Peripheral Component Interconnect, PCI Express is an I/O interconnect bus standard that expands on and doubles the data transfer rates of original PCI. PCI Express is a(...)
  • PCIe, PCI-e
    A new generation of Peripheral Component Interconnect, PCI Express is an I/O interconnect bus standard that expands on and doubles the data transfer rates of original PCI. PCI Express is a(...)
  • Pheripheral
    A Peripheral, or peripheral device, refers to all the I/O devices related with a computer. A peripheral can reside within the same chip as the processor; in which case, it can be called an(...)
  • Point to Point Tunneling Protocol
    Aa secure protocol running over TCP/IP that allows a remote office with its own private network to connect to a server on another, separate private network, both firewalled. It is a(...)
  • PPTP
    Aa secure protocol running over TCP/IP that allows a remote office with its own private network to connect to a server on another, separate private network, both firewalled. It is a(...)
  • Print Server
    A print server connects directly to your printer. Your printer is then shared to all of your computers on the network. This is convent because you do not need to leave the printer hooked to a(...)
  • PYAITK
    An acronym for "Put Your Ass In The Know".  Coined by Billy "Wicked" Wilson, the founder of Voodoo Extreme, one of the best and most influential gaming sites of all time.
  • q

  • QDOS
    1. An acronym for Quick and Dirty Operating System. 2. An operating system originally written by Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products.  This operating system was designed for Intel's(...)
  • r

  • R400
    The R400 is a GPU chip made by ATI which competed directly with NVIDIA's NV35 (GeForce FX 5900 Series). The R400 is still development, and the full-up NV30 version of the Geforce FX with DDR(...)
  • RAID
    A disk subsystem that increases performance or provides fault tolerance (or both). RAID uses two or more physical disk drives and a RAID controller, which are usually independent cards(...)
  • RAM
    Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random-access device allows stored data to be accessed in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location, so data(...)
  • Random Access Memory
    Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random-access device allows stored data to be accessed in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location, so data(...)
  • Redundant Array of Independent Disks
    A disk subsystem that increases performance or provides fault tolerance (or both). RAID uses two or more physical disk drives and a RAID controller, which are usually independent cards(...)
  • Registered Memory
    A type of computer memory that contains registers to hold the data for one clock cycle before it is moved on to the motherboard. Registered memory is slightly slower than(...)
  • RJ-11
    Registered Jack-11 (RJ-11), also called plug, is a four- or six-wire connector used to connect telephone equipment, modems, fax to a female RJ-11 jack on the wall. It is occasionally used to(...)
  • RJ-45
    Registered Jack-45 (RJ-45) is an eight-wire connector used to connect computers onto a local-area networks (LAN), especially Ethernet. RJ-45 comes in two types: keyed and non-keyed.
  • Rotozip
    A power tool similar to a Dremel. Still not as good as a hole saw, especially attached to my grandfather's hand-me-down Craftsman A/C drill, but you can do more complex designs with it. I do(...)
  • Router
    1. A router is a device that has several Ethernet ports on the back of the device. One of the connectors will be labeled WAN. You should connect the WAN port to the Ethernet connection on a(...)
  • s

  • SDTV
    640x480 TV used on most televisions prior to HDTV.  It stands for Standard Definition TV. It usually uses NTSC in the US.
  • Serial ATA
    Serial ATA (also known as SATA or S-ATA), is a computer bus primarily designed for transfer of data to and from a hard disk. It is the successor to the legacy Advanced Technology Attachment(...)
  • SODIMM
    Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (SODIMM) is a type of computer memory integrated circuit which is an alternative to a DIMM. As a result of being roughly half the size of regular(...)
  • Softmod
    A method of using software to modify the default or original behavior of hardware, such as video game consoles or computer components.  Usually these modifications are used to overcome(...)
  • Sound Card
    Also called a sound board or audio card, a sound card is an expansion card for the PC that generates sound and provides audio output to external amplification devices, such as speakers or(...)
  • Standard Definition Television
    640x480 TV used on most televisions prior to HDTV.  It stands for Standard Definition TV. It usually uses NTSC in the US.
  • Switch
    A switch is a device that has several Ethernet ports on the back of the device. One of these ports will likely be labeled “Uplink”. This port allows you to connect multiple switches together, if(...)
  • t

  • Talk Like A Pirate Day
    International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD, September 19) is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who(...)
  • TLAPD
    International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD, September 19) is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who(...)
  • u

  • Unbuffered Memory
    A type of computer memory where the host computer's memory controller module drives the memory directly;  instead of using a store-and-forward system like registered memory. The use of(...)
  • v

  • Video Card
    Also known as graphics accelerator, video board, video display board, display adapter, video adapter, or graphics adapter. It is a component of a computer to convert a logical representation of(...)
  • w

  • Wireless Modem
    Wireless modems convert radios (HF/VHF/UHF) into digital communications devices to access a private wireless data network or a wireless telephone system, such as the CDPD system. You can use the(...)
  • Workstation
    A Workstation is a type of stand-alone computer for powerful applications such as publishing, software development, etc. Workstations typically have a large, high-resolution graphics screen,(...)
  • x

  • XBMC
    XBMC (Xbox Media Center) is a free and open-source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation. It is available for multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, and(...)
  • Xbox Media Center
    XBMC (Xbox Media Center) is a free and open-source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation. It is available for multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, and(...)