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AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Dual Core) Socket AM2


AMD has developed its dual core

processors for the socket 939
motherboards. By having 2 processor
cores on a single chip, your computer
will be able to take advantage of the
extra speed when multi-tasking, or
running "threaded" tasks like VideoEditing. The AM2 socket line has also
added support for newer DDR2 memory.

Intel's latest generation of CPUs is here! The Core 2 Duo (also

known by it's codename Conroe) is a drastic departure from
older Intel designs. Rather than focusing on pure speed, as
the Pentium4 and PentiumD lines had, the Core 2 Duo is an
efficiency powerhouse. It outperforms both older Intel models
and many AMD processors, and also runs cooler than previous
Intel chips. For gaming, video editing, and most other highend applications this is the new performance leader.
Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe)

Like the socket 939 before it, the FX series is AMD's flagship
processor for their newest socket AM2. The FX series is not
fully dual-core, meaning it has 2 CPU cores on this single
chip, and has many high-performance features like unlocked
multipliers for overclocking and the highest clock speed of the
entire series. If you want AMD's highest end gaming CPU, the
FX series is it.
AMD FX series AM2 Processors

These processors are basically two Core 2 Duo

(Conroe) CPUs combined into one. That means four
total processing cores, which provides incredible power
for applications that are multi-threaded. In particular,
media editing applications and processor-intensive
programs tend to benefit from this - while gaming and
office suites tend to see far less improvement.

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Intel Core 2 Quadro (Kentsfield)


Intels Core2 Duo processors feature

Intel Core microarchitecture, a
revolutionary blueprint that takes these Intel
processors and products to extraordinary
levels of performance and power efficiency.
Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe) E6420 2.13GHz

The first quad-core CPUs are here! The Intel

Quad-core 6600 and 6700 offer nearly double
the multi-tasking power of the dual-core
Conroes, which means they can (and will) run
circles around the dual-core chips at tasks like
3-D rendering and video editing.
Intel Core 2 Quad (Kentsfield) Q6600


L2 Cache Max



Intel 486

512 KB



Intel Pentium

512 KB



1024 KB


Processor die

1/2 CPU

Card PCB

0 KB



128 KB


Processor die

Intel Pentium Pro

Intel Pentium 2
Intel Celeron
Intel Celeron Pro

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512 KB

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Intel Xeon

2048 KB



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Card PCB

The next generation of motherboard is here! The

M2N32-SLI uses the new socked AM2, the
replacement for the older socket 939 found on the
A8N-SLI series. Socket AM2 supports the newest,
fastest AMD CPUs, along with newer, faster DDR2
ram. For future-proof, high-performance
computing, AM2 is the way to go.

Our top-of-the-line Intel gaming motherboard,

compatible with all older PentiumD processors
and the Core 2 Duo (Conroe) chips. This board
supports the most advanced video card set ups
on the market, making it a natural fit for our
entire gaming line. Features include support for
us to 8 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Firewire ports, and
surround sound audio. A great option for both
air cooled and advanced liquid cooled gaming
[Intel] Asus nForce 680i SLI

[Intel] Asus P5K Deluxe w/ Wireless


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The P5K deluxe has the P35 intel chipset supporting all
the latest INTEL CPUs that use the socket type LGA
775. The P5K also supports DDR2 memory at 800MHz
and has the capacity to run up to 1066MHz. The
moherboard has dual gigabit Ethernet ports and also
comes with onboard wireless. With 6 USB ports, this
motherboard is good for any peripherals you desire to

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[Intel] Asus P5K3 Deluxe w/ Wireless DDR3!

The first motherboard to support DDR3

memory, the P5K3 Deluxe is ushering in the
next generation of memory technology. Not only
does DDR3 offer support for speeds up to
1333MHz, but the P35 chipset on this model
also has Intel's latest memory controller which
provides an additional boost to overall memory

[Intel] Asus Striker Extreme

The Striker Extreme features nVidia's 680i chipset with all the
extra bells and whistles. Dual
gigabit Ethernet ports, eSATA ports, and a host of other connectivity
options are a nice match
to this high end motherboard.

Other Motherboard
[AMD] Asus M2A-VM HDMI The perfect HTPC board, the M2A-VM HDMI takes the M2NPV-VM, already an
amazing board, and adds an HDMI port for next-gen HDTVs.

