Laptops Options: Computer Jargon!

GB, MB, Hz, RAM, DIN, WiFi, CRT, Pentium, AMD, Centrino. Sounds like a foreign language, or perhaps the military or other governmental terminology. (Unless of course you associate with more common terms; i.e., GB = George Bush, RAM = an animal, WiFi = A Star Trek gizmo!) Do you really have to know all this stuff to operate a computer, much less buy one? Yes and no. Yes, it’s wonderful to know if you want to impress your friends. Just be prepared to back yourself up when they come running to you for technical support. It’s helpful to know about the workings of a computer, but no, you don’t have to be an expert to operate one. Here are a few simple, easy to understand definitions to help familiarize you with the basics. It’s especially helpful when shopping for a laptop.

MB = Mega means million, bytes means bits of information. Measuring the number of megabytes tells you how big a hard drive, a file, or your memory capacity is, by counting the millions of bytes.

GB = Giga means billion. Measuring the number of gigabytes by counting billions of bytes tells you how big your hard drive is.

Hz = Hertz. This is the number of cycles per second of an electromagnetic wave. One Hz is equal to one cycle per second. This measurement of speed was named after Heinrich R.Hertz, a German physicist who discovered electromagnetic waves.

RAM = RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM, also called memory, is a temporary storage space on chips in your computer. RAM holds programs and files temporarily while you’re using them. When you turn off the power to the computer, everything in RAM disappears.

ROM = Read Only Memory, memory that can only be read from and not written to.

CD-ROM stands for Compact Disk – Read Only Memory. In the past you could only read information from most CD-ROMs. Now you can also write and save information on them.

CPU = CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the chip which is the “brains” of the computer. It’s the most important part of your computer. It is also called the processor. The CPU processes data and instructions. It does calculations and does what the software programs tell it to do.

CRT = Cathode ray tube, used in computer monitors. We now also have LCD monitors.

DIN = A connector (plug and socket) used to connect keyboard, mouse or other devices to your computer. The DIN plug is an open metal cylinder with pins inside in a curved pattern.

DIMM = 1 Dimm means that there’s a second memory slot empty so you can purchase an additional 256MB or two 512MB to upgrade up to 1GB.

WiFi = This is an abbreviation of the term wireless fidelity. It refers to an over-the-air connection a base station and a wireless client or between two wireless clients.

Pentium = Intel Corporation introduced this high-performance microprocessor in 1993 (also called P5, 586, or 80586). The name Pentium (meaning five) refers to the fact that it is the fifth microprocessor in their 80×86 series. It is approximately twice as fast as their original 486.

Centrino = Centrino technology is a collection of Intel’s notebook components including a Pentium M processor, an Intel graphics-accelerator chipset and integrated Intel Wi-Fi. Many other brands of notebooks have similar processors and include Wi-Fi, but because they don’t use these specific components, specified by Intel, they are not called Centrino.

AMD = Two meanings. (1) Active Matrix Display. LCD (liquid crystal display) technology, used for computer screens, in which there is a transistor for each pixel that prevents losing image quality between scans. (2) Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. A USA manufacturer of computer products such as microprocessors, integrated circuits, memory, and other.

There are hundreds more computer related terms, but I think these are the main ones you will see as you seek information about computers, laptops or notebooks.

Linda Marklund is writer and senior administrator for LaptopsOptions.com [http://www.laptopsoptions.com/] , which specializes in notebook reviews [http://www.laptopsoptions.com/] and laptop ratings [http://www.laptopsoptions.com/].

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