expansion card

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Related to Hardware, expansion cards: Expansion bus

expansion card

(hardware)
A circuit board which can be plugged into one of a computer's expansion slots to provide some optional extra facility such as additional RAM, disk controller, coprocessor, graphics accelerator, communication device or some special-purpose interface.

Different computers have different standards for the cards they accept, e.g. PCI.

expansion card

A printed circuit board that plugs into a slot on the motherboard and enables a computer to control a peripheral device. Also called an "interface card," "adapter" or "controller," all the printed circuit boards that plug into a computer's bus are technically expansion cards, because they "expand" the computer's capability.

They Used to Be the Norm
In earlier PCs, controllers for drives, input/output ports, display, network and sound all resided on separate plug-in cards. Subsequently, peripheral control was built into the chipset (see PC chipset); however, users still have options to install their own controllers. For example, in order to enhance video game performance, a faster graphics card can be plugged into an empty PCI or PCI Express slot, and the internal display circuit on the motherboard can be disabled. See motherboard and expansion port. See also bus extender.


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