Sound Card

PCI Slot

The photo above shows what a PCI slot looks like. PCI slots can handle 64 bits of data at a time. ISA slots can only handle 32 bits of data at a time. PCI stands for "Peripheral Component Interconnect." A 64-bit PCI slot has 64 connections to the motherboard. Each connection is capable of handling 1 bit of data at a time. A 32-bit ISA slot has 32 connections to the motherboard and can handle only 32 bits of data at a time. Below is a picture of how a PCI card is installed.

Note: Older technology ISA slots were 8-bit and 16-bit. The later EISA, (or Extended ISA), slots are capable of 32-bit data transfer. Older PCI technology was 32-bit. The newer PCI technology is 64-bit.

PCI Card Installation

Below is a picture of Creative's Sound Blaster Live Value PCI sound card. The sound card is what processes a computer's sound data. When you hear music coming from your computer's speakers, the sound card's digital signal processor, (or DSP), is at work along with the digital-to-analog converter, (or DAC), processing and converting digital sound data to analog sound data. When you talk into your computer's microphone, the sound card's DSP works along with the analog-to-digital converter, (or ADC), to process and convert analog sound data to digital sound data. Analog audio is continuous, like the sound waves from a person's voice. Digital audio is broken into pieces that the computer can understand and work with. Better sound cards have better sound. The Sound Blaster Live Value card allows you to connect a sound input device (like a stereo), a microphone, front speakers, rear speakers, and a joystick or MIDI instrument (like a MIDI keyboard). The front and rear speakers can be combined together to produce stereo surround sound. Just like the video card, the sound card uses its own processor to process sound data.

Sound Blaster Live Value