Micro Center’s Computer and Technology Acronym Guide

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When dealing with computers and technology, it can sometimes be hard trying to remember all of the fancy acronyms and abbreviations. So, we thought we’d try to help make your life just a little bit easier by compiling many of the most common acronyms into one single guide! If we missed anything, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.

What does AI mean?

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is used to help computers and machines attempt to accurately mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human brain. AI is used within many different facets of computer software, from system operating systems and website code to video games.


What does AMP mean?

AMP, or AMD Memory Profile, is AMD's own proprietary memory tool, allowing for easier plug-and-play RAM installation as well as adjustments of clock speeds.


What does BIOS mean?

BIOS, or Basic Input/Output System, is a computer program that is used by the CPU to perform start-up procedures when a computer is first turned on. It handles the system’s setup process, which includes loading the driver and operating system booting.


What does CAT5e mean?

Cat5e, or Category 5 Enhanced, is a network cable standard that was ratified in 1999. It offers a much-improved performance over the older CAT5 standard, boasting up to ten times faster speeds with a greater ability to traverse long distances without any problems or hiccups. CAT5e cables are typically 24-gauge twisted pair wires.


What does CAT6 mean?

CAT6, or Category 6, is another form of network cable released only a few years after CAT5e. It is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet that is also backwards compatible with CAT5, CAT5e, and CAT3 cable standards.


What does CMOS mean?

CMOS, or Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor, is a small amount of memory on a computer’s motherboard that stores the basic BIOS settings. CMOS is a physical memory chip and is powered by the onboard battery. It resets and loses all of its custom settings in the event of the battery running out of energy.


What does CPU mean?

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is essentially the brain of the computer. It is the portion of the PC that gives and receives instructions. The strength and power of the CPU directly impact the speed and power of the computer as a whole. This is arguably the most important part of a PC.


What does DIMM mean?

DIMM slots, or Dual In-Line Memory Module, is a physical part of a computer that the RAM is in. DIMM are long, narrow, thin circuit boards with tabs along one of the edges. The tabs feature flat metal pins on the ends that are used to transfer data between the RAM and the computer.


What does DLSS mean?

DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, is a recent AI rendering technology that increases graphical performance by using dedicated Tensor Core AI processors on GeForce GPUs. It better utilizes a PC’s hardware, and can improve the framerate and graphics of games.


What does DNS mean?

DNS, or Domain Name System, is essentially known as the phonebook of the internet. Websites are accessed through domain names, which are translated to IP addresses in order for web browsers to load internet resources.


What does DPI mean?

DPI, or Dots Per Inch, is the measurement of the resolution of a printer. As the DPI rate doubles, the number of dots printed within a square inch gets quadrupled. So as an example, 100 DPI produces 10,000 dots per square inch, while 200 DPI makes 40,000.


DPI, still meaning Dots Per Inch, is used to measure mouse sensitivity. The higher the DPI, the faster the mouse cursor will move.


What does DVI mean?

DVI, or Digital Visual Interface, is a video display interface developed by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). It is used to connect a video source to a display device. DVI connectors are rarely used today, as they were superseded by VGA connectors.


What does ECC mean?

ECC, or Error Correcting Code, refers to a PC component’s ability to find errors that sometimes occur in data memory, without requiring the need to consume separate computing resources. Most often found in high-end RAM.

What does FSR mean?

FSR, or FidelityFX Super Resolution, is AMD's own proprietary, graphics card agnostic, upscaling software designed to maximize the visual while PC gaming.

What does GHz mean?

GHz, or gigahertz, refers to the clock speed of a computer. One gigahertz is equivalent to one billion ticks per second, making it one thousand times faster than a megahertz.


What does GPU mean?

GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, refers to the specialized processor designed to accelerate graphics rendering. GPUs are great at processing many different pieces of data simultaneously, making them useful for video editing, machine learning, and gaming. GPU can also be used to refer to Graphics Cards


What does HDD mean?

The HDD, or Hard Disk Drive, is the main storage device that lives inside of a computer. These PC parts have spinning disks inside them, where data is stored magnetically. While they are now considered somewhat outdated, many PC owners still use HDDs as they are much cheaper than SSDs.


What does HDMI mean?

HDMI, or High Definition Multimedia Interface, is the most commonly used HD signal for transferring both high-definition audio and video over a single cable. Most modern televisions and monitors use HDMI ports and cables, as it is now considered the industry standard.


What does IEEE mean?

The IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, is a global association and organization of professionals that work to develop, integrate, and maintain various technological products and services. A non-profit organization, IEEE was founded in 1963. They set the standards for networking connections, which is why you may see IEEE when working in your router settings.

