Everyday technical jargon about computer hardware is teeming with obscure acronyms, mostly in the form of the usual three-letter abbreviations, the initials of which then form the components of the respective short form. Although many users may use the terms frequently, they do not necessarily know what the initial words actually stand for or what the Anglicisms actually mean. Caseking clarifies and explains the most important PC abbreviations in the overview below:
APU – Accelerated P rocessing Unit is a term used primarily by chip manufacturer AMD to describe an efficient fusion of processor (CPU) and graphics unit (GPU) on a common silicon die, but Intel also offers processors with an integrated graphics unit. The graphics unit is particularly suitable for office work and uses the mainboard's outgoing monitor connections, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA or DVI. The required graphics memory is assigned via the UEFI and deducted from the working memory, which means that it is advisable to install 8 GB of working memory even in an office PC.
ATX – A dvanced T echnology E x tended is a form factor for cases, power supplies and mainboards and their connections that has existed since 1996. The usual size of a PC mainboard is ATX, but there are also smaller mainboards in Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX format. If you need more connections, you can also use a larger E-ATX mainboard. Cases are often suitable for several mainboard formats, especially smaller mainboards are almost always compatible. The situation is similar with power supplies of the ATX standard. The only difference here is the length, which should be compared with the housing specifications when putting it together.
BIOS/UEFI – B asic I nput O utput S ystem is a very simple software for managing the mainboard. It can only be controlled by keystrokes and has been implemented in modern computers with the newer Unified Extensible F irmware Interface replaced, which includes a graphical interface with mouse operation. The BIOS/UEFI is loaded before the operating system (e.g. Windows 10) starts. All important settings for the computer can be made in the BIOS/UEFI, such as defining the boot order. Since all clock rates can be adjusted here, the BIOS/UEFI is often used by overclockers in particular.
CPU – C entral P rocessing Unit is the English term for the main processor of a computer. Only the two manufacturers AMD and Intel are currently relevant for gaming PCs. The performance of a CPU is specified on the one hand by the number of cores (cores) and on the other hand by the number of computing operations per second. Most gaming PCs now use quad or octa-core CPUs, i.e. with four or eight cores. These have a high clock rate in the gigahertz range, so they can carry out several billion arithmetic operations per second.
DDR – Double Data Rate is the type of random access memory (RAM) in a computer. DDR1 is no longer used, even DDR2 and DDR3 are no longer up to date - modern gaming PCs use DDR4 memory. This is significantly faster than the previous generations. The memory modules have a different number of pins depending on the generation and are therefore not compatible with each other. Since the DDR bars are plugged onto the mainboard, it must be checked before buying which RAM you need. Currently available mainboards use DDR3 or DDR4. Even RAM is now partially equipped with RGB LEDs and can serve as an eye-catcher in the case.
DVI – D igital V isual I nterface designates an electronic interface for the transmission of video data, for example the monitor signal of a graphics card. There are three different DVI versions: DVI-A (analogue), DVI-D (digital) and DVI-I (analogue & digital). In addition, some DVI connectors support Dual-Link, which allows two digital signals to be transmitted to increase resolution. The three DVI standards have different connectors. A DVI-I plug cannot be plugged into a DVI-D socket, but it works the other way around. With DVI, a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels can be transmitted at 60 Hz.
FPS – There is a different meaning here depending on the context. One is F irst P erson Shooter, a game genre with a first - person perspective, and the other is Frames P er Second, i.e. frames per second. Typical offshoots of first person shooters include Counter Strike, Call of Duty and Battlefield. The frames per second indicate how many frames per second can be rendered or displayed. The higher the frames per second, the smoother the displayed image, so a frame rate of 60 frames per second is essential for gamers. However, the trend is increasing, so that there are already monitors that can display up to 240 frames per second (240 Hz).
GPU – G raphics P rocessing Unit is the graphics processing unit of a computer. These are almost always manufactured by AMD, Intel or Nvidia. However, Intel is limited to graphics processors integrated in CPUs. The graphics cards are usually plugged into a PCI Express slot on the mainboard, current graphics cards require a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot. Depending on the size of the heat sink, a graphics card covers neighboring slots, which means that no further expansion cards can be used there. AMD Radeon RX and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards are relevant for gamers.
HDD – Hard Disk Drive is the English name for a hard disk drive (short: hard disk). This is a storage medium that is installed in desktop PCs and laptops. The data is written on so-called platters, which are rotating, magnetic disks. The non-contact magnetization of the platter enables hard disks to be written to repeatedly. However, magnetization also has disadvantages, such as strong magnets in the vicinity of HDDs can lead to data loss. Nowadays, HDDs are no longer connected via IDE, but via SATA or SAS interfaces. However, due to the mechanical way they work, they do not reach the high speeds of an electronic flash memory.
