PC Hardware

Technical Terms Beginning With A

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)

An Intel-design expansion port found on Pentium II and later computers that allows a separate data path for display adapters.

access speed

The time required to complete read or write instructions as required by the memory controller chip. Usually measured in nanoseconds (ns) for memory chips and milliseconds (ms) for disk drives. Most manufacturers rate average access time on a hard disk as the time required for a seek across one-third of the total number of cylinders plus one half of the time for a single revolution of the disk platters.

address bus

A group of parallel conductors (circuit traces) found on the motherboard that are used by the CPU to "address" memory locations. Determines what information or code is sent to or received from the data bus.


A measurement of electrical current strength.

ASCII file

Commonly used term to refer to a text file that contains only data as set forth by the American Standard Code for Information Interchange to conform to their standard.


Not synchronized-the computer is free to transmit any number of characters at any time. The bits constituting a single character are transmitted at a fixed rate, but the pauses between transmission can be of any duration.


A file attached to e-mail; most e-mail clients allow the user to append files (for instance, graphics files like GIFs or JPEGs) to e-mail as a handy way of sending information to other people.