PCs Glossary: C

cable: A means of accessing the Internet that runs through your cable TV coaxial connection.

Caps Lock: A key on a keyboard that, when pressed to make active, causes letters to appear capitalized on the monitor’s display when you press the corresponding letter key on the keyboard.

capture card: A video upgrade card that can capture incoming analog video signal and convert it to digital video.

cartridge: The container that stores ink or toner for use in a printer.

Cat 5: A Category 5 networking cable used to connect a computer to a network hub.

CD: Compact disc; a removable storage medium that can hold data, text, and graphics.

CD/DVD recorder: A type of drive that you can attach to your computer in order to copy data from your PC to a recordable CD or DVD.

chassis: The metal frame on which your computer’s internal components and circuits are mounted.

chip: An integrated computer circuit containing many elements connected on a single unit.

chipset: A group of chips that work together to perform a specific task or function. For example, a motherboard on a computer contains chips for the BIOS, CPU, memory, expansion slots, and other components; this collection of chips is the motherboard’s chipset.

circuit: An electrical device that provides a path for electrical current to flow.

COM port: A legacy port found on the console’s I/O panel.

console: The main computer box, although it may also be called the system unit or the CPU (which is incorrect). It’s a box that contains your computer’s soul, its electronic guts. On the outside, the console sports various buttons, lights, and holes into which you plug the rest of the computer system.

controller: The circuits that control data transfer to and from a disk drive (floppy disk, hard disk, or optical disc).

corona wire: A charged wire in a laser printer that draws the toner off the drum onto the paper.

CPU: Central processing unit; A computer component, often called a processor and microprocessor, whose speed determines how fast your PC operates.

CRT: Cathode ray tube; an older type of computer monitor that offers better color quality than an LCD monitor.

cursor: The blinking icon on the computer screen that shows you where the characters you type appear; also called an insertion pointer.

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