Technically speaking, a computer chip is a piece of silicon with an electronic circuit embedded in it. However, the word "chip" is often used as a slang term that refers to various components inside a computer. It typically describes an integrated circuit, or IC, such as a central processor or a graphics chip, but may also refer to other components such as a memory module.
While "chip" is a somewhat ambiguous term, it should not be confused with the term "card." For example, a laptop might have a graphics chip embedded in the motherboard, while a desktop computer may contain a graphics card connected to a PCI or AGP slot. A graphics card may contain a chip, but the chip cannot contain a card. Similarly, a CPU may contain a chip (the processor), but it may also contain several other components. Therefore, the term "chip" can be used to refer to specific components, but should not be used describe multiple components that are grouped together.
Updated: June 25, 2008