Yup! Thanks, all. Looking forward to delving into all of this jazz in more detail. While I'm here, does anyone know of a good beginner's reference to consult when trying to learn the basics of computer architecture and CPU microarchitecture? Often the articles I read (and the articles on wiki) are written in a way that expects the reader already has a solid understanding of the basics..
the tutorials on hardware secrets are pretty good, some are a little old but still useful for someone just starting out like you: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/type/1 they also cover a large variety of topics- audio, cameras . .ect.