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 board that allows a computer 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.
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.
Computer expansion slots
- AGP - Video card
- AMR - Modem, Sound card
- CNR - Modem, Network card, Sound card
- EISA - SCSI, Network card, Video card
- ISA - Network card, Sound card, Video card
- PCI - Network card, SCSI, Sound card, Video card
- PCI Express - Video card, Modem, Sound Card, Network Card
- VESA - Video card
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.
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 is different and the only way to determine the type of expansion slots on the motherboard is through the motherboard manual.
Does a laptop have an expansion slot?
Laptops do not have expansion slots like what has been explained above. However, some laptops do have PC Cards that can be inserted into the side of the laptop or the option for an express card to be added.