Sometimes when you’re new to Technology all the three letter acronyms people throw around can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a helpful list of some of the more common (and not so common) terms you may hear.
AGP: Accelerated Graphic Port. Quite old technology now and quite slow compared to PCIe. Can only be used for GPUs and nothing else
ADSL: Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line. A method for allowing broadband connections via copper wires on the BT phone system. Asynchronous due to a lesser upload speed than download speed.
BIOS: Basic Input Output System. This is the first part you see when you first switch on your computer. This tells the computer what it has and how it works.
BSOD: Blue Screen Of Death. A screen which is displayed afer the failure of a driver of hardware. Can give useful information as to what went wrong.(Thanks to Ben)
CMOS: Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor, refers to both a particular style of digital circuitry design, and the family of processes used to implement that circuitry on integrated circuits. You may be asked to “Reset CMOS” to clear all the data stored in BIOS.
CPU: Central Processing Unit. The main chip which does all of the “thinking” of the computer. It processes information very quickly and passes it to other components of the computer
Crossfire/CrossfireX: Crossfire is ATI’s link of two GPUs CrossfireX is three or more ATI GPUs
CRT: Cathode Ray Tube. Refers to the older types of monitors/TVs with large heavy glass tubes which generate the images.
DIMM: Dual In-line Memory Module. A type of memory chip commonly used in modern computers.
DVD: Digital Versatile Disk
DVI: Digital Video Interface. Designed to give a better image quality than the older VGA.
FSB: Front Side Bus. Used to carry data from the CPU to the North Bridge, where other apsects of the computer are controlled.
GPU: Graphical Processing Unit. This is usually a seperate card which plugs into the motherboard and is dedicated to producing an image on your screen.
HD/HDD: Hard Disk/ Hard Disk Drive. HD Can also refer to High Definition when used with image or sound quality (Thanks to Bezza)
HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. A type of connection commonly used on modern TVs and Monitors. It carries a digital audio/video signal from the computer or other medium. (Thanks to thehitmen)
HT: HyperThreading. A method for communicating with a processor via more than one pathway.
IDE: Integrated Drive Electronics. A type of drive and interface which uses a wide ribbon cable to connect the Hard Drive to the Motherboard. Also known as:
PATA: Parallel ATA.
ATA: Advanced Technology Attachment. Used as part of the techology for a hard drive.
ISP: Internet Service Provider
LAN: Local Area Network. A network of computers within the same building.
LCD: Liquid Crystal Display. Usually refers to the type of flat screen monitor.
Mobo: Shortened term for Motherboard. The component which every other plugs into. (Thanks to Scrivz)
NIC: Network Interface Card. Used to connect your computer to a network via a network cable. Also used to connect to cable modems and routers.
OS: Operating System. Such as Windows or Mac OS or even Linux.
PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect. This is a type of card/slot for usually sound or perhaps DTV cards. Less likely to see a GPU using this slot, as it is slower than:
PCIe: Peripheral Component Interconnect express. Much faster than PCI and AGP. Used for GPUs and fast NICs/Sound cards etc.
POST: Power On Self Test. The initial power up of the computer runs through this to ensure everything is working as expected. Once the computer POSTs, it is ready to load the OS.
PS2: Personal System 2(IBM). The connector used by some keyboards and mice. Less common than USB in modern systems.
PSU: Power Supply Unit. Used to regulate and control power to the computer
RAID: Redundant Array of Independent Disks; originally redundant array of inexpensive disks, provides a way of storing the same data in different places (thus, redundantly) on multiple hard disks (though not all RAID levels provide redundancy). By placing data on multiple disks, input/output (I/O) operations can overlap in a balanced way, improving performance. Since multiple disks increase the mean time between failures (MTBF), storing data redundantly also increases fault tolerance.
RAM: Random Access Memory. The memory used by the computer to store programs in a volatile manner.
ROM: Read Only Memory. The memory a computer used which is non volatile and therefore will remain which the computer is depowered.
SATA: Serial ATA. Can be much faster than IDE and has a much smaller cable/plug. Modern systems use this method of Hard Drive storage.
SCSI: Small Computer System Interface. An alternative method for connecting a HD or creating a RAID (thanks to Ratty)
SLI: Scalable Link Interface. The method used to connect two or more GPUs from Nvidia
S/P DIF: Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format. Used to carry a digital signal, which can be coax cable or optical, from the sound card to the amplifier.(thanks to Death9000)
TFT: Thin Film Transistor. Refers to a monitor type. It is a special kind of field-effect transistor made by depositing thin films of a semiconductor active layer as well as the dielectric layer and metallic contacts over a supporting substrate. A common substrate is glass, since the primary application of TFTs is in liquid crystal displays. This differs from the conventional transistor where the semiconductor material typically is the substrate, such as a silicon wafer. (thanks to Bezza)
TIM: Thermal Interface Material. Used for ensuring proper contact between the Heatsink and the CPU/GPU. Usually in small tubes. (thanks to Bezza)
TWAIN: Technoligy Without An Important Name. The protocol used by scanners to communicate with your computer
USB: Universal Serial Bus. Used to connect mice/keyboards and many other types of peripherals such as webcams and game controllers.
VGA: Video Graphics Array. This used to refer to the resolution and colour depth of the card type, it is now used to describe the type of connector for the screen and GPU.
WAN: Wide Area Network. Covers a network of computers which are not geographically close together.