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bus
32-bit
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address bus
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(1) A collection of wires through which data is transmitted from one part of a computer to another. You can think of a bus as a highway on which data travels within a computer. When used in reference to personal computers, the term bus usually refers to internal bus. This is a bus that connects all the internal computer components to the CPU and main memory. There's also an expansion bus that enables expansion boards to access the CPU and memory.

All buses consist of two parts -- an address bus and a data bus. The data bus transfers actual data whereas the address bus transfers information about where the data should go.

The size of a bus, known as its width, is important because it determines how much data can be transmitted at one time. For example, a 16-bit bus can transmit 16 bits of data, whereas a 32-bit bus can transmit 32 bits of data.

Every bus has a clock speed measured in MHz. A fast bus allows data to be transferred faster, which makes applications run faster. On PCs, the old ISA bus is being replaced by faster buses such as PCI.

Nearly all PCs made today include a local bus for data that requires especially fast transfer speeds, such as video data. The local bus is a high-speed pathway that connects directly to the processor.

Several different types of buses are used on Apple Macintosh computers. Older Macs use a bus called NuBus, but newer ones use PCI.

(2) In networking, a bus is a central cable that connects all devices on a local-area network (LAN). It is also called the backbone.


More Information

Outstanding Page PC system bus reference guide
A complete look at the PC's system I/O buses. Includes coverage of the various functions and features of the bus, a look at ISA, VLB and PCI buses, plus older technologies, and the new AGP port.

  Bit 3 Computer Corporation home page
Bit 3 Computer specializes in bus connection and bus extensions. Here, you can find links to their bus-to-bus adapter, expansion unit and bus repeater products. Updated on May 25, 1998

  Compact PCI FAQ
Compact PCI is a modern, very high performance industrial bus based on the standard PCI electrical specification. This FAQ answers questions on specifications, applications, functions, and operating system. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

  Microsoft Bus and BIOS Design for PC Hardware
Contains links to technical information about BIOS and bus class design issues. Updated on Aug 1, 1998

  Microsoft Bus Specifications Page
Provides access to Microsoft and industry specifications for buses, including PCI, USB, and IEEE 1394 specifications and standards Updated on Jul 9, 1998

  PC bus performance brief from Intel
Contains a brief introduction on bus technologies, a PC bus performance comparison chart and a summary of each type of bus. Updated on Aug 1, 1998

  PC motherboard and system device reference
Comprehensive motherboard reference, covering all the major motherboard components. Looks at the physical motherboard, chipset, system buses, system cache, system resources, and the system BIOS.

  Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices
Focuses on problems related to the motherboard and system devices, including the components of the motherboard, along with system devices such as the cache and I/O buses, the BIOS and CMOS memory, system resources, and features such as Plug and Play. This page is from "The PC Guide."

  Yahoo!'s bus manufacturer page
Yahoo!'s directory of bus manufacturers. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

  Ziatech Corporation home page
Ziatech Corporation manufactures CompactPCI and STD 32 industrial computers and their home page contains links to product information, customer support and services, company information, and events. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

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