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Last modified: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 

(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.

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For pages about bus . Also check out the following links!

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Hardware Central 
Detailed test reports on the latest desktop and laptop computers. Plus news on trend-setting products just coming into the pipeline.

Microprocessor Comparison Chart 
A cut-to-the-chase guide that compares and contrasts popular processing chips.

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.

Microsoft Bus and BIOS Design for PC Hardware
Contains links to technical information about BIOS and bus class design issues.

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.

The Online Journal of ISA Bus Controlled Systems
This online journal contains technical information, a list of ISA information databases, articles and trade show information, and other resources related to the ISA bus.

The Universal Serial Bus FAQ
Provides a comprehensive list of answers and questions to various aspects of universal serial bus technology.

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 buses page
Yahoo!'s directory of buses.

Yahoo!'s universal serial bus page
Yahoo!'s directory of universal serial bus.

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Hoover's: Bus Transportation - Provides in-depth business and public/private company information, including profiles, industry overviews, financials, officers, competitors and news.

VXI Technology: VME and VXI Bus Interfaces and Adapters - Supplies high-density modular test instruments and switching systems for both electrical and mechanical test applications. Network Bus Components - Provides database of suppliers for network bus components. Includes catalogs, technical information, and supplier contact information. VME Bus - Provides database of suppliers for VME Bus components. Browse catalogs and view technical information.

related categories



related terms




address bus

AT bus


backside bus

bus mastering


clock speed


control bus




expansion bus

Fibre Channel

frontside bus




local bus



oscillator clock

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