List of Common Computer Acronyms

Last Updated: March 2, 2024
Published by Ruby Cobb

Computer technologies involve using a lot of jargon that can be confusing to untrained and unfamiliar individuals. Abbreviations provide an alternative and easier way to familiarize and understand computer terminologies.

This article will list some of the most common computer abbreviations and their respective meanings:

Computer Acronyms


BIOS means Basic Input-Output Service or the information in the CMOS chip that contains the computer's firmware or core elements for integrating computer hardware and software.


CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. This is the main processor component of the computer and is considered as the brain of the computer. It is responsible for executing computer tasks such as running software applications, executing utility tasks, running games, and more.


DDR stands for Double Data Rate. This mostly applies to RAM sticks sending and receiving twice the amount of data per clock cycle, making it significantly faster than its predecessor, the SDRAM or the Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory.

There are several categories of DDR sticks, namely: DDR2 or Double Data Rate 2; DDR3 or Double Data Rate Type 3; and DDR4 or Double Data Rate Type 4.


DNS stands for Domain Name Server. This is the name that websites use to allow people to reach websites online. It facilitates easy searching of websites that does not require the input of the IP address.


DVI refers to Digital Video Interface that is one of the most commonly used digital interfaces for computers and video devices. It is the next generation to the previous standard VGA or Video Graphics Array but was superseded by the newer HDMI connection or High Definition Multimedia Interface.


FTP means File Transfer Protocol which is the protocol that allows sharing files, documents, and data over the internet or a computer network.


GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. It is responsible for producing visual content from the CPU to the monitor. It is sometimes sold as a separate card known as a graphics card. However, modern computer systems now have GPU installed on the CPU or the motherboard itself.


HDD means Hard Disk Drive. This refers to the mass storage device that is composed of various magnetic disks that store and retrieves data using mechanical components.


HDMI means High Definition Multimedia Interface. This is the next generation video connection for computers and video devices that superseded the DVI connection. A unique feature of the HDMI connection is its ability to not only project video but audio as well, making it a standard interface for most video devices.


HTML means Hypertext Markup Language which is the format used to transfer files and facilitate its movement over the internet.


HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the main instruction set that facilitates the movement of files on the internet.


I/O means Input/Output which refers to the movement of data into and out of the computer and its media components.


IGP stands for Integrated Graphics Processor which is a subset of the GPU that is connected to the motherboard or the CPU. Computers with IGP do not require an external graphics card to display content to the monitor. However, gamers often choose to add dedicated graphics cards as these are more powerful than IGP.


IP stands for Internet Protocol which pertains to the rules of systems on the internet. The IP Address, moreover, refers to the digital address of websites on the internet


ISP means Internet Service Provider. This is the company that provides services that allow residential and commercial establishments to have access and connect to the internet through computers and mobile devices.


JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is the common standard format for image files due to its compressed nature and smaller file size compared with other image files such as GIF, TIFF, and RAW.


LAN means Local Access Network which refers to the connection of various computers to a central server. LAN connections allow wireless sharing of files and wireless communication of various computers on the network.


LCD means Liquid Crystal Display which is the most common display technology used in modern computer monitors. This replaced the CRT monitors and provided a slimmer feature and better performance.


LED means Light Emitting Diode which is most popularly used as a light source. In LED monitors, light-emitting diodes are installed on the monitor instead of the standard CCFL or Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps to provide a better light source for the monitor and provide greater performance in terms of color accuracy and screen refresh rate.

MAC Address

MAC Address means Media Access Control Address which refers to the digital address of a device connected to a computer network. The computer's MAC Address is found in the computer's network card.


NIC stands for Network Interface Card which facilitates the connection of the computer to the network. NICs can either be pre-installed in a computer or sold as a separate device for older computers.


NTFS stands for Net Technology File System. This is Microsoft’s proprietary file system used in most Windows operating software from Windows NT to Windows 10.


NVMe SSD means Non-Volatile Memory Express Solid State Drive which refers to the type of SSD card that delivers the fastest read/write speeds among SSDs today. It connects to the PCIe bus or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express instead of the normal AHCI bus or Advanced Host Controller Interface which provides a significant boost in read/write speeds of theoretical speeds reaching 3GB/s.


NVRAM or Non-Volatile Random Access Memory refers to the type of RAM that retains data even when the electricity source has been cut off or interrupted. This is a special feature of RAM because most RAM is composed of volatile memory which wipes data when electricity is cut off.


OS refers to the Operating System. This is the computer's primary program and interface that

run the computer and facilitates user command. It runs automatically during computer startup


P2P means Peer-to-Peer which is a network infrastructure that allows two computers to share files and communicate without requiring a central server. This is an effective form of connection between two computers as each computer is a server and a node at the same time, enhancing the speed of communication and transaction.


PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express which is an expansion interface in motherboards that allows connecting video cards and storage devices. It is an enhanced version of the PCI and provides faster processing speed for SSDs and graphics cards.


PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is one of the more popular document file formats because it is an open format that all operating systems and applications can read and process without encountering formatting issues.


PNG means Portable Network Graphics which is also another popular image file format along with JPEG. PNG processes image files through lossless compression which results in greater quality images at the expense of slightly larger file size.


PS/2 means Personal System/2 which is a layout categorization of media devices into two primary colors, green and purple, to designate their specific function on the computer. IBM designated green for the mouse port and purple for the keyboard port.


PSU stands for Power Supply Unit. This is the computer component that connects directly to the power source and distributes electricity throughout the entire computer and its various components.


RAM or Random Access Memory refers to the type of computer memory that stores application data and information at significantly faster speeds than mass storage devices. However, RAM is naturally volatile which means data is wiped clean through every computer shutdown.


SATA means Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It is the primary connection interface used to connect mass storage devices to the computer. The SATA interface is widely popular for the HDD but it is also available for SSD. However, the read/write speeds of SATA bottlenecks the potential speeds that SSDs can provide.


SSD stands for Solid State Drives. This refers to the new generation of mass storage devices after the HDD. It provides significantly faster read/write speeds than HDD and has several available interfaces to facilitate even faster speeds. Currently, the NVMe SSD connected through PCIe provides the fastest speeds among all types of SSDs.


UPS stands for Uninterrupted Power Supply. This is a device that functions as a power backup to the computers when the main electricity supply is cut off.


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the digital address of a website on the internet more commonly known as web address.


USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. This is the most popular communication protocol between the computer and external devices. It also transfers data between the computer and external storage devices as well as facilitates communication between the computer and peripheral devices.


VGA means Video Graphics Array. It is the previous video connection standard between the computer and the monitor. It is considered as an obsolete connection protocol today as it only provides an analog interface compared with the digital interface common among DVI and HDMI connections.


VPN means Virtual Private Network which is a secure connection and interface between a user and a private network. It involves the extension of a private network to a public network, bearing similar security and functionality of interacting within a private network.


VRAM refers to Video RAM or Video Random Access Memory which is a type of RAM that is made specifically to store image data and files. It functions as the buffer between the CPU and the monitor to allow regulation of frames transmitted from the computer to the monitor.

Ruby Cobb
Ruby has a passion for all things tech. Whether that be building computers, setting up a network, or wiring a home theater. Ruby is an avid gamer, writer, and researcher. When she's not writing articles for Rocky MTN Ruby she enjoys hiking, binge watching TV shows, and playing with her German Shorthaired Pointer.
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