While the wheels on the bus may go “round and round,” data on a computer’s bus goes up and down. Each bus inside a computer consists of set of wires that allow data to be passed back and forth. Most computers have several buses that transmit data to different parts of the machine. Each bus has a certain size, measured in bits (such as 32-bit or 64-bit), that determines how much data can travel across the bus at one time. Buses also have a certain speed, measured in megahertz, which determines how fast the data can travel.
The computer’s primary bus is called the frontside bus and connects the CPU to the rest of the components on the motherboard. Expansion buses, such as PCI and AGP, allow data to move to and from expansion cards, including video cards and other I/O devices. While there are several buses inside a computer, the speed of the frontside bus is the most important, as it determines how fast data can move in and out of the processor.