Alternatively referred to as an add-on card, expansion board, internal card, interface adapter, or card, an expansion card is a PCB that fits into an expansion slot on a desktop computer. An expansion card is used to give a computer additional capabilities, such as enhanced video performance via a graphics card.
Note: Expansion cards can sometimes be called daughterboards. However, it is more appropriate to refer to them as expansion cards or one of the terms mentioned earlier.
Types of expansion cards in a computer
- Interface card (ATA, Bluetooth, EIDE, FireWire, IDE, parallel, RAID, SCSI, serial, and USB).
- MPEG Decoder
- Network Card
- Sound Card
- Video capture card
- Video Card
Expansion card example
As seen in the picture, an expansion card has two main parts, the first is the gold plated connector that connects to a motherboard expansion slot and the connector plate. 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.
Do laptops or netbooks have expansion cards?
Laptops, netbooks, and other mobile computers do not have expansion cards like what has been explained above. However, some laptops can have PC Cards that can be inserted into the side of the laptop. They may also have a Cardbus slot for an ExpressCard to be added.