Expansion card

Alternatively referred to as an add-on card, expansion board, internal card, interface adapter, or just card. An expansion card is an electronic board or card added into the expansion slot of a desktop computer or other non-portable computer to give that computer a new ability, such as the ability to connect to another computer using a network cable.

Types of expansion cards in a computer

Tip: The above devices are available as expansion cards and can also be onboard the motherboard.

Expansion card example

Below is a graphic illustration of an ISA Modem expansion card (click the picture to get a descriptive overview).

Internal modem expansion card

As can be seen in the picture above, every expansion card has two main components, the first is the gold plated connector that connects to a expansion slot on the motherboard and the back metal plate that is visible from the back of the computer. Typically the back metal plate has connections that allow an outside device to communicate with the card and computer. In this example, the modem has two RJ-11 jacks that allow it to communicate over a phone line.

Related pages

Also see: Adapter, Expansion slot cover, Expansion, Expansion slot, Hardware terms, PC Card, Reseat, Riser board, ROM card, Seated, Smart card