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Thread: Computer Terminology Explained

  1. #1

    Default Computer Terminology Explained

    Computer Terminology Explained
    Here I will try and explain a lot of different computer terms. This is a running list so if you have a question about a term that's not listed, please ask it here and I will explain it and update it. For anyone else that feels like I've left out terms and wish to add them, or correct any mistakes, please feel free.

    The definitions are listed as such:
    -Common Usage


    Expressions (Unless otherwise specified, it can be applied to any unit of measurement. So MB can be GB as well, or TB.)


    Not to be confused with Bytes, a Bit is a single digit in binary code. It is the lowest form of storage in computing.

    It is written as Mbit or Mb

    -Change the settings in your BIOS

    Basic Input and Output System. It is the first thing that your computer loads while starting, and has a low level options menu.

    -Boot up your computer

    The act of starting or restarting (rebooting) a computer.


    Not to be confused with Bits, a single byte is a group of 8 digits (or bits) in binary code. It is used to express data storage space.

    It is written as Mbyte or MB

    -Clear your CMOS

    Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. It is a memory chip for the BIOS that stores data even while the PC is switched off.

    -DIMM Slots
    -How many DIMM slots does your computer have?

    Dual In-line Memory Module. It's the type of module that RAM comes in.

    -You might be having DNS issues if you can't connect to a website.

    Domain Name Service. It's a service usually provided by your ISP that matches domain names to IP addresses so you can connect to websites.


    Hertz is a clock rate of a processing unit. It's how many times a processor can process information per second.

    It is written as GHz

    -82,300 MIPS
    -That processor has more MIPS

    Millions of Instructions Per Second. It references how many millions of instructions per second that a processor can process.

    It is written as MIPS.

    -What is your screen resolution?

    Screen resolution is the number of pixels in your display. HD is generally considered anything at or over 1920x1080.

    It is written by the number of pixels across the screen (1920 for instance) x the number of pixels down the screen (1080 for instance) or simply by the number of pixels down the screen appended by a p, such as 1080p

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  2. #2
    SPARTAN VI's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: [WIP]Computer Terminology Explained

    Some other things we can add to this post is commonly used computer slang/terms/acronyms.

    General computer terminology:
    CPU = Central Processing Unit aka "Processor."
    HSF = Heatsink Fan. Sometimes referred to as a "cooler" or plainly a "heatsink."
    AIO HSF = All-in-One heatsink. This is hardware that commonly replaces standard heatsink fan hardware with a closed loop liquid cooling solution.
    GPU = Graphics Processing Unit. Colloquially interchanged with terms such as "graphics card" or "video card."
    VRAM = Video RAM (Random Access Memory). Video cards have their own dedicated RAM, which is VRAM.
    Mobo = Motherboard.
    HDD = Hard Disk Drive aka "harddrive." Storage devices that utilize magnetic rotating platters and magnetic read/write heads to store/retrieve data reliably at relatively low cost.
    SSD = Solid State Disk. Storage devices that utilize non-moving components to quickly store and retrieve data, but at a relatively higher price than the HDD alternatives.
    PSU = Power Supply.
    OS = Operating System. Ex: Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, Linux.

    Gaming terminology:
    FPS = Frames per second, interchangeable with the term "framerate."
    V-Sync = Vertical sync. It's a feature/technology used to sync graphic card's framerate with the refresh rate of the monitor to reduce screen tearing.
    AA = Anti-aliasing. A technique employed to smoothen the "jagged" appearance (aka aliasing) in a computer generated/rendered image. There are a number of specific techniques in use that have varying impacts on performance/image quality (e.g. MSAA = multi-sampling AA, TXAA = Temporal AA, ADAA = Adaptive AA, etc.), but they all aim to improve image quality by smoothening jagged edges.
    AF = Anistropic Filtering aka texture filtering. A technique employed to sharpen the image quality of textures viewed at angles.
    AO = Ambient Occlusion. A technique that simulates soft global illumination by faking darkness perceived in corners and at mesh intersections, creases, and cracks, where light is diffused (usually) by accumulated dirt and dust.
    IQ = Image Quality.
    Last edited by SPARTAN VI; March 03, 2015 at 07:23 PM.

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