Upgrading Your Computer’s Capabilities With Expansion Cards
What are Expansion Cards?
An expansion card is a circuit board that you can insert in a computer to give extra facilities, functionality or memory. In general, most computers have expansion slots on the motherboard that allow you to add various types of expansion cards. We sometimes call them PCI (peripheral component interconnect) cards.
You may never need to add any PCI cards because most motherboards have built-in video, sound, network, and other capabilities.
However, if you want to boost the performance of your computer or update the capabilities of an older computer, you can always add one or more cards. Below are some of the most common types of expansion cards.
The video card is responsible for what you see on the monitor. Most computers have a GPU (graphics processing unit) built into the motherboard instead of having a separate video card. If you like playing graphics-intensive games, you can add a faster video card to one of the expansion slots to get better performance.
The sound card—also called an audio card—is responsible for what you hear in the speakers or headphones. Most motherboards have integrated sound, but you can upgrade to a dedicated sound card for higher-quality sound.
The network card allows your computer to communicate over a network and access the Internet. It can either connect with an Ethernet cable or through a wireless connection (often called Wi-Fi). Many motherboards have built-in network connections, and a network card can also be added to an expansion slot.
Bluetooth Card or Adapter
Bluetooth is a technology for wireless communication over short distances. We often use them in computers to communicate with wireless keyboards, mice, and printers. It’s commonly built into the motherboard or included in a wireless network card. For computers that don’t have Bluetooth, you can purchase a USB adapter, often called a dongle.
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