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Glossary

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P - Z

AGP — Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is an interface specification designed to improve a system's graphic performance by increasing its bandwidth. It helps speed the communication flow between the CPU and the graphics controller. This enhancement allows texture maps of greater size, detail, and realism enabling 3D applications to run faster because of higher bandwidth.

CD-ROM — Compact Disc-Read-Only Memory, a CD stamped with data that cannot be erased and filled with new data.

CD-RW — Compact Disc-ReWritable, a CD that can be written to and erased many times (up to 1000). A CD-RW drive allows you to write to CD-R and CD-RW discs.

Contrast Ratio — (LCD Only) A measurement of the light transmission between bright and dark pixels. Higher contrast ratios result in more vivid images. A typical contrast ratio is "200:1".

CRT display — Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) is the technology used in most televisions and traditional types of computer monitors.

DDR SDRAM — Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory is memory that provides higher bandwidth than ordinary SDRAM memory.

DDR2 SDRAM — A new memory architecture delivering up to 100% increased bandwidth over today's standard, designed to improve performance and reduce power consumption. It will likely be the prevailing memory offered by suppliers for the next several years due its potential benefits.

DIMM Capacity — The configurations of DIMM that are available for a specified computer.

DIMM Socket (or Slot) — A place to plug in a DIMM. Also called a slot.

DIMM — Dual Inline Memory Module, a device that adds memory to a computer.

Dot Pitch — (CRT Only) The distance between a dot and the closest dot of the same color (red, green or blue) on a color monitor, measured in millimeters (mm). A small dot pitch means sharper images. Aperture Grill (AG) is measured between pixel stripes.

Dual Channel — Memory technology that delivers twice the peak bandwidth of single channel memory.

Dual Hard Drives (Non RAID) — Dual hard drives allow you to store massive, high-density graphic/video files or digital photographs. Dual hard drives are often used by users who require significant storage space separate from their primary hard drive.

DVD+R — DVD recordable disc, a DVD that can be written to only once and never erased.

DVD+ROM — DVD Read-Only Memory, a DVD stamped with data that cannot be erased and filled with new data.

DVD+RW — DVD-Rewritable disc, a DVD that can be written to or erased many times.

Ethernet — Refers to the speed that data travels in the network. Ethernet speed is 10 Mbps (10 million bits per second), which is about 200 times faster than a 56K modem. Fast Ethernet technology is 10 times faster than that, about 100 Mbps.

Floppy Drive — Floppy drives record up to 1.44 MB of data on a rugged 3.5" removable magnetic diskette.

GHz — Short for gigahertz, GHz is a unit of frequency equal to one billion cycles per second. The speed of computer processors, or clock speed, is often measured in gigahertz.

Gigabyte — A unit of data measurement equal to 1 billion bytes or 1 thousand megabytes (MB).

Hard Drive — The hard drive is the primary storage unit of the computer. It is where the operating system, applications, files and data are kept.

Intel®  Extended Memory 64 Technology (64-bit extensions) — Intel®  Extended Memory 64 Technology, or Intel®  EM64T is an enhancement to Intel's IA-32 architecture. The enhancement allows the processor to run newly written 64-bit code and access larger amounts of memory when used with a 64-bit OS and application. These extensions do not run code written for the Intel®  Itanium®  processor.

Intel®  GMA 900 Integrated Graphics — Intel®  Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (Intel®  GMA 900) is designed to provide high visual quality, versatile display options and added reliability without the additional cost, noise and power often required of discrete graphics cards.

IP Address — An IP Address is an identifier for a computer on the Internet or network. The format of an IP Address is a numeric address 32 characters long, separated into four sections by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. The numbers in an IP Address are used to identify a particular network and host.

LAN — Local Area Network is a series of interconnected computers that can share resources, peripherals, and access to the Internet.

LCD Display — Liquid Crystal Displays are a lightweight, energy-efficient display type used in laptop and flat computer monitors. TFT/Active Matrix LCDs have one transistor per pixel to retain image quality between scans.

