A robot speaks in data to represent computer jaragon

Computer Terms Explained: A Glossary

If you're not familiar with computer terminology, it can be very frustrating to research a new piece of equipment or service. Our glossary will cover the most common terms.

Glossary

Application (App)—a computer program designed for a specific task or use. Microsoft© Word© is a word processing application.

CPU (processor)—Central Processing Unit, the primary component of a computer that processes instructions. The CPU runs the operating system and applications.

Desktop computer—a computer designed to stay in a single location, that is, not portable like a laptop computer.

DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4—Double Data Rate, computer memory that can transfer data twice as fast as SDRAM. Each incremental number is a new generation with speed improvements.

DRAM—Dynamic Random Access Memory, a type of computer memory that stores each bit of data on a separate capacitor. This is the most common kind of computer memory.

Driver—a software program that enables a specific hardware device to work with a computer's operating system. Most printers require a specific driver to be installed on your computer.

Firmware—a type of computer program that allows a piece of hardware to work.

Gigabyte (GB)—a unit of measure equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes.

Graphics card (Video card)—a piece of computer hardware to display graphical data with high clarity, definition, and appearance.

Graphics processing unit (GPU)—a specialized electronic circuit that rapidly manipulates and alters computer memory to create images intended for display on a screen.

Hard disk drive (HDD)—also called a hard drive, a piece of hardware in a computer that stores data such as programs and user-created files. This particular hadware consists of a spinning platter and an actuator arm.

Hardware—The physical machinery and devices that make up a computer system. Learn more about computer hardware.

HDD (Hard disk drive)—also called a hard drive, a piece of hardware in a computer that stores data such as programs and user-created files. This particular hadware consists of a spinning platter and an actuator arm.

Kilobyte (KB)—a unit of measure equal to 1,024 bytes.

Laptop computer—a portable computer.

Malware—software that is intended to damage or disable the data on a computer. Learn more about malware.

Megabyte (MB)—a unit of measure equal to 1,048,576 bytes.

Memory (RAM)—a physical device to store data temporarily for quick access by computer programs. Learn more about memory.

Motherboard—a printed circuit board that contains the principal components of a computer with connectors for other circuit boards to be attached.

Operating system (OS)—software that supports a computer's basic functions such as executing applications and controlling peripherals.

PC—a personal computer, typically used to indicate a non-Mac® computer.

Processor (CPU)—Central Processing Unit, the primary component of a computer that processes instructions. The CPU runs the operating system and applications.

Program—a set of instructions that a computer uses to perform a particular operation. Microsoft Word is a word processing program.

Peripheral—a hardware device used to put information into or get information out of a computer. A mouse, keyboard, and monitor are examples of peripherals.

A group of computer peripherals.

RAM (Memory)—a physical device to store data temporarily for quick access by computer programs.

Software—a general term for programs and the operating system for computers.

Solid state drive (SSD)—a piece of hardware in a computer that stores data such as programs and user-created files. This particular hadware consists of flash memory.

Storage drive—a piece of hardware such as a solid state drive or a hard disk drive that stores software and data files.

Terabyte—a unit of measure equal to 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, or 1,024 gigabytes.

USB—Universal Serial Bus, an industry standard connection common in computers for connecting peripherals. 

Video card (Graphics card)—a piece of computer hardware to display graphical data with high clarity, definition, and appearance.

Virus—a type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code.


©2018 Micron Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Information, products, and/or specifications are subject to change without notice. Neither Crucial nor Micron Technology, Inc. is responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography. Micron, the Micron logo, Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
 


Related Articles

View all articles