Shopping for a PC or a Laptop could be a daunting task for a buyer who aren't tech savvy as the rest of us. I hope this might help.
What is AGP?:
Accelarated Graphics Port
This is a technology dying very quickly and avoid buying it in the future whether on the motherboard or the graphics card itself.
The highest it can reach is 8x.(I have not seen a game that could even saturate that much bandwidth)
Manufacturers such as Intel, ATI, and nVidia standardizing PCI Express with all their motherboard lineup and Graphics card.
Do not buy 1 unless someone gave it to you for free.
What is ATX?:
Advanced Technology Extended
The modern-day shape and layout of PC motherboards.
It improves on the previous standard, the Baby AT form factor, by rotating the orientation of the board 90 degrees.
This allows for a more efficient design, with disk drive cable connectors nearer to the drive bays and the CPU closer to the power supply and cooling fan.
ATX motherboards usually faces to your left.
They're standard, until BTX comes.
What is BIOS?:
Basic Input/Output System
It's the program which starts up your computer and communicates between the devices in your computer (such as your hard drive and graphics card) and the system.
BIOS is normally stored in an EPROM chip (Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memory).
Flashing your BIOS can wield great results such as upgrade compatibility for future CPUs and fixes numerous motherboard problems.
There are many Motherboards that comes with a feature when a BIOS flashing goes down the drain, it can restore a backup preventing your Motherboard to turn into a coaster.
What is BTX?:
Balanced Technology Extended
BTX, acronym for Balanced Technology Extended is an interface specification that provides a common, flexible foundation, based on standards that can be used to build innovative desktop systems.
The BTX specification provides new tools and design space for developers to lay out desktop systems, whether designing small, compact systems or very large, expandable systems.
BTX is also optimized for the newest desktop technologies, including PCI Express and Serial ATA.
It is also designed to allow for better heat dissipation by incorporating a new thermal module design for better air flow.
Some cases now have BTX compatibility but many are still afraid to jump on the BTX wagon.
I cannot find a BTX motherboard anywhere yet.
What is Cache?:
Super expensive on-die memory.
Back in the days of the first Petiums, Cache was external.(Petium II changes all of that)
Most common cache sizes are 512kb and the cheapest you can find.
The biggest cache for a desktop CPU you can find(if you can afford it) is 2mb.
Usually means, the bigger the cache, the better the performance.
Smaller than 512kb of cache is too slow for today's standard.
1mb is the sweet spot for now which they can go for $300 to $800.
What is Chipset?:
Originally Posted by Tom212
Intels 6-- series cpus are only about $100 more than the 5-- series, and have a 2mb l2 cahce.
Intels extrem edition cpu has 2mb l3 cahce and go for about $1000
Connects and controls data flow in your system.
There are 2 bridges: North Bridge and South Bridge.
North Bridge connects your CPU to your RAM. It's the memory controller.
FSB is the speed which data from your RAM to the North Bridge to the CPU, back to North Bridge then back to RAM.
The faster the FSB, the faster data flows.
This is one of the biggest bottlenecks the PC has.(Hard Drive is the biggest)
AMD remedy this by putting the memory controller on the CPU die itself, lifting a huge amount of bottleneck with a FBS of 1000+mhz "HyperTransport" eliminating the need for a North Bridge.
A big disadvantage of this is when it's time to upgrade to DDR2, you have to buy a new CPU and a new Motherboard instead of just buying a new Motherboard which supports DD2.
Intel with it's North Bridge still separated from it's CPU can only reach up to 800mhz FBS for now.
South Bridge controlls all your other peripherals.
Such as your USB ports, Firewire, onboard Video and Sound chips, and NIC.
The latest chipset from either, Intel, VIA, SIS, ALI, ATI and nVidia can utilize the latest CPU out in the market.
Choosing 1 is a bit easier since Intel and nVidia are the major players in the Chipset market.
A big disadvantage when it's time to upgrade to DDR2, you have to buy a new CPU and a new Motherboard instead of just buying a new Motherboard which supports DD2.
Buy what matches with your CPU. I would go with the popularity votes on this one
What are Cores?:
Type of chip inside your CPU.
Names like Prescott, Dothan, or Venice.