What does IPS mean? Intrusive Protection System

IPS, or In-Plane Switching, monitors tend to be high-end monitors, mostly used for professional work. They tend to have lower refresh rates than gaming-focused monitors, but far better viewing angles and colors, making them perfect for visual editing, such as photo or video.


IPS, or Intrusive Protection System, is network security and virus protection technology. IPS software regularly monitors user’s networks and looks for possible malicious incidents and captures information about them.


What does LAN mean?

LAN, or Local Area Network, refers to the collection of devices that are all connected in one single location, such as a home, office building, etc. that are all using the same wireless access point.


What does MHz/mHz mean?

MHz (sometimes written as mHz), or Megahertz, refers to the clock speed of a computer. One megahertz is equivalent to one million ticks per second. Clock speed is often used as a rough measurement of how fast a computer is.


What does NAS mean?

NAS, or Network Area Storage, is a type of data storage device that connects to and is accessed through a network remotely, rather than being connected directly to a computer through a wired connection. NAS is a computer storage server that allows for shared data across multiple computers, and more easily allows for file sharing.


What does POE mean?

POE, or Power Over Ethernet, is a technology that allows network cables to carry electrical power. It is the distribution of power over an ethernet network that enables remote network devices to be installed far away from AC power sources.


What does PSU mean?

PSUs, or Power Supply Units, are electrical devices that provide power to another electrical device. All power supplies feature power input connectors, which receive the energy, and one or more power output connections, which deliver said energy to another device.


What does RAM mean?

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is super-fast, temporary data storage for a computer. RAM is used to store information that a computer requires access to right in the moment, and it strongly influences a computer’s speed in which it performs tasks.


What does RGB mean?

In the PC world, RGB, or Red/Green/Blue, refers to computer motherboards, GPUs, and other peripherals that display colors for a visual effect. Over the years, RGB has become increasingly more popular and common.


What does SATA mean?

SATA, or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, is an interface that’s used to transfer data to and from a computer’s central circuit board and storage devices. First created in 2000, SATA was made as a replacement for PATA interfaces.


What does SSD mean?

Like HDDs, SSDs, or Solid State Drives, are storage devices that are installed inside of computers. But unlike HDDs, they use flash storage instead of having spinning disks inside of them that store information. As a result, they are much faster than HDDs and break less easily. But like all newer technology, SSD units are quite a bit more expensive than HDDs.


What does TN mean?

TN, or Twisted Nematic, is a type of LCD panel display technology. They’re often cited as being both the fastest and cheapest display panels and usually sport very high refresh rates. As a result, many monitors marketed towards gamers use TN technology.


What does TPM mean?

TPM, or Trusted Platform Module, is a computer chip that serves the function of securely storing artifacts used to authenticate the platform (one’s PC or laptop). The artifacts can be anything from passwords to encryption keys. This is done to ensure the system’s safety, as it can sense whether the computer has been compromised by viruses or malware. In addition, TPMs have safety protocols in place to help protect the computer from said threats.


What does VGA mean?

VGA, or Video Graphics Array, is an analog interface between a PC and monitor that was created for use with many different types of devices that use graphics cards. While it was first introduced in the 1980s, most modern devices now use HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort instead.


What does VPN mean?

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an encrypted connection over the internet from a device to a network. The encrypted connection helps to ensure that sensitive information is safely transmitted, and remains private for the user. It also hides the user’s IP address and obscures the user’s identity so that they may browse the internet safely, securely and anonymously.


What does WAN mean?

WAN, or Wide Area Network, is a collection of devices all under the same local network, WAN is a collection of local-area networks that communicate with one another. It’s essentially a network of networks, with the internet itself being the world’s largest WAN.


What does WAP mean?

WAP, or Wireless Access Point, refers to the hardware device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network. Put in simple terms, it’s the thing that lets users gain access to the internet.


What does WEP mean?

WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, is a security protocol that was designed to provide a wireless local area network with a level of security and privacy for users. First introduced in 1997, it has since been found to be inadequate and was later replaced by WPA, WPA2, and 802.11i.


What does WPA mean?

WPA, or Wi-Fi Protected Access, is a security standard for wireless networks created by the Wi-fi Alliance to provide better data encryption and better user encryption than WEP, which was the original Wi-Fi security standard.

What does XMP mean?

XMP, or Extreme Memory Profiles, is a technology created by Intel, and exclusive to Intel-made products, that allows for users to change multiple memory settings by simply selecting a different profile, which takes advantage of the higher than standard memory speeds. This plug and play-like technology makes installing memory into systems easier than ever and serves as a great quality-of-life addition.



And that’s all we have…. For now! Technology is a big field, and new acronyms and terms are constantly getting added. So if you see something we definitely overlooked, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to get it added!


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