Monitor Size — Monitor size is measured diagonally across the face of the monitor, from one corner of the casing to the other.

NIC (PC Network Card) — Network Interface Card allows the computer to communicate with a network of other computers and the Internet. Each computer on a home network — whether wired or wireless — must have a network interface card.

  • Internal Cards (Mini-PCI cards) — Internal wireless network cards are hardwired to your notebook's motherboard and give you access to a wireless network.
  • External Cards — A credit card-size object that fits into the network card slot, commonly located on sides of notebook computers. The external NIC gives you access to a wireless network.
Optical Drive (PC Network Card) — Optical drives, or media drives, let you read and/or write optical data discs, such as CDs or DVDs. CDs can hold up to 700MB of data, and DVDs can hold up to 4.70GB of data.

Optimal Resolution — The recommended screen resolution for a monitor, measured in pixels (horizontal x vertical). Higher resolutions can allow more information to fit on a screen, resulting in less scrolling.

PATA — PATA Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (a.k.a. IDE). A storage interface technology that preceded SATA.

PCI Express — PCI Express (PCIe) is the latest interface specification designed to improve a system's graphic performance by increasing its bandwidth. It helps speed the communication flow between the CPU and the graphics controller. This enhancement allows texture maps of greater size, detail, and realism enabling 3D applications to run faster because of even higher bandwidth compared to AGP.

Pixel Pitch — (LCD Only) A measurement of distance between pixels on the screen, measured in millimeters (mm). A smaller pixel pitch means sharper images.

Processor — The processor is the brain of a computer. It is also called the central processing unit (CPU). It interprets and executes instructions of computer programs or the operating system.

RAID Hard Drives — RAID hard drives combine the performance and security of multiple hard drives into one disk. RAID 0 (data striping) is for maximum performance while RAID 1 (data mirroring) enhances data reliability. Performance users such as video editors often utilize RAID 0. Users to whom data integrity is vital often utilize RAID 1. With RAID 0, all capacity on both hard drives is usable. With RAID 1 only half the capacity is usable and the other half is devoted to back-up.

Random Access Memory — RAM, or system memory, is the workhorse behind the performance of your computer. RAM temporarily stores information from your operating system, applications, and data in current use. This gives your processor easy access to the critical information that makes your programs run.

Response Time — (LCD Only) A measurement of how quickly a flat panel monitor turns a pixel on or off. Fast response time prevents "ghosting" as an image is moved.

SATA or Serial ATA Hard Drives — SATA Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is an evolutionary storage interface likely to replace industry-standard PATA (a.k.a. IDE) technology due to the higher data rates it offers.

Screen Resolution — Resolution refers to the number of pixels, or dots of color, viewable on a display. Resolution is often given as the number of pixels in a row and the number in a column. Generally, the higher the resolution, the sharper the image.

SCSI — SCSI Small Computer System Interface. A processor-independent standard for system-level interfacing between a computer and intelligent devices including hard drives, floppy disks, CD-ROM, printer, scanners and many more.

SDRAM — Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory, high-speed memory measured in megabytes (MB). SDRAM enables a system to run applications and temporarily store documents that are being worked on.

Transfer Rate — The fastest rate at which data can be transferred from a drive, usually measured in megabytes per second (MB/s).

USB — Short for Universal Serial Bus, a USB is an external bus standard that allows the transfer of data at rates up to 12 Mbps. A USB port is used to connect peripheral devices, such as mice, printers and keyboards among others, to your computer.

Video Memory — Video cards often have their own memory, called video memory, used for storing graphical representations. More video memory allows more colors to be displayed at higher screen resolutions, providing cleaner, brighter images.

Viewing Angle — (LCD Only) A measurement of the range of angles at which minimum acceptable viewing parameters (5:1 contrast ratio, good brightness and front-of-screen performance) is maintained. Measured in horizontal viewing angle (left/right) and vertical viewing angle (up/down).

Write Speed — The speed at which a drive can write data to a disk, measured in multiples of x as compared to the read speed of the original audio CD or video DVD.

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