Computer Concepts and Terminology

Intro History Types Software Binary Hardware
Input/Output Processors Memory Storage Ports Net/Telecom Questions
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Links to topics on this page:

These web pages are designed for the following UNM-LA courses:
CT102LT Introduction to Microcomputers on the PC
CS150L Computing for Business Students

NOTE: These pages were created in 2004 (and updated over the next few years) when the Essential Computer Concepts chapter was removed from our textbook. It was restored in later versions of the text, so these pages are no longer updated -- but the information is still valid, if rather outdated in places. Read these pages in addition to the new ECC chapter in the textbook.

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How to Use This Tutorial
Why is This Important?


You should study all of the topics available from the menu at the top of these pages. We recommend that you keep track of which topics you have covered so that you don’t accidentally skip any.

CT102/CS150 students will be tested on this material as part of Test #1.

CT120 students will be tested on this material as part of their final exam.

All students should pay particular attention to terms that appear in black bold formatting within the text; those terms and concepts are important for the test.

Many of the terms within the body text on these pages are cross-linked to other pages, but they do not show up as obvious links. This prevents all the links from being distracting during reading. However, if you point at a term (such as these words here) you will be able to see that they are a link. So, point at any term you are unfamiliar with to see if it links to another page with an explanation.

There will be graphics and links available in the right column on most of these pages. The graphic may be a “thumbnail” image that you can click on to see a larger image or more explanation.


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Report any typos or errors that you find in these pages to Dr. Thomas Beach, UNM-LA Office #623F.

Why is This Material Important?

    E-mail Thomas E. Beach

When you decide to buy a personal computer, you will be confronted with a choice of system configurations that you can purchase (be it online, in a catalog, or in a computer store). Each system will have a description (a specification) listing its features, but this list will be full of terminology and jargon that you will need to understand. Why does that computer cost $1,100 while that one only costs $499? They look the same. Do these little differences in the list (3 GHz vs. 1.5 GHz... 500 GB vs 200 GB... etc.) make a difference? Indeed they do, so you will learn much of that terminology here.

Even if you are not buying a computer, you will someday have problems with one that you are using, and you will need to call up the resident computer guru (“user-friendly liveware”). But she or he is likely to ask you all sorts of questions about your system (“Are there any peripherals plugged into the USB ports? How much RAM does it have?”), and life will be much easier if you have a clue as to what the questions mean.

It also helps you better understand your computer and what it can do for you if you have an understanding of key computer concepts and a knowledge of the history of computers. So, read on and learn. Ask questions in class about anything you don't understand.


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Last update: August 29, 2016 7:32 PM