Glossary of terms – General PC

Computer “Jargon“!

Here’s a handy glossary of terms translated from Geek speak into… English!


BIOSBasic Input Output System. This is first piece of software a Computer loads on boot up. It tells the Hardware how to load up your Operating System and how to communicate with devices connected to your Motherboard.

ROM Read Only Memory. A type of memory that holds the Firmware for a device.

Firmware – Provides basic level operating functions to Hardware that allow it to load up more complex functions in an Operating System.

Chipset – A set of electrical components on a Motherboard that connect the CPU, RAM & Peripherals.

RAMRandom Access Memory. The short term memory of a Computer, when you start up your operating system and open up programs they are loaded into the RAM to make them quicker to access. When you shut your PC down the memory of this program is lost as it is short term memory. The more RAM your PC has the faster it will load programs.

CPUCentral Processing Unit. This is the brain of your PC and it controls how many processes your PC can handle at once. Better CPU’s can do more complicated processes at once.

GPU – Graphics Processing Unit. This is the part of the PC that “draws the picture” they range from standard everyday use to high end intensive gaming and you can read more about them HERE.

PSUPower Supply Unit. Supplies regulated power to all of the components of the Computer.

MOBO – Motherboard – The main board of a Computer that everything connects to. Without a board to connect it all too there would be so many cables it would be totally un-manageable.

HDDHard Disk Drive. A storage drive for saving files on that comprises of spinning platters and a head that reads the information. The head moves across the platter(s) as they spin to read data off of them a bit like a record player. Available in a range of storage capacities ranging from 20GB up to 6TB (That’s just over 300 x 20 GB drives in one single drive)

SSDSolid State Drive. A storage drive for saving files on that is made of flash memory, similar to that found in mobile phones. It contains no moving parts and thus are considered more durable to knocks bumps and drops than the Hard Drive equivalent. They also provide a vast read/write speed increase against hard drives however tend to be available in smaller sizes and costing considerably more than the equivalent size in a hard drive

USBUniversal Serial Bus. A connection that allows external devices to connect to you PC i.e camera, printer, scanner, keyboard, mouse, webcam, headset

HDMIHigh Definition Multimedia Interface. A digital connection that allows HD screens to be connected to the PC giving a high quality picture and sound.

DVIDigital Visual Interface. Another digital connection for screens usually a white connector.

VGAVideo Graphics Array. An analogue connection for screens usually a blue connector.


About Adam B

IT Engineer, Specializes in Apple Mac, Gaming & Audio production work stations.