HDMI – High Definition M ultimedia Interface is an interface for the transmission of digital image and sound material. The interface was introduced back in 2002, and most devices currently use HDMI 2.0b, which supports a maximum of 4K/UHD resolutions (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) at 60 Hertz. With HDMI 2.1, 4K/UHD resolutions of up to 120 Hertz are achieved, and higher resolutions are then also possible. Content can be transmitted in encrypted form thanks to support for copy protection HDCP 1.1 (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). HDMI is a further development of DVI and backwards compatible with it, which means tha
NAS – N etwork Attached S torage is a term used to describe network storage. NAS systems have now become very important for both private and business storage solutions, because they allow storage to be made available to multiple users via the network. Depending on the product, it is very easy to set up and use. NAS systems often use a Linux-based operating system that can also manage access rights. Not only desktop PCs can access a NAS via the network, smartphones can also be connected if WLAN is available. Some NAS systems support RAID arrays for increased data security.
PCI – Peripheral Component I nterconnect is a bus standard that can be used to connect additional peripheral devices to the mainboard . There are many different PCI cards, such as network cards, USB controllers or sound cards. A PCI slot does not offer enough bandwidth for high-performance graphics cards, which is why they use the further development of PCI Express. An M.2 slot can also be retrofitted with a PCI Express card in order to be able to use the currently fastest mass storage devices with NVMe protocol, the Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSDs with up to 3,500 MB/s. Depending on the mainboard, there are different numbers of PCI and PCI Express slots.
RAID – Redundant Array of Independent Disks means “ Redundant Array of Independent Disks”. When the term was first used, it stood for "Redundant Array of Indexpensive Disks ".hard drives”. A RAID system, or RAID array, connects multiple physical mass storage devices to form a logical drive. Depending on the RAID variant, this network offers higher speed or greater reliability. A combination of RAID arrays is also possible in order to benefit from both advantages. The most common RAID levels are RAID 0, 1 and 5, of which RAID 1 offers the highest level of data security. This requires at least two hard disks that are mirrored.
RAM – R andom A ccess M emory is the main memory of a computer and is also referred to as working memory. Its access times and access speeds are significantly higher than those of mass storage devices, and even modern NVMe SSDs are easily left behind. DDR4-3200 RAM achieves maximum transfer rates of 25,600 MB/s, while the currently fastest M.2 NVMe SSD manages 3,500 MB/s. Therefore, RAM is used to temporarily store currently used programs and data. Even office PCs should have 8 GB of RAM installed, while gamers often have to rely on 16 GB of RAM for memory-hungry games. Modern computers use the DDR4 standard, but DDR3 RAM is still freely available.
SATA – Serial A dvanced T echnology Attachment , also written as S -ATA, is an interface for data transmission. It not only serves as a connection for mass storage devices such as HDDs and SSDs, but also for removable storage drives such as DVD or Blu-ray burners. SATA-III (or SATA 6G) is limited to a gross data rate of 6 Gb/s, which is why modern SSDs switch to the faster M.2 interface with NVMe protocol. SATA devices not only have a SATA data connector, but also a SATA power connector for the power supply. There is also a smaller connection, mSATA, which has not really caught on.
SLI – Scalable Link IInterface is a multi-GPU technology from the graphics card manufacturer Nvidia. SLI allows multiple graphics cards to be connected together, which can increase performance. SLI bridges are used for the connection, which connect up to four graphics cards with one another with a simple plug-in connection. It should be noted that not every graphics card supports SLI. The mainboard must also support the technology. Theoretically, the computing power of the GPUs is at the level of the slowest graphics processor involved, multiplied by the number of graphics processors. However, many applications are not optimized for multi-GPU operation, which is why the increase in performance when using two identical graphics cards is usually only between 30 and 90 percent.
SSD – Solid State Drive or Solid State D _ _ _ _isk is a NAND flash-based memory that shouldn't be missing from any gaming PC these days. Unlike mechanical HDDs with their rotating magnetic discs, SSDs have no mechanical components. Thus, SSDs are much more robust and shock-resistant. They work silently, are very fast and consume extremely little power. When it comes to storage space, SSDs are no longer inferior to HDDs. MLC flash is usually used for the memory cells, while TLC is used in higher-quality SSDs. There are also differences in the controllers used, which come from LSI Sandforce, OCZ/Indilinx, Marvell, Samsung or Intel. Solid state drives are connected via SATA, mSATA or M.2. The highest speeds are achieved with M.2 (PCIe) and the NVMe protocol.
VGA – Video Graphics Array refers to a standard for image transmission that is now outdated. VGA was introduced by IBM as early as 1987, but it has become increasingly rare in recent years. Modern graphics cards and monitors support the HDMI and DisplayPort connections instead. This is less due to the limitation of the resolution or refresh rate by VGA, but rather to its analogue signal. An analog signal can only be transmitted with loss, which is why modern image transmission standards are digital. Since monitors and graphics cards now work digitally, it no longer makes sense to convert the digital signal into an analog signal for transmission. If you can use alternative connections, you should use them.
DAU - Dumbest Assumable User is actually pretty self-explanatory. Computer users with little application skills are referred to as DAU. They often lack basic computer knowledge, so that thinking and application errors can occur from time to time, to which more experienced users often react negatively. When creating hardware and software, great consideration is therefore usually given to DAUs by intensively testing their usability and providing a clear error message for as many exceptions as possible.