Section 1.0 - Hardware

SubSection 1.9 Adapter Cards


Photo of PCI Card.

  • PCI

    • Short for Peripheral Component Interconnect is a local bus (a local bus is a data bus that transfers data from the card to processor.) standard made by Intel.
  • PCIe

    • The "e" represents Express, this PCI is faster and different than the original PCI above. Unlike the original PCI that operates using parallel communication(a parallel commuination would be like a one way highway full with eight cars(8 data bits because parallel transfers 8 bits at a time) in eight different lanes and when the cars reach thier destination(CPU) the highway would change direction and the cars would be sent back to the other direction to the destination(PCI) and so on.) the PCIe uses a two way serial communication(a two-way serial communication would be like a highway with one lane with on each side with cars(data) going in different directions at the same time to the CPU and PCIe card.).
      • PCIe made for things such as USB. 2.0 and Firewire so they can function at their capacity speeds.

        PCI & AGP Cards & Thier Slots

  • AGP

    • Short for Accelerated Graphics Port, this card is based off PCI technology but made justfor video. There is a different slot on the motherboard that supports the AGP cards. Basically instead of making the PCIe card do all the work and video, they made AGP so that the video can have its only direct point-to-point connection to the CPU. This could help many ways like freeing up space for data to travel,(Now you could apply this to having a highway like the example above but instead of having one crowded highway(PCIe), you know can have two different higways(PCIe & AGP) going fast at speeds.)so that means faster data rates and better/faster graphics that will appear on your screen.
      • AGP uses the same methods of data transfer as PCIe except the AGP using somthing called DIME (short for Direct Memory Execute also know as Texturing.) This was the process of allowing Textures (the digital representation of the surface of an object in 3-D graphics) to be transferred to the CPU.


Basic Sound Card.

  • Sound Card

    • A sound cards purpose is to produce a signal for your speakers. Sound Cards take take digital data (from your computer) into analog sound waves (out of your speakers) . A sound card is a PCI based card and can fit into a PCI slot on your board. Sound cards also can do the reverse and put analog in to digital. Some sound cards enable you to connect a game device, such as a joystick. Many enable you to connect a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface).
      • Digital Signal Processor (DSP) -Works like a CPU but just for the sound card.
      • Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) - Converts analog signals into digital signals.
      • Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) - Converts digital to analog, for example this is what your sound card does to make your speakers work like i stated above.
      • Various Jacks - Jacks used on the sound card to connect things like speakers microphones, line input or line output devices, game controllers, and sometimes MIDI devices.
  • TV Tuner Card

    TV Tuner/Capture Card.

    • This is a card that use can either put internally in a computer by a card slot or externally connected by USB. The card has a coaxial port on it which you can connect a cable wire. You can then broadcast TV onto your computer.
  • Capture Card

    • A capture could is either the same thing or similar to the TV tuner card. What i mean by saying that is, that if you are broadcasting TV on your computer you can record it with the capture card or it will have the record function on the TV tuner. The capture card is used to record and be played off your hard drive.


A Basic SCSI Cable.

  • SCSI

    • The SCSI(short for Small Computer System Interface) is a parallel system bus, somewhat like a expansion bus. SCSI provides a faster data transfer rate than standard serial and parallel ports. You can connect many devices to one SCSI port at one time. Every SCSI device must be assigned a unique ID number, including the //HBA(short for Host Bus Adapter)//. The ID numbers should be numbered to the device like the higher the priority the highest number you should give it. So the HBA would get the highest number
Devices Connected by SCSI
  • Serial

    Male & Female Serial Connector.

    • Serial ports are usually 9 or 25-pin connectors and is used to connect things like modems, mice, and printers. Serial ports use a serial transmission which can only send data in one direction at a time and transferred 1 bit at a time(So think about one person(1bit) leading a marching band(other bits) in one single-flie line to the destination(From the device to the computer). Serial ports are also known as communication ports or COM ports. The basic computer supports 4 COM ports: COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4. COM 1 and 3 share the same IRQ and COM 2 and 4 share the same IRQ. So you can not use 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 at the same time unless you change their IRQ.
  • Parallel

    • Parallel ports are usually 25-pin connectors and are used to connect printers most of the time. Unlike serial ports, parallel uses a parallel transmission. This way it sends 8 bits all on their own wire to the point of destination and control and timing are sen over two more wires.(So to think about this one think about 8 different people(bits) at a start line at race and two others are the people on the sideline coaching and timing the 8 racers. All eight racers will get there at different times.).
    • parallel.jpg
      Male & Female Parallel Connectors.
    • Parallel just like serial can not go in both directions at the same time. The disadvantage of parallel over serial is that parallel makes 8 different bits all travel over different wires and the bits will get there before the other bits and will sometimes mess up. Serial sends one bit at a time in one wire so there is less confusion but is slower.
    • When people refer to a parallel port they are usually talking about the printer port or LPT which stands for "line printer". Originally parallel, LPT, or whatever you would like to call it could only send data in one direction and that is from the computer to the printer. Designers noticed it would be much more efficient if the printer could send data back to the tell the computer it is out of paper, if the print is finished, or other things like that.
      • Modern computers today don't use parallel as much anymore, as of now you can just plug your printer up via USB and life is much easier.
  • Universal Serial Bus

    USB Type A(left) & Type B(right).

