CompTIA®A+ Exam Notes : Install And Configure PC Expansion Cards


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1. PC Hardware

1.6 Install and configure PC expansion cards.

Sound Cards: A sound card is an expansion card or IC for producing sound on a computer that can be heard through speakers or headphones. Although the computer does not need a sound device to function, they are included on every machine in one form or another, either in an expansion slot or built into the motherboard (onboard).

Video cards: a video card is an expansion card that connects to a computer motherboard. It is used to create a picture on a display; without a video card, you would not be able to see this page. More plainly, it is a piece of hardware inside of your computer that deals with processing images and video, along with some of the tasks that the CPU is normally responsible for. Video cards are used by gamer in place of integrated graphics due to their extra processing power and video RAM.

Network Cards: A network interface controller is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network. A computer uses a network interface card (NIC) to become part of a network. The NIC contains the electronic circuitry required to communicate using a wired connection (ex: Ethernet) or a wireless connection (ex: WiFi). A network interface card is also known as a network interface controller, network adapter, or Local Area Network (LAN) adapter. The most widely used network connection for personal computers is an Ethernet connection. Ethernet is really a standard for computer network technologies that describes both hardware and communication protocols. Since Ethernet is so widely used, most modern computers have a NIC built into the motherboard. A separate network card is not required unless some other type of network is used. A Network Interface Card is required to be present in the PC to communicate over a LAN. A switch or a Hub may be required or may not be required depending on the network configuration. For example, if you have 10Base2 (Thinnet) network, you may not need a Hub or a Switch. Router is required only when there is routing involved.

USB cards: USB card actually is a pretty easy one. One simple has to open up the computer making sure it's completely power off a d the cord is unplugged. Then one can simple look for the manual guide to see where the USB cards can be attached. After are it done, restart and look for the drivers using the device manager or the windows update.

USB devices are Plug and Play devices, so there is little that you can do to control or configure them. Windows usually detects devices when they're plugged in and, if necessary, installs drivers.

If your USB does not work after you plug it in, it's probably because of one of the following causes:

  • Windows can't find a driver for the USB device. When hardware attached to a computer doesn't work properly, it's often because of a driver problem.
  • When you plug in a USB device, Windows automatically identifies the device and searches for a driver.
  • If Windows can't find the driver, it will prompt you to insert the disc containing the driver that came with your device.
  • Windows doesn't recognize the USB device. Before Windows can find and install a driver for your USB device, it must be able to correctly identify the device.
  • Occasionally you might have a USB device that Windows doesn't recognize and that did not come with a disc containing a driver. In this case, you can look for a driver on the device manufacturer's website.
  • You can often download drivers from the support section of such sites.
  • After you find a driver for a device that Windows cannot identify, you will have to install the driver manually.
  • Look for an ejector button next to the PC Card slot. On some systems, the button is folded into the unit for storage. Unfold the button and remove any connected cables or dongles from the card.

Firewire Cards: The Firewire cards are connected to the PCI board. One would have to install and configure it all by himself. As it's understood, like all other hardware's, this hardware also has to be installed with screws and has to be planted in the motherboard. Also, the devices can be searched for it using the windows update.

Storage cards: Installing a storage card requires a medium level difficulty. These are the multimedia cards, SD cards; flash cards etch which fall under this category. What is needed for this all is a memory card, computer, memory card reader and the empty slot. First thing is, that one should connect the memory card to some specific device and see if the type of memory is supported and whether it has the maximum capacity or not. The OD modules normally have limited capacity hosting. Second thing is that one should try to put it into computer and format it. Mostly cards get formatted with the FAT file system. It should be done by putting it into a card reader. Then an option would appear that device is detected but the data can't be read. There one should format the card since the format option would appear as well. Then the OS would normally be start showing the configuration settings for the card. So, one should just check for the start button so that the process starts and then wait for the format process to get ended. Then it should be closed after the procedure is done. Then the card should be removed from the reader device and the drive should be turned off so that one can replace he memory card. Then one should search for the memory slot and insert the memory card in a way so that it doesn't get damaged and they should press the clips back to keep it sealed there.

PCI cards can be identified by the following attributes:

1. They have a single notch as shown in the exhibit.

2. Also, note that the finger contacts are very close.

PC Expansion Card

The one shown in the exhibit is a Network Interface Card (NIC) that goes into a PCI slot on the motherboard. Note that PCI slots are smaller than the ISA slots. All ATX motherboards have PCI slots, and may or may not have ISA slots. AGP (Advanced Graphic Port) port is shorter than PCI slot and usually brown in color. A video card will have onboard video RAM sockets for adding video memory and also an output connect to connect to a video monitor.

Riser card: A riser board is a circuit board that gives a computer motherboard the option for additional expansion cards to be added to the computer.

AMR slot: AMR stands for Audio Modem Riser. AMR is a riser card that supports sound or modem function. With increasing CPU computational power, the digital processing job can be implemented in main chipset and share CPU power.

CNR slot: CNR stands for Communication Network Riser. CNR is a riser card specification that supports V.90 analog modem, multi-channel audio, phone-line based networking, and 10/100 Ethernet based networking. The digital processing is implemented in main chipset and share CPU power.

A modem can also be inserted using PCI slot. But, in such case, it will not be using onboard audio CODEC or CNR digital controller. The AMR card primarily attends to conversion of analog signals to digital and vice versa. Slot 1 is associated with CPU slots.

PCI slots: 5 (distinguished by white color, usually the number of PCI slots available on a motherboard varies from 3 to 6)

ISA slots: 2 (distinguished by black color, longer than PCI slots, placed next to PCI slots.)

AGP slot: 1 ( The single slot, next to 5 white PCI slots is AGP slot in brown color. Note that there will be only one AGP slot

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