134 Chapter 5 Computing Components memory that comes with a computer may not be avail-able to the user. In lower-priced machines, memory may be siphoned off to power the video processor. For example, in a 64MB shared-memory machine, only 54 to 60MB may be available for programs. The X used in rating CD-ROMs stands for the speed of a standard audio CD player. When evaluating the CD-ROM, be aware that the higher speeds listed for CD-ROMs are usually attainable only when retrieving data from certain parts of the CD. The speed stated is not an average. Therefore, faster may not be better in terms of the added cost. Summary The components that make up a computer cover a wide range of devices. They each have characteristics that dictate how fast, large, and or efficient they are. Furthermore, they each play an integral role in the overall processing of the machine. The world of computing is filled with jargon and acronyms. The speed of a processor is specified in GHz (gigahertz), the amount of memory is
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