Expansion slot

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to as a bus slot or expansion port, an expansion slot is a connection or port located inside a computer on the motherboard or riser card. It provides an installation point for a hardware expansion card to be connected. For example, if you wanted to install a new video card in the computer, you'd purchase a video expansion card and install that card into the compatible expansion slot.

Computer expansion slots

Below is a listing of some of the expansion slots commonly found in IBM compatible computers, as well as other brands of computers and the devices commonly associated with those slots. Clicking on any of the links below will provide you with additional details about each expansion slot.

Many of the above expansion card slots are obsolete. You're most likely only going to encounter AGP, PCI, and PCI Express when working with computers today. In the picture below is an example of what expansion slots may look like on a motherboard. In this picture, there are three different types of expansion slots: PCI Express, PCI, and AGP.

Computer motherboard

How many expansion slots does my computer have?

Every computer motherboard is different, and the only way to determine how many expansion slots are on your computer motherboard is to identify the manufacturer and model of the motherboard. Once you've identified the model of motherboard, you can find complete information about the motherboard in its manual.

Adding additional expansion slots for older motherboards could be accomplished by using a riser board, which would add several ISA or PCI slots. Today, riser boards are rarely used with motherboards, as there is limited need for additional expansion slots with modern motherboards.

What type of expansion slots are on my motherboard?

As mentioned above, every motherboard model is unique, so to determine the type of expansion slots on the motherboard, consult the board's specifications and owner's manual. You can also open the computer case and visually examine the motherboard.

Why do computers have expansion slots?

Computers have expansion slots to give the user the ability to add new devices to their computer. For example, a computer gamer may upgrade their video card to get better performance in their games. An expansion slot allows them to remove the old video card and add a new video card without having to replace the motherboard.

What is the most common expansion slot today?

Today, the most commonly used expansion slot used and found on computer motherboards is the PCI Express expansion slot.

Does a laptop have an expansion slot?

Laptops do not have expansion slots like a desktop computer. However, some laptops do 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.

Expansion, Expansion card, Motherboard terms, Seated