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Modern CPU

A CPU cache is a cache used by the central processing unit of a

computer to reduce the average time to access memory. The cache
is a smaller, faster memory which stores copies of the data from the
most frequently used main memory locations.
Three basic characteristics differentiate microprocessors:
• Instruction set: The set of instructions that the microprocessor
can execute.
• bandwidth : The number of bits processed in a single instruction.
• clock speed : Given in megahertz (MHz), the clock speed
determines how many instructions per second the processor can
RISC Processor
Pronounced risk, acronym for reduced instruction set
computer, a type of microprocessor that recognizes a
relatively limited number of instructions. Until the mid-
1980s, the tendency among computer manufacturers
was to build increasingly complex CPUs that had ever-
larger sets of instructions. At that time, however, a
number of computer manufacturers decided to reverse
this trend by building CPUs capable of executing only a
very limited set of instructions. One advantage of
reduced instruction set computers is that they can
execute their instructions very fast because the
instructions are so simple. Another, perhaps more
important advantage, is that RISC chips require fewer
transistors, which makes them cheaper to design and

Stands for complex instruction

set computer. Most personal
computers, use a CISC
architecture, in which the CPU
supports as many as two hundred
Parallel Processing
The simultaneous use of more than one CPU to execute
a program. Ideally, parallel processing makes a program
run faster because there are more engines (CPUs)
running it. In practice, it is often difficult to divide a
program in such a way that separate CPUs can execute
different portions without interfering with each other.
Most computers have just one CPU, but some models
have several. There are even computers with thousands
of CPUs. With single-CPU computers, it is possible to
perform parallel processing by connecting the
computers in a network. However, this type of parallel
processing requires very sophisticated software called
distributed processing software.

In multitasking, only one CPU is

involved, but it switches from one
program to another so quickly
that it gives the appearance of
executing all of the programs at
the same time.
Serial port

A port, or interface, that can be

used for serial communication, in
which only 1 bit is transmitted at
a time.
9 Pin Serial Port Connector

Pin No.
Pin No.
DCD (Data Carrier Detect)
DSR (Data Set Ready)
RX (Receive Data)
RTS (Request To Send)
TX (Transmit Data)
CTS (Clear To Send)
DTR (Data Terminal Ready)
Parallel port

An output device that lets a

computer transmit data to
another device using parallel data
transmission-that is, several bits
sent simultaneously over separate
wires. PC parallel ports are
usually designated LPT1, LPT2,
and so on

SCSI interfaces provide for faster

data transmission rates (up to 80
megabytes per second) than standard
serial and parallel ports. In addition,
you can attach many devices to a
single SCSI port, so that SCSI is
really an I/O bus rather than simply
an interface.
Short for Universal Serial Bus, an
external bus standard that supports
data transfer rates of 12 Mbps. A
single USB port can be used to
connect up to 127 peripheral devices,
such as mice, modems, and
keyboards. USB also supports Plug-
and-Play installation and hot
HOT Plugging
The ability to add and remove devices to a
computer while the computer is running
and have the operating system
automatically recognize the change. Two
external bus standards -- Universal Serial
Bus (USB ) and IEEE 1394 -- support hot
plugging. Hot plugging is also called hot
IEEE 1394
A very fast external bus standard that supports data
transfer rates of up to 400Mbps (in 1394a) and 800Mbps
(in 1394b). Products supporting the 1394 standard go
under different names, depending on the company.
Apple, which originally developed the technology, uses
the trademarked name FireWire. Other companies use
other names, such as i.link and Lynx, to describe their
1394 products.
A single 1394 port can be used to connect up 63 external
. Computers that have a MIDI interface can
record sounds created by a synthesizer and then
manipulate the data to produce new sounds. For
example, you can change the key of a
composition with a single keystroke.
A number of software programs are available
for composing and editing music that conforms
to the MIDI standard. They offer a variety of
functions: for instance, when you play a tune on
a keyboard connected to a computer, a music
program can translate what you play into a
written score.
Expansion Slot

An opening in a computer where a circuit

board can be inserted to add new
capabilities to the computer. Nearly all
personal computers except portables
contain expansion slots for adding more
memory, graphics capabilities, and
support for special devices. The boards
inserted into the expansion slots are called
expansion boards, expansion cards , card
, add-ins , and add-ons.
Expansion Board

A printed circuit board that you

can insert into a computer to give
it added capabilities
Short for Personal Computer Memory Card
International Association, and pronounced as
separate letters, PCMCIA is an organization
consisting of some 500 companies that has
developed a standard for small, credit card-sized
devices, called PC Cards. Originally designed
for adding memory to portable computers, the
PCMCIA standard has been expanded several
times and is now suitable for many types of