A NIC (Network Interface Card) is an expansion card that provides connectivity between a PC and a network such as a LAN, NICs are sometimes called Ethernet adapters. NICs can be internal or external add-ons and come with various specifications, one of which is transfer rate although most modern NICs support up to 100Mbps, and the more expensive Gigabit Ethernet cards supporting up to 1000Mbps
NTFS (New Technology File System) is a file system used by the Windows NT operating system and is also supported by Windows 7/8/10. The NTFS file system uses a MFT (Master File Table) to locate all files within an NTFS volume, all critical data is duplicated to allow error recovery ensuring the loss of one sector will not mean the loss of the entire partition. Additionally it can recover data from a bad sector and ensure the bad sector is not used again. NTFS also includes some advanced security features, including the ability to password protect individual files and/or folders
Refers to the main software of a computer system for instance Windows. All installed programs/applications run under the control of the operating system. There are various generations Windows operating systems (Windows 1 through Windows 10. (See Windows History Section)
PARALLEL PORT: (See PORTS)
Computer hard drives can be used as one partition/drive or be electronically divided into many partitions/drives. For instance a 160 Gigabyte drive can be used as one partition/drive=Drive C: or it can be broken up into three partitions/drives with Drive C: at 100 Gigabytes, Drive D: at 30 Gigabytes and Drive E: will use the remaining 30 Gigabytes. In most cases only Drive C: will contain the operating system. With special software a computer can run multiple operating systems in different partitions. As an example Drive C: runs Windows 7, Drive D: runs Windows 10 and Drive E: is for data storage
PC OR PERSONAL COMPUTER
Generally refers to an IBM (International Business Machines) compatible computer. PCs come in many different forms with many different specifications. A PC is normally made up of the following components, motherboard, processor, memory, graphics card, sound card, hard drive, floppy drive, CD ROM drive, monitor, keyboard and mouse
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) was originally developed by Intel, PCI refers to a cross platform local bus technology integrated into modern motherboards. PCI slots are used to connect a computer's internal components such as modems, sound-cards, network cards, etc. There are 2 different implementations of PCI, one which is a 32-bit bus running at 33Mhz and the other (PCI 2.0) which is a 64-bit bus running at 66Mhz
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Extended) originally developed by Intel, PCIe refers to a cross platform local bus technology integrated into modern motherboards. PCIe slots communicate faster than PCI cards and are used to connect a computer's internal components to things like high-end video cards and network cards
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a universal file format developed by Adobe® that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. You will find PDF a very common format which is widely used on the internet due to its platform independence. To read a PDF file requires the PC to have Adobe reader software installed. The reader software is free and can be downloaded at www.adobe.com
PIXEL (Picture Element) refers to individual bits of data that form an image, also refers to screen resolution, for example 800x600 is 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels high, 1024x768 is 1024 pixels wide and 768 pixels high
PLUG AND PLAY:
Plug and Play technology was developed by Intel® and Microsoft® and was designed to simplify the installation of new hardware. Windows 95 was the first operating system to include Plug and Play technology. In those days it was more Plug and PRAY. Plug and Play compatible devices communicate with the operating system allowing automated configuration, when a Plug and Play device is connected and the machine re-booted (if not USB) the operating system will acknowledge the new hardware and prompt you for the installation disk that came with the hardware. The device drivers should then be automatically installed. Most new hardware is Plug and Play compatible
A POP (Post Office Protocol) server allows you to receive your mail through an email client program such as Outlook or Windows Mail, this allows you to just connect to retrieve your mail from your email provider, and then you can read your mail offline and can reduce your online time.
Ports does not refer to fortified wine from Portugal but to connections on the computer that allow external devices such as printers and scanners to be attached and communicate with the computer. These come in various forms parallel, serial, and universal serial bus or USB.
- PARALLEL PORT: refers to a standard 25 pin connector found on most (if not all) PCs, commonly used for connecting a printer. A standard parallel port transmits 8 data bits at a time. An ECP (Extended Capability Port) and EEP (Enhanced Parallel Port) are both implementations of the parallel standard, they both offer faster data transfer (up to 2Mb/sec) and are commonly supported in modern PCs. These ports support printers and even small networks. (Parallel ports are rarely used these days having been replaced by the USB ports)
- SERIAL PORT: Is a communications port which connects the computer to various peripherals including a mouse or external telephone modem. A serial port transmits data sequentially (one bit at a time) as opposed to parallel ports which transmit 8 bits at a time. (Serial ports are rarely used these days having been replaced by the USB ports)
- USB (Universal Serial Bus) PORT: This is a type of external communications connection to the computer that simplifies adding peripherals (printers, scanners, etc) to your PC. It is not necessary to restart the PC and “SHOULD” install automatically when you connect a USB device. Normally not a problem with Windows 7/8/10. However, in some cases when the manufacture haven't worked with Microsoft, you might need some third party USB drivers for things to work properly. USB ports come in several flavors USB-1, USB-2, and USB-3. USB-1 being the slowest port communicates at a data transfer rate of 120 Mbps per second whereas the USB 2.0 ports provide data transfer rate of up to 480Mbps and the USB-3 (or Super Speed) ports are rated at 5 Gbs or ten times faster than USB-2.
