CompTIA A+ Exam Prep: Adapter Cards & Functions

There are many types of arranger cards that go into a calculator organization. today we ‘ll go over each character of adapter card as required by the 2009 CompTIA A+ exam pawl here for the latest CompTIA A+ training course ). objective 1.9 of the A+ 2009 examination goes over the types and functions of adapter cards, including :

  • Video Cards (PCI, PCIe, and AGP)
  • Multimedia Cards (Sound Cards, TV Tuner Cards, and Capture Cards)
  • I/O Cards (SCSI, Serial, USB, and Parallel)
  • Communications Cards (NICs and Modems)

today we ‘ll go over each of these types of adapter cards and their functions to help you prepare for the 2009 A+ examination .

Video Cards

The first, and arguably one of the most important, types of adapter cards are television cards. besides known as graphics accelerators, graphics processors, display cards, or graphics cards ; video cards do the heavy lift in allowing you see and interface with what you are doing in your calculator. Video cards generate the graphics to be shown and send the finished sign out to your monitor, screen or projector. The first connection type listed on the examination is a PCI connection type. While PCI type video recording cards were n’t the foremost type out, there were decidedly a standard and milestone in connections. PCI video cards replaced the EISA, ISA, MCA and VESA buses from 1993 onwards. PCI made it easier to use video recording cards as there were no manual adjustments, such as jumpers, that needed to be made. PCI slots allowed the television card to connect dynamically between devices. A PCI time slot is a 32 to 64-bit busbar set at 33MHz to 100MHz. PCI buses can handle up to 800MB/s of bandwidth. [ caption id= ” attachment_15843 ” align= ” aligncenter ” width= ” 500 ” ] Example of a Video Card Example of a Video Card. photograph by qwikrex. [ /caption ] Accelerated Graphics Ports ( AGPs ) were first used in 1997 and are arguably the most popular and long run graphics port improving until about 2006 when PCI Express reached double the data-transfer rate of AGP. AGP Graphics cards come in four flavors. 1x, 2x, 4x, and 8x. While all are 32-bits and rated at 66MHz, they are separated by their bandwidth ability. Starting at 264MB/s for 1x and going up to 528MB/s for 2x, 1000MB/s for 4x and 2000MB/s for 8x. PCI Express ( PCIe 1.0 ) cards have been standard since about 2006 and offer enormous amounts of bandwidth and a much higher rate of amphetamine. As of 2009, they have completely replaced AGP cards, as proved by the fact that the world ‘s two largest video recording batting order companies, ATI and nVidia, now create PCIe cards entirely. While the highest clock rate seen before was astir to 100MHz with PCI, PCIe is rated at 2,500-5,000MHz. PCIe video cards are the first to separate themselves from the standard Parallel interface, moving on to the serial interface. PCIe besides comes in four flavors differentiated by their bandwidth ; PCIe x1 can support astir to 500MB/s, PCIe x4 can support up to 1,000MB/s, PCIe x8 can support up to 4,000MB/s, and PCIe x16 can support up to 8,000MB/s. While PCIe x16 2.0 is not on the 2009 A+ Bridge Exam, I feel it is crucial to cover as it is the latest engineering set to replace PCI Express 1.0. PCI Express 3.0 is silent in the works. PCIe x16 2.0 runs at up to 10,000MHz and supports up to 16,000MB/s of bandwidth. These specifications, which double todays high-end standard, set it apart from the rest in terms of high end computer science, particularly in terms of bet on, HD, and 3D exploitation video cards.

Multimedia Cards

digression from video recording cards, there are many other types of multimedia cards available and normally used in computer systems. One of the most park cards would have to be the legal circuit board. Sound cards do precisely what you would expect ; they generate sound signals to be sent to your speakers and sound systems. In most cases, they are besides normally where you would find a microphone or input jack for recording. audio cards are increasing in importance as newfangled technologies like HD audio phonograph record and Blu-Ray phonograph record allow for high definition and multi-channel audio. Standard or built in sound cards are normally not herculean enough to process the high end sound files, can not send audio to more than two channels, and produce lower choice results. In the past, high end sound cards were by and large merely used in studio recording environments. today, upgrading your sound wag allows the average consumer to listen to high timbre audio in music, games, and movies, and allows your calculator system to be connected to surround sound systems taking advantage of all available sound channels. [ caption id= ” attachment_15846 ” align= ” aligncenter ” width= ” 500 ” ] 8 Channel PCI sound card 8 Channel PCI Sound Card. photograph by whiskymac. [ /caption ] television radio receiver cards are another character of multimedia adapter calling card. television tuners are used to process coaxial and early types of video recording inputs to display on your computer system. television tuners are able to differentiate different channels much like your television receiver does, basically turning your computer system into a television receiver and digital video recording recorder. many television tuners besides function as AM/FM radio tuners, allowing you to listen to your darling local radio stations right on your computer organization. capture cards are much like television tuners, except quite than focusing on its ability to tune into different channels of video, capture cards focus on pulling one stream of high choice video recording from an external informant, such as a video television camera. capture cards are generally used to capture video inputs from digital sources like Firewire, and analogue inputs like RCA and S-Video. While some capture cards do allow you to capture coaxial television receiver inputs arsenic well, they are generally only used for individual video input sources. [ caption id= ” attachment_15847 ” align= ” aligncenter ” width= ” 500 ” ] Example of a Capture Card Example of a Capture Card. photograph by asvravi. [ /caption ]

I/O Cards

Input/Output cards, besides known as expansion cards, are simply cards that add excess functionality to your current motherboard. For example, if your motherboard does not have any USB 2.0 slots, you can connect a USB 2.0 I/O wag into your PCI slot to add a few USB 2.0 slots to the back of your computer. There are four types of I/O cards that are mentioned in the 2009 A+ Bridge Exam, but they all basically do the like thing. [ caption id= ” attachment_15848 ” align= ” aligncenter ” width= ” 615 ” ] Example of a USB Card Example of a USB Card. photograph by Sam_catch. [ /caption ] The first is a SCSI ( normally pronounced Scuzzy ) expansion card. A small computer system interface expansion card allows you to connect home and external SCSI hard drives to your calculator arrangement. serial cards are besides covered, since series ports have been removed from most newer calculator systems, serial expansion cards ( normally connected through PCI ) are an option way to connect serial devices to your computer system. As noted above, USB expansion cards either add USB functionality, or add extra ports to your calculator. last, analogue expansion cards add analogue ports to your computer system. parallel ports were normally used as printer ports, however, with USB and Ethernet replacing the printing interface, parallel ports are immediately largely used for custom-made peripherals due to it ‘s architectural simplicity.


There are two types of communications cards used in calculator systems today : Network Interface Cards ( NIC ) and Modem Cards. NIC cards are by and large used to give you access to wired Ethernet networks between 10Mbit and 1Gbit connection speeds. Some NIC cards besides include wireless network a well. Modems are used for dial-up access to the internet, earphone systems, and can besides function as a FAX machine would .


While these are decidedly not the alone types of arranger cards available today, they are the most common and are required cognition on the 2009 A+ Bridge Exam. I hope this examination formulation has helped you refresh your memory on some of the requirements. Best of luck on your examination !

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