    • The Universal Serial Bus(also known as USB) is the most standard port on

      a computer in today's world. Comparing USB to Serial and Parallel is a big difference. USB transfers up to rates of 12mbps(USB is faster now and getting faster but that is just the origanal compared to other types of connectors.) of data and is plug and play.(This is when you plug in a device and the software automatically installs or is installed so you dont have to go through the trouble of doing it themselves.). There is many, many devices today that are supported by USB, this includes mice, keyboards, printers, cameras, cell phones and so on. There are three different versions of USB right now:
      • USB 1x
        • USB 1.1 - Transfer rates of 12mpbs, still used today for devices that don't need high transfer rates like mice and keyboards. USB 1.1 is half-duplex.(this means that the USB bus can upload or download, but cannot do both simultaneously.)
      • USB 2x
        • USB 2.0 - Compatible with USB 1.1 but if using a USB 1.1 device it will operate at USB 1.1 speeds. USB 2.0 offers transfer rates of:
          • Low-speed: 1.5 Mbps
          • Full-speed: 12 Mbps
          • High-speed: 480 Mbps
        • The high rate of transfer allowed devices like cameras, CD burners, and video equipment to be connect through USB.
      • USB 3x
        • USB 3.0 - Compatible with 2.0 ports but only 3.0 connecters will work with 3.0 ports.(so basically you cant put a 3.0 connector into a 2.0 but can put a 2.0 into a 3.0 port.) USB 3.0 has improved power management, devices can move into idle, suspend and sleep states. USB 3.0 offers a transfer rate of up to 5.0 Gbps. It is also Full-duplex.(which means it can upload and download simultaneously)
    • There are many different types of USB ports and connectors, there can be different types of USB mixed into one wire so you can plug up the device or it will just be one type on one side because it is permanently connected to a device. The pictures and descriptions below will explain which types can be connected and how. The different types are these:
      • Type A
        How Different USB Connectors Look.
        • This is the side that goes in to the computer, also know as the Host. Rectangular shape and if this wire is not permanently connected to a device like a keyboard or mouse it will most likely have a different type of USB at the other end.
      • Type B
        • This would be the other end of the wire that will plug into the device. It is more square than type A and also known as the device side.This will connect to things like a printer or digital camera.
          • USB 1.1 specifies in Type A and B..
      • Mini-B
        • When USB 2.0 came out it was too big for the PDA devices and cell phones that came out. so they made a mini- B that would fit into them devices.
      • Micro-A & Micro-B
        • This is made now and used on some phones or smaller devices and it said to replace the Mini version of USB.
Female(left) & Male(right) Ports.
Cables That Exist With Pairs of Plugs:

    • Although there are many different types of USB they all share these same features:
      • Hot-swapping & Self-configuration
        • This means that you can plug and unplug the device while the computer is running.(Other devices and their connectors require you to connect them before you boot the computer and if necessary download the drivers for it. If you unplugged the device while the computer was running it would not work when plugged back in when the computer is running. You would have to restart the whole computer.) When you plug in the device the operating system will automatically recognize there is a new device and if it is necessary it will download the driver so it works.(this is why people started to call it plug and play.)
      • Multiple-device Support
        • A normal computer will have about two USB ports and you can plug devices into both of them at the same time. You can also attach a hub(A hub will supply you with more USB slots to plug into.) using a hub you can plug a maximum of 127 into the bus.
      • Power
        • USB can deliver electrical power through the port. You could use this avantage to charge your device like a cell phone.


  • NIC

    • The network interface card or for short NIC, creates a communication between your motherboard and network. Data
      Ethernet Card.
      travels from the Motherboard to the card and the card send the data into the network and vice versa. Some computer will come with a NIC build in, mostly a Ethernet. Most NIC's will just fit right in once of your PCI slots.
    • There are different types of NIC's depending on what type of network you are using:
      • FDDI & Token Ring
        • These two are not used as much anymore.
      • Ethernet
        • This NIC is for ground connection of a network, it will usually have a RJ-45 port on it where a RJ-45 or
          Wireless Card.
          twisted pair wire can connect into it. Very common in today's world.
      • Wireless
        • This NIC is completely wireless and usually has some type of software that comes with it so it configures right with the network. some might have antennas on it for better connection
  • Modems

    • A modem is a device that lets you connect a computer to another computer using phone lines. Modem got its name from the two words Modulation and Demodulation, i will explain them below. Computer 1 must convert digital signals into analog signals which will travel across the telephone wire and then computer 2 must convert the analog signals to digital signals so the computer can read the data.
    • For the modem to convert the digital into analog it does a process called Modulation. This process takes the digital signal and layers it over a analog signal which makes a analog wave that travels through the telephone wire.
    • For the modem to convert the analog back to digital it uses a process called Demodulation. This process takes takes the analog wave and eletronically subtracts the analog wave and reveals the digital signals it carries.
    • Forms of Modems:
      • Internal: These modems can be build into the computer or just on a adapter card or on a card that you can put into you expansion bus.
      • External: These modems can be connected to the computer using a serial port.
        How A Modem Operates.