A printer is a device that connects to the computer and prints the data sent to it from the program/application that is being used. There are 3 basic type of computer printers in use today laser, inkjet, and dot matrix. The most common home printer is the color inkjet printer. The color inkjet printer can print all types of letters and graphs as well as digitally rendered color photographs. The laser printer uses the same technology as a copy machine and therefore much cheaper to operate than the inkjet printers. However, most laser printers are more expensive to purchase initially and will only do black and white copies. Color laser printers are available but they are fairly expensive and the cost to operate (toner and other supplies) are very expensive. The dot matrix used to be a standard feature for home computing but very few are used in the home today. The primary use for the dot matrix type of printer is for printing multipart forms for business.
Refers to software that runs under the operating system and allows the operator to do certain tasks. Word processors, spreadsheets, data bases, graphic programs, games, e-mail and internet browser are a few of the types of programs/applications that can be run on the computer.
A standard set of software instructions which allow a computer to communicate with another and/or other devices.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the main memory in your computer; this is where the computer stores the data it needs when you are using a program. RAM gets its name from the ability to allow the system to access any data stored in the memory in any location at any time. This memory is often referred to as volatile or power dependent. i.e. when the power is removed the data is lost. There have been several types of RAM used in computers over the years, naturally as the processors got faster the RAM access time needed to get faster. The following is a description of several types of RAM used most recently:
Early PCs used RAM that was in individual chips that had to be inserted into individual sockets. Next were SIMMs (Single In-Line Memory Modules) these modules have 72 pin connections and the memory chips are mounted on small printed circuit cards. Then came DIMM (Dual In-Line Memory Modules) these modules have either 144 pin connections for laptops or 168 pin connections for desktop PCs and the memory chips are mounted on small printed circuit cards. Most computer RAM today use the DIMM configuration.
- DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) is widely used in today's PCs. DRAM works differently to SDRAM as it needs to be refreshed to continue holding the data, this means a slight loss of speed as the memory refreshes itself with a pulse of current to each of its cells.
- SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) is a type of DRAM that can synchronize itself with the processor's bus speed, and can run at much higher speeds than it's EDO counterpart
- EDO (Extended Data Output) refers to a type of Memory (DRAM) that can simultaneously request the next block of data as it sends a block of data to the processor
- DDR (Double Data Rate) refers to a specification of SDRAM memory, DDR can transfer data at double the rate of normal SDRAM. It achieves this by transferring data twice per clock cycle, once on the rising edge and once on the falling edge of the cycle
ROM (Read Only Memory) This type of memory is non volatile (not power dependent), and its contents can not be changed using normal methods i.e written to like RAM. ROMs are used for any application that requires data to be stored permanently and/or without a constant supply of power. The BIOS in a PC is normally ROM based
SERIAL PORT: (See PORTS)
An external device that has a lighted platen or table and sends a digital image of anything laid upon it. Commonly used to send photographs to the computer for digital manipulation. Can also scan text from a book or magazine, and with proper software can recognize the image as words and letters so they can be used in a word processor
SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is a standard for connecting multiple devices such as hard drives, CD-ROMS, floppy drives, etc, it enables the connection of more devices than its counterpart IDE and normally has faster data rates, but the drives tend to carry a bigger price tag. SCSI components are used mostly by servers and some Apple products
A server is a computer running software that allows it to control the sharing of resources between many computers. Servers are often dedicated to one task depending on what type of server software they are running, here is a summation of a few common server applications:
An HTTP server or web server is typically connected to the internet with a high speed connection and will respond to requests from computers running client software like a browser requiring a specific web page. This type of server is common to the internet.
An FTP server is used to transfer files over a network WAN, LAN or the Internet using the FTP protocol.
A mail server stores and transfers e-mail over a network (WAN, LAN or the Internet)
A chat server allows its users to transfer real time text between two or more computers
A database server allows its users to access its database via a network (WAN, LAN or the internet) and depending on permissions, read, delete or alter the contents of its database. This type of server is common place in an office environment.
A proxy server, as the name suggests, typically sits between the client and the main server, it is used to filter data and enable connections to be shared. For example if you are in the UK and you connect to a website that is hosted in the US then the data you send/receive will pass through one or more proxy servers
Shareware is a type of software that is not commercial and normally requires a registration payment to the author, often there is a trial period
SIMM(s) (Single Inline Memory Module) refers to a RAM memory module with mounted memory chips, SIMMS have a 32bit data path which means that they have to be doubled up when installed in a system with a 64bit processor
An SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server allows you to send emails which have been written within your email client program such as Outlook or Windows Mail, this allows you to write your e-mails offline and then connect for a few seconds to send them. Most email providers supply an SMTP server through which you can send your e-mails.
SOLID STATE DRIVE (SSD)
A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a replacement for the standard spinning platter hard drive. Several advantages are realized with this kind of drive. With no moving parts there is virtually no mechanical failures possible. Additionally, without the latency of the moving parts the SSD's are much faster in saving and retrieving data. ( You NEVER want to attempt to defragment an SSD you will ruin it)
This is an internal device which controls and produces any sounds including music that your PC makes. Some sound cards are integrated into the motherboard and others are plug-in expansion cards. Like most things there are baseline versions and very high end ones with terrific sound quality.