What Is a Laptop PCI Slot? |GigMocha Defines
As a passionate lover and user of computer technology, you’ll surely agree with me that the motherboard or mainboard is the backbone of every computer. That’s so because it acts as the central circuit hub that connects all the important hardware components and peripherals of a computer.
Sometimes, when your computer is running slowly, especially if you’re a gamer, the best option is to upgrade the internal parts of the PC, which are always attached to the motherboard. However, for you to successfully upgrade the mainboard, you need to get familiar with the different types of slots available on it. That said, the motherboard has several different slots that allow the easy connection of all laptop components; one of them is the PCI slot.
The Peripheral Component Interconnect or PCI slot is an old, built-in local computer bus that allows the motherboard to connect with the various hardware components of a computer. Some of the common PCI devices on a laptop include network Cards, audio Cards, video cards, modems, and disk controllers.
There’s no denying that the primary function of the PCI slot is to enable users to expand their computer capabilities. If you’re interested in finding out more about what a laptop’s PCI slot does, the rest of this article is certainly for you. That’s so because it covers a detailed explanation of the PCI slot and how it differs from the new PCI Express.
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About a Laptop’s PCI Slot
As earlier mentioned, the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slot is an old bus slot located on a computer’s motherboard. The PCI slot’s primary function is for expansion devices. It usually serves as components of a conventional DIY desktop computer – this is why many people refer to it as the conventional PCI.
The PCI slot helps to connect several different PCI devices to the computer. Here are some of them below:
- Network cards
A laptop’s Network card or Network interface card (NIC) is used to connect our laptops to computer networks over the Internet. In a simple term, the card is utilized for communication between our computer system and the other computer networks. NIC cards often come with pins at the bottom – they allow them to easily attach to the PCI slot on the motherboard.
- Video Card or Graphic card
Another device that you can attach to the PCI slot on your laptop is Video Card or Graphic Card. If you don’t know, these cards are effective for providing a graphical interface, including images and videos to the laptop. Like the network cards, video cards also have pins at the bottom that enable them to be connected easily to the motherboard via the PCI slot.
- Audio Card
Apart from the network cards and the graphic cards, another PCI device that you can attach to the PCI slot on the motherboard is Audio Card. The card helps to convert electrical signals from a computer to sound. Furthermore, audio cards have different kinds of ports for connecting the headphone and speaker. Apart from that, it also has pins, which allow you to connect it easily to the PCI slot on the mainboard.
You can also connect your modem to the PCI slot on your laptop. A modem often comes with two different RJ-11 jacks; one is used for connecting the telephone while the other is effective for linking the telephone line.
- Other devices
Apart from the above-listed devices, other PCI devices that you can connect to the PCI slot include the following:
- Controller card
- Firewire cards
What are the main types of PCI slots?
On a computer system, there are usually three different types of PCI slots on a motherboard; they include the following:
- 64-bit PCI with 5V signal voltage
- 64 bit PCI with 3.3V signal voltage
- 32 bit PCI with 5V signal voltage
If you have a dual-processor desktop, the 64-bit PCI with 5V signal voltage is the PCI slot that you’ll most likely find on it. That’s not all; you can also see this type of slot on server mainboards. One of the features of the PCI slot is that its clock speed for data transmissions is 33Mhz.
Furthermore, the 64 bit PCI with 3.3V signal voltage is another type of PCI slot that’s commonly found on modern server motherboards. Unlike the 5V signal voltage type, this slot packs clock speed for data transmissions that varies from 66 Mhz to 533 Mh.
Lastly, the 32 bit PCI with 5V signal voltage is a type of PCI slot that’s common on most regular desktop mainboards. They have a clock speed of 33Mhz and a maximum transmission capacity of about 1 gigabit/s.
PCI Slot vs PCI-E Slot: What Is the Difference Between Them?
Before I go ahead to talk about the difference between the PCI slot and the PCI-e slot, here’s a quick question; what is a PCI-e slot?
PCI-e is an acronym that stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCI Express. It is a serial expansion bus standard that allows a computer motherboard to connect different hardware components.
Furthermore, there are four primary size specifications for the PCI-e slot. They include PCIe x1, PCIe x4, PCIe x8, and PCIe x16. Interestingly, these sizes represent the number of direct connections you can make on the PCI-e slot.
PCI vs PCI-e: the face-off
The main difference between the two expansion slots; PCI and PCI-e is that – the former is a parallel interface while the latter is a high-speed serial interface.
Furthermore, a PCI slot only has one bus that handles data from multiple sources. On the other hand, the PCI-e slot has a switch that helps in controlling multiple point-to-point serial connections.