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Home > Computer Articles > What Is Computer BIOS?

Understanding BIOS: Terms & Topics

System BIOS is a standard that defines a firmware interface in computers. The BIOS is the first code that runs when the system is booted. The primary function of the BIOS is to scan, test, and initialize devices such as the hard disk, video display card, floppy disk, and other devices. The whole process is called booting or bootstrapping. BIOS programs are built and stored on a chip, which forms the complementary chipset of the whole system.

BIOS Glossary

  • BIOS - Basic Input Output System is a program that is stored on a chip on the motherboard. The BIOS starts a computer and communicates between other hardware devices in the computer.
  • CAS - Column Address Strobe is a control pin that is found on a DRAM, which is used to trigger the column address. The selected memory column on a DRAM can be identified at the address pins.
  • CAS Latency - Column Address Strobe Latency is the ratio between clock cycle time and column access time. CAS latency 2 or CL2 provides an increased performance when compared with CAS Latency 3.
  • Chipset - A chipset is a group of chips or integrated circuits that are constructed to work together. A chipset manages the communications between the processor and the other hardware devices, and also plays an important role in deciding the system performance.
  • Clock rate - The rate at which the PC’s internal system clock functions. The clock synchronizes the functions between the components inside the clock.
  • CMOS - Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor is a method used to make integrated circuits. This technology is used in microcontrollers, microprocessors, static RAM, and other digital circuits.
  • RAID - Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks is a technology used to achieve a high level of storage reliability with low costs, through the method of arranging the hardware devices into arrays.
  • RAS - Row Address Strobe is a control pin that is found on a DRAM, which is used to activate the row address. The selected row can be identified by the data on the address pins.
  • Setup - Program used to edit and display user configurable settings in the BIOS. The BIOS setup can be accessed at start up of a computer. When a PC is powered on, a text message passes quickly on screen indicating which key to press.
  • SIMM - Single In-line Memory Module is a memory package that consists of DRAM chips on a small circuit board. This board provides communication between the memory devices and the other hardware devices.

BIOS Basics

  • Basic Optimization Tricks: Here, basic fundamental procedures to improve the performance of a computer are clearly explained.
  • Important BIOS Settings: A good source for understanding important BIOS settings such as date/time, boot order, integrated peripherals, IDE drive configuration, and password.
  • System Boot Sequence: A complete resource for BIOS POST sequence, POST beep codes, and system boot sequence.
  • BIOS Identification Line: A quick guide to understand three BIOS identification lines.
  • Standard CMOS Setup: A quick reference to learn about the standard CMOS setup.
  • Change BIOS Password: A reference guide on resetting the BIOS password and this page also covers resetting passwords using hardware and software.

Advanced BIOS Topics

  • BIOS: A complete source for understanding general BIOS information such as advanced CMOS setup, advanced chipset setup, and the memory timing setup.
  • Plug and Play/PCI: An informational source to understand PnP, setting up PnP BIOS, PCI interrupts, and error messages.
  • Advanced Chipset Setup: This page provides a quick guide to understand the memory configuration of a computer and graphics accelerator.
  • Power Management: Here, BIOS power management settings are clearly explained.

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