Computer Expansion Cards

 

Computer Expansion Cards M 2-c

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Purpose Of This Module

Expansion cards allow you to choose a wide variety of special features and capabilities. Many kinds of special purpose cards are available, all of which are generally compatable with most computers.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Learn the basic principles of the standard bus adaptor slots and several specific expansion slots.

BACKGROUND & DISCUSSION

Expansion cards allow flexibility of function.

INSTRUCTIONS:

You will study the concept of expansion slots and some specific cards. {Seminar -- scrapbook}

EVALUATION CRITERIA:

Evaluated on the data in your scrapbook section and on participation in seminar.


The completion report processor is Under construction


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Learning Objectives ---- What do we hope to accomplish here?

Learn the basic principles of the standard bus adaptor slots and several specific expansion slots.

  1. Learn the terminology and techniques of the standard expansion slots. Learn the various classes of slots and IRQ, DMA, and I/O address conflicts.
  2. Learn the range of available options for the following kinds of expansion cards:
    • Video adaptor cards
    • Disk drive controllers
    • Modems

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Background & Discussion ------ Some help in getting started. Why is this important?

Expansion cards allow you to choose a wide variety of special features and capabilities. Many kinds of special purpose cards are available, all of which are generally compatable with most computers.

If all important features were on the motherboard, when you buy a computer you won't be able to expand it much. Relying on expansion slots for functions like drive controller and video interface allows expansion beyond initial capability. On the other hand, it is cheaper to put the functions on a mother board than to use separate expansion cards for these functions. If a major breakthrough occurs that makes your current video card obsolete you can just buy one of the new configuration and grow with the technology. If it is on the motherboard you are stuck with the obsolete interface. So there is a trade-off between initial expense and expandability. The trade-off needs to be made for each purchase.

The expansion slot is a very sophisticated approach to building a computer. Each slot connects its card to the data, control, and address buses and allows the card to interact in standard ways. Since all slots and cards are mutually compatable, many companies are making the cards, competition keeps the costs down. The constant pressure to beat out the competitor assures a constant flow of new and better expansion cards at reasonable prices. Cards and slots range from simple 8 bit to 16 bit and 32 bit cards. ESA, EISA, Local bus are terms often used. You should know what all these terms and factors mean.

The expansion cards often need access to I/O addresses, DMA channels, and IRQs (Make sure you know what each of these terms mean). When installing a new card you will have to make sure that there isn't a conflict. Documentation with the cards don't always give complete instructions for avoiding conflict.


SPECIFIC EXPANSION CARDS:

Identify the range of features and limitiations of each kind of card. Define factors that affect your choice of each kind of card.

DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS:
Interface between the computer and floppy and/or hard disk drives. IDE, SCSI, etc. You should know what kinds of controllers are available, their costs, and what they connect to.
VIDEO ADAPTOR CARDS & MONITORS:
Translate memory bit maps into reaster scan video. You should investigate monochrome and color controllers and monitors. You should understand the various video modes and X-Y resolution. The wide variety of color video modes, number of bits per pixel, number of colors, pallettes, are all factors that you should investigate.
MODEMS:
Internal and external modems communicate via the telephone lines. You should investigate the various Baud rates, handshaking schemes, and protocols. The software you choose to run the modem varies from the standard Windows communicator to TCP/IP stacks that allow access to Internet providers. You should know how to install, set up, and run modems and modem software. You should investigate the various protocols. Are they all mutually compatable?
Others:
Find them and understand them.

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Exercise Description -------- Procedures for completing this exercise

You will study the concept of expansion slots and some specific cards. {Seminar -- scrapbook}

Create an expansion slot section in your scrapbook containing the following:

  1. Use your text and other books to determine what kinds of expansion slots are available in today's computers. Explain the important terms in your scrapbook. Try to define the differences between the levels of expansion slots and identify the differences.
  2. Identify as many different kinds of interface cards as you can. Briefly describe the functions of each.
  3. For each of the following expansion cards, document the range of features available, factors that differentiate one from another, cost, and other important features.
    • DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS:
    • VIDEO ADAPTOR CARDS & MONITORS:
    • MODEMS:

Participate in a brief seminar on expansion ports.


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Evaluation Criteria

Evaluated on the data in your scrapbook section and on participation in seminar.

Standard 0 to 5 scale for each

  1. Principles of expansion ports - addresses, IRQs, DMA chan. Are the descriptions clear, concise and complete.
  2. Individual expansion boards: Clear, concise, and complete.
  3. Seminar participation. It must be clear that you understand the material.

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