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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Motherboard Glossary

AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) – A connection standard for video adapters and motherboards. In a typical PCIsystem (see PCI below), one controller manages all of the PCI adapter cards. This means that when two ormore adapter cards are in a computer, they must each ‘wait their turn’ to send and / or receive data. The AGPsystem eliminates this ‘bottleneck’, by having only one video adapter ‘talking’ to one controller, at greater speedsthan in the PCI system. Virtually all modern Windows and Macintosh systems use an AGP video adapter,either built into the motherboard or plugged into an AGP adapter slot.Chipset – A chipset is a group of integrated circuits (microchips) that can be used together to serve a singlefunction and are therefore manufactured and sold as a unit. For example, one chipset might combine all themicrochips needed to serve as the communications controller between a processor and memory and otherdevices in a computer.DDR (double data rate) memory reads data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal. SDRAMonly carries information on the rising edge of a signal. Basically this allows the DDR module to transfer datatwice as fast as SDRAM.Dual Channel Memory– DDR chipsets on certain motherboards designed with two memory channels insteadof one. The two channels handle memory-processing more efficiently by utilizing the theoretical bandwidth ofthe two modules, thus reducing system latencies, the timing delays that inherently occur with one memorymodule. Dual channel requires 2 sticks of RAM (The same exact size, speed, and make) and installed into thecorrect RAM slots to operate in dual channel mode. If the memory does not exactly match in the banks andchannels, the system will automatically drop back to single-channel operation, and at the speed of the slowestcomponent.Firewire (IEEE 1394) – This high-speed interface has become a hot new standard for connecting peripherals.Created by Apple Computer in the mid-1990’s, Firewire can be used to connect devices such as digital videocameras, hard drives, audio interfaces, and MP3 players, such as the Apple iPod, to your computer. A standardFirewire connection can transfer data at 400 Mbps, which is roughly 30 times faster than USB 1.1. This blazingspeed allows for quick transfers of large video files, which is great for video-editing professionals. If 400 Mbpsis still not fast enough, Apple Computer released new PowerMacs with Firewire 800 ports in early 2003. Theseports support data transfer rates of 800 Mbps — twice the speed of the original Firewire standard.Form Factor – Form Factor is the shape and size of your system board. The standards are ATX , AT , BabyAT, Micro ATX and the new BTX. You want to make sure the form factor of your computer case and motherboard match.IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) – It is the most widely-used hard drive interface on the market. The fancy name refers to how the IDE technology “integrates” the electronics controller into the drive itself.

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