[AMD] Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe Using AMD's most current socket: Socket AM2, this motherboard gives consumers
a great option for getting contemporary hardware without breaking the bank.
Targeted at the mid-range consumer, the M2N-SLI Deluxe is a great motherboard
for a broad range of demanding uses.

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[Dual AMD] Asus KFN5-D Dual Opteron PCI-E SLI With probably the most performance per square inch of any motherboard we
carry, the KFN5-D is one of a very few desktop motherboards that supports dual
processors. The 16 GB RAM maximum leaves plenty of space for expansion, as
does SLI support.

[Dual Intel] SuperMicro Dual Xeon 1333 ATX DDRII PCI-E The smallest dual Xeon board we carry, the Supermicro X7DAL-E is perfect for lowcost servers.

Cd drive

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- CD-ROM (Compact Disc, read-only-memory) is an adaptation of the

CD that is designed to store computer data in the form of text and graphics,
as well as hi-fi stereo sound. The original data format standard was defined
by Philips and Sony in the 1983 Yellow Book. Other standards are used in
conjunction with it to define directory and file structures, including ISO 9660,
HFS (Hierarchal File System, for Macintosh computers), and Hybrid HFS-ISO.
Format of the CD-ROM is the same as for audio CDs: a standard CD is 120
mm (4.75 inches) in diameter and 1.2 mm (0.05 inches) thick and is
composed of a polycarbonate plastic substrate (underlayer - this is the main
body of the disc), one or more thin reflective metal (usually aluminum)
layers, and a lacquer coating.

The Yellow Book specifications were so general that there was some fear in the industry
that multiple incompatible and proprietary formats would be created. In order to prevent
such an occurrence, representatives from industry leaders met at the High Sierra Hotel in
Lake Tahoe to collaborate on a common standard. Nicknamed the High Sierra Format,
this version was later modified to become ISO 9660. Today, CD-ROMs are standardized
and will work in any standard CD-ROM drive. CD-ROM drives can also read audio
compact discs for music, although CD players cannot read CD-ROM discs.
CD-ROM Data Storage
Although the disc media and the drives of the CD and CD-ROM are, in
principle, the same, there is a difference in the way data storage is
organized. Two new sectors were defined, Mode 1 for storing computer data
and Mode 2 for compressed audio or video/graphic data.
CD-ROM Mode 1

CD-ROM Mode 1 is the mode used for CD-ROMs that carry data and applications only.
In order to access the thousands of data files that may be present on this type of CD,
precise addressing is necessary. Data is laid out in nearly the same way as it is on audio
disks: data is stored in sectors (the smallest separately addressable block of information),
which each hold 2,352 bytes of data, with an additional number of bytes used for error
detection and correction, as well as control structures. For mode 1 CD-ROM data
storage, the sectors are further broken down, and 2,048 used for the expected data, while
the other
bytes are devoted to extra error detection and correction code, because
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Graphics card
Video or graphics circuitry, usually fitted to a card but sometimes found on
the motherboard itself, is responsible for creating the picture displayed by a
monitor. On early text-based PCs this was a fairly mundane task. However,
the advent of graphical operating systems dramatically increased the amount
of information needing to be displayed to levels where it was impractical for it
to be handled by the main processor. The solution was to off-load the
handling of all screen activity to a more intelligent generation of graphics

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When the power to a PC is switched off, the contents of memory are lost. It is the PC's
hard disk that serves as a non-volatile, bulk storage medium and as the repository for a
user's documents, files and applications. It's astonishing to recall that back in 1954, when
IBM first invented the hard disk, capacity was a mere 5MB stored across fifty 24in
platters. 25 years later Seagate Technology introduced the first hard disk drive for
personal computers, boasting a capacity of up to 40MB and data transfer rate of 625
KBps using the MFM encoding method. A later version of the company's ST506 interface
increased both capacity and speed and switched to the RLL encoding method. It's equally
hard to believe that as recently as the late 1980s 100MB of hard disk space was
generous. Today,
this would be
hardly enough to
install the
operating system
alone, let alone a
huge application
such as
The PC's
has led software
companies to
believe that it doesn't matter how large their applications are. As a result, the average size
of the hard disk rose from 100MB to 1.2GB in just a few years and by the start of the new
millennium a typical desktop hard drive stored 18GB across three 3.5in platters.
Thankfully, as capacity has gone up prices have come down, improved areal density
levels being the dominant reason for the reduction in price per megabyte.
It's not just the size of hard disks that has increased. The performance of fixed disk media
has also evolved considerably. When the Intel Triton chipset arrived, EIDE PIO mode 4
was born and hard disk performance soared to new heights, allowing users to experience
high-performance and high-capacity data storage without having to pay a premium for a
SCSI-based system.

