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2012-02-17 18:07:55
vocabulary hardware software IT technology

Vocabulary for beginner-level IT (1 of 3)
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  1. memory controller chip (MCC)
    Chip that handles memory requests from the CPU. Although once a special chip, it has been integrated into the chipset on all PCs today.
  2. microprocessor
    Brain of a computer. Primary computer chip that determines relative speed and capabilities of the computer. Also called CPU.
  3. multimedia extensions (MMX)
    Specific CPU instructions that enable a CPU to handle many multimedia functions, such as digital signal processing. Introduced with the Pentium CPU, these instructions are used on all �86 CPUs.
  4. overclocking
    To run a CPU or video processor faster than its rated speed.
  5. parallel processing
    When a multicore CPU processes more than one thread.
  6. pipeline
    Processing methodology where multiple calculations take place simultaneously by being broken into a series of steps. Often used in CPUs and video processors.
  7. program
    Series of binary electronic commands sent to a CPU to get work done.
  8. random access memory (RAM)
    Memory that can be accessed at random; that is, which you can write to or read from without touching the preceding address. This term is often used to mean a computer's main memory.
  9. registers
    Storage area inside the CPU used by the onboard logic to perform calculations. CPUs have many registers to perform different functions.
  10. single-edge cartridge (SEC)
    CPU package where the CPU was contained in a cartridge that snapped into a special slot on the motherboard called Slot 1.
  11. static RAM (SRAM)
    RAM that uses a flip-flop circuit rather than the typical transistor/capacitor of DRAM to hold a bit of information. SRAM does not need to be refreshed and is faster than regular DRAM. Used primarily for cache.
  12. single-edge processor (SEP)
    The caseless daughterboard containing Intel's Celeron processor. A SEPP fits into a Slot 1 connector. (from 1999)
  13. system crystal
    Crystal that provides the speed signals for the CPU and the rest of the system.
  14. System Management Mode (SMM)
    Provided CPUs the ability to turn off high-power devices (monitors, hard drives, etc.). Originally for laptops; later versions are incorporated in all AMD and Intel CPUs.
  15. thermal compound
    Paste-like material with very high heat-transfer properties. Applied between the CPU and the cooling device, it ensures the best possible dispersal of heat from the CPU.
  16. throttling
    Power reduction/thermal control capability allowing CPUs to slow down during low activity or high heat build-up situations. Intel's version is known as SpeedStep, AMD's as PowerNow!
  17. voltage regulator module (VRM)
    Small card supplied with some CPUs to ensure that the CPU gets correct voltage. This type of card, which must be used with a motherboard specially designed to accept it, is not commonly seen today.
  18. wait state
    Occurs when the CPU has to wait for RAM to provide code. Also known as pipeline stalls.
  19. zero insertion force (ZIF) socket
    Socket for CPUs that enables insertion of a chip without the need to apply pressure. Intel promoted this socket with its overdrive upgrades. The chip drops effortlessly into the socket's holes, and a small lever locks it in.1086
  20. bank
    Total number of SIMMs or DIMMs that can be accessed simultaneously by the chipset. The "width" of
  21. Blue Screen of Death (BSoD)
    Infamous error screen that appears when Windows encounters an unrecoverable error.
  22. buffered/registered DRAM
    Usually seen in motherboards supporting more than four sticks of RAM, it is required to address interference issues caused by the additional sticks.
  23. continuity RIMM (CRIMM)
    Passive device added to populate unused banks in a system that uses Rambus RIMMs.1056
  24. disk thrashing
    Hard drive that is constantly being accessed due to lack of available system memory. When system memory runs low, a Windows system will utilize hard disk space as "virtual" memory, thus causing an unusual amount of hard drive access.
  25. double data rate SDRAM (DDR SDRAM)
    Type of DRAM that makes two processes for every clock cycle.
  26. double-sided RAM
    RAM stick with RAM chips soldered to both sides of the stick. May only be used with motherboards designed to accept double-sided RAM. Very common.
  27. dual inline memory module (DIMM)
    32or 64-bit type of DRAM packaging, similar to SIMMs, with the distinction that each side of each tab inserted into the system performs a separate function. DIMMs come in a variety of sizes, with 184and 240-pin being the most common on desktop computers.
  28. dual-channel architecture
    Using two sticks of RAM (either RDRAM or DDR) to increase throughput.
  29. dynamic random access memory (DRAM)
    Memory used to store data in most personal computers. DRAM stores each bit in a "cell" composed of a transistor and a capacitor. Because the capacitor in a DRAM cell can only hold a charge for a few milliseconds, DRAM must be continually refreshed, or rewritten, to retain its data.
  30. error correction code RAM (ECC RAM)
    RAM that uses special chips to detect and fix memory errors. Commonly used in high-end servers where data integrity is crucial.
  31. general protection fault (GPF)
    Error code usually seen when separate active programs conflict on resources or data.
  32. latency
    Amount of delay before a device may respond to a request; most commonly used in reference to RAM.
  33. module
    Small circuit board that DRAM chips are attached to. Also known as a "stick."
  34. non-maskable interrupt (NMI)
    Interrupt code sent to the processor that cannot be ignored. Typically manifested as a BSOD. page fault Minor memory-addressing error.
  35. page file
    Portion of the hard drive set aside by Windows to act like RAM. Also known as virtual memory or swap file.
  36. parity RAM
    Earliest form of error-detecting RAM; stored an extra bit (called the parity bit) to verify the data.
  37. Rambus DRAM (RDRAM)
    Patented RAM technology that uses accelerated clocks to provide very high-speed memory.
  38. RIMM
    Individual stick of Rambus RAM. The letters don't actually stand for anything; they just rhyme with SIMM and DIMM.
  39. serial presence detect (SPD)
    Information stored on a RAM chip that describes the speed, capacity, and other aspects of the RAM chip.
  40. single inline memory module (SIMM)
    DRAM packaging distinguished by having a number of small tabs that install into a special connector. Each side of each tab is the same signal. SIMMs come in two common sizes: 30-pin and 72-pin.
  41. single-sided RAM
    Has chips on only one side as opposed to double-sided RAM.
  42. serial presence detect (SPD)
    Information stored on a RAM chip that describes the speed, capacity, and other aspects of the RAM chip.
  43. single-sided RAM
    Has chips on only one side as opposed to double-sided RAM.
  44. small-outline DIMM (SO-DIMM)
    Memory used in portable PCs because of its small size.
  45. stick
    Generic name for a single physical SIMM, RIMM, or DIMM.
  46. synchronous DRAM (SDRAM)
    DRAM that is synchronous, or tied to the system clock and thus runs much faster than traditional FPM and EDO RAM. This type of RAM is used in all modern systems.