This can be confusing since the a series of Petium 4 has different cores but has different performance. But Prescott is Petium 4's flagship core as of now.
AMD is alot more confusing with Clawhammer, Newcastle and the new Venice plus many more in it's lineup.
It also comes in different sizes: .13Ám, 90nm, 65nm.
Shrinking the core die size improves performance since data has to travel less.
Imagine a small room and a big room. You can travel faster from 1 side of the wall to the next with a smaller room.
Most people do not pay attention to cores when shopping for a CPU.
Which is understandable since it is so confusing.
I would go with the popularity votes on this one
What is CPU?:
Central Processing Unit
Considered as the brains of a computer.
(People might argue otherwise)
Intel and AMD are currently the major players in the CPU race. (Cell might join in soon)
The Ghz race is dead. It is now all about the Rating system.
Intel has 540, 620, 680 and it goes on.(Higher means better)
AMD has 2800+,3200+,4000+.(Higher means better)
Also FX series. This model is the highend model.
AMD is considered as a Gaming CPU.
Intel is considered as a Application(Video editing,etc) CPU.
Buy what fits your budget and your use.
What is DDR?:
Double Data Rate
It is an extension of SD-RAM which instead of sending 1 data at a time, it is double. Hence the code name "Double Data".
DDR2 is doubled of DDR.
You wouldn't see the reaping benefits of DDR2 when the FBS reaches up more than 800mhz for Intel because of high latency issues.
AMD is still on DDR until it's latency goes lower.
For now, DDR is actually faster than DDR2. You will see DDR2 become standard when FSB reaches more than 1000mhz.
Save DDR2 for later. For now, DDR is standard
What is FSB?:
Front Side Bus
The bus that connects the CPU to main memory on the motherboard.
I/O buses, which connect the CPU with the systems other components, branch off of the system bus.
Imagine a small school bus that has a very slow driver. That means, it would take less students and less time to go to school.
The Bigger and faster bus on the other hand will take more students to school ealier.
The North Bridge or memory controller controlls the FSB.(See "What is Chipset?" North Bridge section)
What is GPU?:
Graphics Processing Unit
Used primarily for 3-D applications, a graphics processing unit is a single-chip processor that creates lighting effects and transforms objects every time a 3D scene is redrawn.
These are mathematically-intensive tasks, which otherwise, would put quite a strain on the CPU.
Lifting this burden from the CPU frees up cycles that can be used for other jobs.
Buy what fits your budget.
What is PCI?:
Peripheral Component Interconnect
The most common I/O bus in use today.
Used for peripherals such as add-in Sound Cards, capture cards, etc.
If you still use a PCI connection for your PCI video card. Then you are not a gamer.
Fastest bus a PCI has is 66mhz.
PCI-E is here which is replacing AGP. Mainly used for Video Cards.
What is PSU?:
Power Supply Unit
PSU is the component that supplies power to a computer.
The power supply pulls the required amount of electricity and converts the AC current to DC current.
It also regulates the voltage to eliminate spikes and surges common in most electrical systems.
Not all power supplies, however, do an adequate voltage-regulation job, so a computer is always susceptible to large voltage fluctuations.
Power supplies are rated in terms of the number of watts they generate.
The more powerful the computer, the more watts it can provide to components.
Buy name brands such as Antec, Enermax or PCPowerandCooling PSUs.
You do not want to plugin that new Petium 4 EE and SLI 6800GT to a $20 PSU.
Buy the best! I don't care if you are in a budget!
What is VPU?:
Visual Processing Unit
Same as GPU.(Other might argue otherwise)
What is VRAM?:
Video Random Access Memory
VRAM is a special-purpose memory used by video adapters.
Unlike conventional RAM, VRAM can be accessed by two different devices simultaneously.
This enables the RAMDAC to access the VRAM for screen updates at the same time that the video processor provides new data.
VRAM yields better graphics performance but is more expensive than normal RAM.
Latest VRAM currently is the GDDR3. It runs cooler and more efficient than GDDR2.
What is wrong with my iPod?:
Too many to post.
Check this out:
For other stuff: http://www.ipodlounge.com/index.php/ipod-software/
I am sure I missed alot more.
PM me if you want something added to the list.