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How Hard Disks are

Let's start by reviewing facts you've probably learned by working with
Microsoft Windows. Most operating systems, including Microsoft
Windows 95 and Windows 98, manage hard disk drives by dividing their
storage space into units known as partitions. So that you can access a
partition, Windows 95 and Windows 98 associate a drive letter (such as C:
or D:) with it. Before you can store data on a partition, you must format it.
Formatting a partition organizes the associated space into what is called a
file system, which provides space for storing the names and attributes of
files as well as the data they contain. Microsoft Windows supports several
types of file systems, such as FAT and FAT32, a newer filesystem type that
provides more efficient storage, launches programs faster, and supports
very large hard disk drives.
Partitions comprise the logical structure of a disk drive, the way humans
and most computer programs understand the structure. However, disk
drives have an underlying physical structure that more closely resembles
the actual structure of the hardware. Figure 2.3 shows the logical and
physical structure of a disk drive.
Figure 2.3: The structure of a hard disk

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Mechanically, a hard disk is constructed of platters that resemble the

phonograph records found in a old-fashioned juke box. Each platter is
associated with a read/write head that works much like the read/write head
on a VCR, encoding data as a series of electromagnetic pulses. As the
platter spins, the heads record data in concentric rings known as tracks,
which are numbered beginning with zero. A hard disk may have hundreds
or thousands of tracks.

What is pen-drive ?
USB - Universal Serial Bus, is a 'standard' developed by the computer industry to allow a
vast number of different devices to be easily attached to one machine with the minimum
requirement for extra drivers and software and still operate at an efficient speed.
Put simply, this means: We can plug a USB device in without switching the PC off, it will
be automatically detected by the Operating System and will be ready for use in a few
seconds. The USB Pen Drive is one of those devices.

USB 2.0
USB 2.0 is the next version of the USB protocol aimed at
expanding the capability and bandwidth or USB to meet
the needed of more demanding peripherals, like videoconferencing equipment and external hard drives. The
theoretical speed capacity of USB 2.0 is 480 Mbps, all
while being backward compatible with all existing USB
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hardware and wiring. In fact, current USB wiring will run

and support USB 2.0, so no wiring changes are needed.
USB 2.0 will change the protocol by using 1/8 millisecond
frames rather than the 1 ms frames of the 1.1
specification. USB hubs

Just about any computer that you buy today comes with one or
more Universal Serial Bus connectors on the back. These USB
connectors let you attach everything from mice to printers to your
computer quickly and easily. The operating system supports USB
as well, so the installation of the device drivers is quick and easy,
too. Compared to other ways of connecting devices to your
computer (including parallel ports, serial ports and special cards
that you install inside the computer's case), USB devices are
incredibly simple!
In this article, we will look at USB ports from both a user and a technical standpoint. You will learn why
the USB system is so flexible and how it is able to support so many devices so easily -- it's truly an
amazing system!

What is USB?
Anyone who has been around computers for more than two or three years knows the problem that the
Universal Serial Bus is trying to solve -- in the past, connecting devices to computers has been a real

Printers connected to parallel printer ports, and most computers only came with one. Things
like Zip drives, which need a high-speed connection into the computer, would use the parallel
port as well, often with limited success and not much speed.

Modems used the serial port, but so did some printers and a variety of odd things like Palm
Pilots and digital cameras. Most computers have at most two serial ports, and they are very
slow in most cases.

Devices that needed faster connections came with their own cards, which had to fit in a card
slot inside the computer's case. Unfortunately, the number of card slots is limited and you
needed a Ph.D. to install the software for some of the cards.

