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Glossary of Computer Hardware Terms - The Letter S

written by: Jesma•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 12/30/2008

Definitions and explanations of common computer hardware and networking terms beginning with the letter S. Here we look at terms such as SCSI, Socket, South Bridge, Streaming and Standby.

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    The Letter S

    SCSI - Small Computer System Interface

    SCSI normally uses a 50 pin connector and permits multiple devices to be connected in a daisy-chain fashion.


    A section of one track defined with identification markings and an identification number. Most sectors hold 512 bytes of data.


    A substance, such as germanium or silicon, that has poor conductivity but that is improved by the application of heat, light, or voltage. Semiconductors can control a flow of electricity.


    The transfer of data characters one bit at a time, sequentially, using a single electrical path.

    Serial Port

    An I/O connector used to connect serial devices.


    A generic name for any user interface software.

    Shielded Twisted Pair

    The same as UTP network cabling only that it has a metal sheath or braid around it to reduce interference.


    A physical connector on a motherboard to hold an expansion card or memory module. In older models, CPUs were installed on circuit boards that fit into a slot as well.


    A receptacle on a motherboard that processors or chips can be plugged into. The slot varies by the type of chip it was designed to receive, usually based on pin count.

    South Bridge

    The lower-speed component in the chipset. The South Bridge connects to the PCI bus and contains the IDE interface ports. Normally, it also contains the USB interface and sometimes the CMOS and clock functions.


    An optional operating state with diminished power consumption. Of all the reduced power states, it uses the least power reduction but has the quickest recovery time.


    A small, non conductive spacer used to keep the underside of the motherboard from coming into contact with the metallic case. Usually made from plastic, nylon, or brass.


    1) In tape backup, data is transferred from the hard disk as quickly as the tape can record, so that it is not required to stop or start.

    2) In modern application, refers to data being transmitted from a server to an output device like a screen or speakers without being stored in the computers memory, like streaming video or streaming music.


    A mode of operation with reduced power consumption. More power is conserved than with the Standby mode, but it can take longer to recover from the Suspend state.