Glossary - Index P
PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect - Slot card interface. PCI is a standardized architecture that provides a high-speed data path between peripherals and the CPU.
PCMCIA: Personal Computer Memory Card International Association - Based in Sunnyvale, California, the PCMCIA's specifications for the PC Card enabled the computer industry to manufacture credit-card-sized removable cards to add RAM, modems, network adapters, hard disks, and even radio devices like pagers and global positioning systems to portable computers. Many people call PC Cards by the longer name PCMCIA cards. The association has trademarked the term PC Card, however, so that's the preferred usage.
Peer-to-peer network: A network where there is no dedicated server. Every computer can share files and peripherals with all other computers on the network, given that all are granted access privileges. File sharing programs like Kazaa are a good example of this on a larger scale.
Peripheral: A hardware component you add to your computer, usually by a cable. When this word is used, it usually refers to hardware such as a mouse, keyboard, monitor or printer.
PGA: Pin Grid Array - The method in which the CPU uses to interact with the CPU socket.
Pincushion: Corrects the curve at the vertical edges of a monitors display.
Plug And Play: The ability of certain operating systems to automatically detect a new device that has been added to the system, uniquely identify that device, and install the appropriate drivers and system files for that device. Identification is facilitated by means of predetermined identification numbers hard-coded into the device. When the operating system boots up, it polls all installed devices and checks the returned identification numbers against the list of previously installed devices.
PoP: So that your Internet access provider can offer a local dial-up number to give you access to the Net, it either maintains or leases PoPs throughout the areas it serves. A PoP (pronouced "pop") is likely to contain modems, digital leased lines, and multiprotocol routers.
POP: Post Office Protocol - Internet email access standard.
Port: A conduit for trasferring information between a computer and an external devide. Examples of these found on most computers are USB ports and serial ports. Some items that can be plugged into these include scanners, printers, joysticks modems and digital cameras.
POST: Power On Self Test - A quick test the BIOS does on the components in the computer to make sure everything is working when you first turn it on.
Processor: Short for Central Processing Unit or CPU, the brains of any computer. The Intel Pentium line of processors and the AMD Duron and Athlon processors are classed as CPU's.
PSU: Power Suppy Unit - The powersupply supplies electricity to the motherboard, device drives and any other peripherials in the computer.