The goal of USB is to end all of these headaches. The Universal Serial Bus gives you a single,
standardized, easy-to-use way to connect up to 127 devices to a computer.
Just about every peripheral made now comes in a USB version. A sample list of USB devices that you
can buy today includes:


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Flight yokes

Digital cameras


Scientific data acquisition devices




Video phones

Storage devices such as Zip drives

Network connections

Connecting a USB device to a computer is simple -- you find the USB connector on the back of your
machine and plug the USB connector into it.

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The rectangular socket is a typical USB socket on the back of a PC.

A typical USB connector, called an "A" connection

If it is a new device, the operating system auto-detects it and asks for the driver disk. If the device has
already been installed, the computer activates it and starts talking to it. USB devices can be connected
and disconnected at any time.
Many USB devices come with their own built-in cable, and the cable has an "A" connection on it. If not,
then the device has a socket on it that accepts a USB "B" connector.

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A typical "B" connection

The USB standard uses "A" and "B" connectors to avoid confusion:

"A" connectors head "upstream" toward the computer.

"B" connectors head "downstream" and connect to individual devices.

By using different connectors on the upstream and downstream end, it is impossible to ever get
confused -- if you connect any USB cable's "B" connector into a device, you know that it will work.
Similarly, you can plug any "A" connector into any "A" socket and know that it will work.

Running Out of Ports?

Most computers that you buy today come with one or two USB sockets. With so many USB devices on
the market today, you easily run out of sockets very quickly. For example, on the computer that I am
typing on right now, I have a USB printer, a USB scanner, a USB Webcam and a USB network
connection. My computer has only one USB connector on it, so the obvious question is, "How do you
hook up all the devices?"
The easy solution to the problem is to buy an inexpensive USB hub. The USB standard supports up to
127 devices, and USB hubs are a part of the standard.

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A typical USB four-port hub accepts 4 "A" connections.

A hub typically has four new ports, but may have many more. You plug the hub into your computer,
and then plug your devices (or other hubs) into the hub. By chaining hubs together, you can build up
dozens of available USB ports on a single computer.
Hubs can be powered or unpowered. As you will see on the next page, the USB standard allows for
devices to draw their power from their USB connection. Obviously, a high-power device like a printer or
scanner will have its own power supply, but low-power devices like mice and digital cameras get their
power from the bus in order to simplify them. The power (up to 500 milliamps at 5 volts) comes from
the computer. If you have lots of self-powered devices (like printers and scanners), then your hub does
not need to be powered -- none of the devices connecting to the hub needs additional power, so the
computer can handle it. If you have lots of unpowered devices like mice and cameras, you probably
need a powered hub. The hub has its own transformer and it supplies power to the bus so that the
devices do not overload the computer's supply.

Behind the Scenes

The Universal Serial Bus has the following features:

The computer acts as the host.

Up to 127 devices can connect to the host, either directly or by way of USB hubs.

Individual USB cables can run as long as 5 meters; with hubs, devices can be up to 30 meters
(six cables' worth) away from the host.

With USB 2.,the bus has a maximum data rate of 480 megabits per second.

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A USB cable has two wires for power (+5 volts and ground) and a twisted pair of wires to carry
the data.

On the power wires, the computer can supply up to 500 milliamps of power at 5 volts.

Low-power devices (such as mice) can draw their power directly from the bus. High-power
devices (such as printers) have their own power supplies and draw minimal power from the
bus. Hubs can have their own power supplies to provide power to devices connected to the

USB devices are hot-swappable, meaning you can plug them into the bus and unplug them
any time.

Many USB devices can be put to sleep by the host computer when the computer enters a
power-saving mode.

The devices connected to a USB port rely on the USB cable to carry power and data.

Inside a USB cable: There are two wires for power -- +5 volts (red) and ground (brown) -- and a
twisted pair (yellow and blue) of wires to carry the data. The cable is also shielded.

When the host powers up, it queries all of the devices connected to the bus and assigns each one an
address. This process is called enumeration -- devices are also enumerated when they connect to the
bus. The host also finds out from each device what type of data transfer it wishes to perform:

Interrupt - A device like a mouse or a keyboard, which will be sending very little data, would
choose the interrupt mode.

Bulk - A device like a printer, which receives data in one big packet, uses the bulk transfer
mode. A block of data is sent to the printer (in 64-byte chunks) and verified to make sure it is

Isochronous - A streaming device (such as speakers) uses the isochronous mode. Data
streams between the device and the host in real-time, and there is no error correction.

The host can also send commands or query parameters with control packets.
As devices are enumerated, the host is keeping track of the total bandwidth that all of the isochronous
and interrupt devices are requesting. They can consume up to 90 percent of the 480 Mbps of
bandwidth that is available. After 90 percent is used up, the host denies access to any other
isochronous or interrupt devices. Control packets and packets for bulk transfers use any bandwidth left
over (at least 10 percent).

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The Universal Serial Bus divides the available bandwidth into frames, and the host controls the
frames. Frames contain 1,500 bytes, and a new frame starts every millisecond. During a frame,
isochronous and interrupt devices get a slot so they are guaranteed the bandwidth they need. Bulk
and control transfers use whatever space is left. The technical links at the end of the article contain lots
of detail if you would like to learn more.

USB 2.0
The standard for USB version 2.0 was released in April 2000 and serves as an upgrade for USB 1.1.
USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) provides additional bandwidth for multimedia and storage applications
and has a data transmission speed 40 times faster than USB 1.1. To allow a smooth transition for both
consumers and manufacturers, USB 2.0 has full forward and backward compatibility with original USB
devices and works with cables and connectors made for original USB, too.
Supporting three speed modes (1.5, 12 and 480 megabits per second), USB 2.0 supports lowbandwidth devices such as keyboards and mice, as well as high-bandwidth ones like high-resolution
Webcams, scanners, printers and high-capacity storage systems. The deployment of USB 2.0 has
allowed PC industry leaders to forge ahead with the development of next-generation PC peripherals to
complement existing high-performance PCs. The transmission speed of USB 2.0 also facilitates the
development of next-generation PCs and applications. In addition to improving functionality and
encouraging innovation, USB 2.0 increases the productivity of user applications and allows the user to
run multiple PC applications at once or several high-performance peripherals simultaneously.

for 2.0 will play a big part in the backward compatibility. The hub
will determine on a device-by-device basis whether the device can
handle the USB 2 spec. If it cannot, it will operate as a USB 1.1 spec
at 12 Mbps. Seeing that the hub may very well be accepting
transactions at the full 2.0 spec while trying to output them at the
1.1 spec, the hub has to become a bit more complex bith in circuitry
as well as the addition of buffers. The host software will play a role
in detecting unoptimimum configurations and notify the user. This is
because USB 2.0 hubs need to be placed in certain configurations in
relation to the USB 1.1 hubs so that everything operates at the
speed it was designed to.
Considered to be one of the most basic external connections to a computer, the serial port
has been an integral part of most computers for more than 20 years. Although many of the
newer systems have done away with the serial port completely in favor of USB connections,
most modems still use the serial port, as do some printers, PDAs and digital cameras. Few
computers have more than two serial ports.

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Two serial ports on the back of a PC

Essentially, serial ports provide a standard connector and protocol to let you attach devices,
such as modems, to your computer. In this edition of How Stuff Works, you will learn about
the difference between a parallel port and a serial port, what each pin does and what flow
control is.

UART Needed
All computer operating systems in use today support serial ports, because serial ports have
been around for decades. Parallel ports are a more recent invention and are much faster
than serial ports. USB ports are only a few years old, and will likely replace both serial and
parallel ports completely over the next several years.
The name "serial" comes from the fact that a serial port "serializes" data. That is, it takes a
byte of data and transmits the 8 bits in the byte one at a time. The advantage is that a serial
port needs only one wire to transmit the 8 bits (while a parallel port needs 8). The
disadvantage is that it takes 8 times longer to transmit the data than it would if there were 8
wires. Serial ports lower cable costs and make cables smaller.
Before each byte of data, a serial port sends a start bit, which is a single bit with a value of 0.
After each byte of data, it sends a stop bit to signal that the byte is complete. It may also
send a parity bit.
Serial ports, also called communication (COM) ports, are bi-directional. Bi-directional
communication allows each device to receive data as well as transmit it. Serial devices use
different pins to receive and transmit data -- using the same pins would limit communication
to half-duplex, meaning that information could only travel in one direction at a time. Using
different pins allows for full-duplex communication, in which information can travel in both
directions at once.

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This 40-pin Dual Inline Package (DIP) chip is a variation of the National
Semiconductor NS16550D UART chip.

Serial ports rely on a special controller chip, the Universal Asynchronous

Receiver/Transmitter (UART), to function properly. The UART chip takes the parallel
output of the computer's system bus and transforms it into serial form for transmission
through the serial port. In order to function faster, most UART chips have a built-in buffer
of anywhere from 16 to 64 kilobytes. This buffer allows the chip to cache data coming in
from the system bus while it is processing data going out to the serial port. While most
standard serial ports have a maximum transfer rate of 115 Kbps (kilobits per second),
high speed serial ports, such as Enhanced Serial Port (ESP) and Super Enhanced
Serial Port (Super ESP), can reach data transfer rates of 460 Kbps.

The Serial Connection

The external connector for a serial port can be either 9 pins or 25 pins. Originally, the primary
use of a serial port was to connect a modem to your computer. The pin assignments reflect
that. Let's take a closer look at what happens at each pin when a modem is connected.

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Close-up of 9-pin and 25-pin serial connectors

9-pin connector:
1. Carrier Detect - Determines if the modem is connected to a working phone line.
2. Receive Data - Computer receives information sent from the modem.
3. Transmit Data - Computer sends information to the modem.
4. Data Terminal Ready - Computer tells the modem that it is ready to talk.
5. Signal Ground - Pin is grounded.
6. Data Set Ready - Modem tells the computer that it is ready to talk.
7. Request To Send - Computer asks the modem if it can send information.
8. Clear To Send - Modem tells the computer that it can send information.
9. Ring Indicator - Once a call has been placed, computer acknowledges signal (sent
from modem) that a ring is detected.
25-pin connector:
1. Not Used

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2. Transmit Data - Computer sends information to the modem.

3. Receive Data - Computer receives information sent from the modem.
4. Request To Send - Computer asks the modem if it can send information.
5. Clear To Send - Modem tells the computer that it can send information.
6. Data Set Ready - Modem tells the computer that it is ready to talk.
7. Signal Ground - Pin is grounded.
8. Received Line Signal Detector - Determines if the modem is connected to a
working phone line.
9. Not Used: Transmit Current Loop Return (+)
10. Not Used
11. Not Used: Transmit Current Loop Data (-)
12. Not Used
13. Not Used
14. Not Used
15. Not Used
16. Not Used
17. Not Used
18. Not Used: Receive Current Loop Data (+)
19. Not Used
20. Data Terminal Ready - Computer tells the modem that it is ready to talk.
21. Not Used
22. Ring Indicator - Once a call has been placed, computer acknowledges signal (sent
from modem) that a ring is detected.
23. Not Used
24. Not Used
25. Not Used: Receive Current Loop Return (-)

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Voltage sent over the pins can be in one of two states, On or Off. On (binary value "1")
means that the pin is transmitting a signal between -3 and -25 volts, while Off (binary value
"0") means that it is transmitting a signal between +3 and +25 volts...

Going With The Flow

An important aspect of serial communications is the concept of flow control. This is the
ability of one device to tell another device to stop sending data for a while. The commands
Request to Send (RTS), Clear To Send (CTS), Data Terminal Ready (DTR) and Data Set
Ready (DSR) are used to enable flow control.

A dual serial port card

Let's look at an example of how flow control works: You have a modem that communicates at
56 Kbps. The serial connection between your computer and your modem transmits at 115
Kbps, which is over twice as fast. This means that the modem is getting more data coming
from the computer than it can transmit over the phone line. Even if the modem has a 128K
buffer to store data in, it will still quickly run out of buffer space and be unable to function
properly with all that data streaming in.
With flow control, the modem can stop the flow of data from the computer before it overruns
the modem's buffer. The computer is constantly sending a signal on the Request to Send pin,
and checking for a signal on the Clear to Send pin. If there is no Clear to Send response, the
computer stops sending data, waiting for the Clear to Send before it resumes. This allows
the modem to keep the flow of data running smoothly.

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