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Adapter cards for computers come in many different shapes and sizes and have many different functions. Adapter cards, also called expansion boards, according to, are pieces of hardware that allow a computer to use a specific device such as a video card or network adapter card. "Adapter card" is a broad term that encompasses many peripherals and devices.

Wireless Network Adapters

A wireless network adapter card is used to give wireless Internet capabilities to a computer that previously lacked such capability. While there are USB network adapters as well, their range and throughput aren't as high as network cards that plug into PCI and PCI Express slots on your computer's motherboard. According to, most computers come equipped with wireless network cards.You'll have to open your computer tower and physically plug the card into your motherboard in order to install a PCI adapter.

Graphics Cards

Your computer's graphics card plays a large part in the picture quality of video, computer games and other images. These devices work in conjunction with your monitor, processor and other computer components to deliver both text and graphics. According to, graphics cards contain their own memory so that they don't have to use the computer's RAM to store displayed images. It's much easier to upgrade and customize your graphics card in a desktop PC than it is in a laptop with limited space and condensed hardware.

Graphics Accelerators

The graphics accelerator, not to be confused with the graphics card, is a separate video adapter used to boost the performance of the user's computer by handling graphical information so that your computer's CPU is free to handle the rest of the computer. Today's graphic intensive software and games require a lot of graphical computations that bog down low-end systems with commands that could otherwise be handled by a graphics accelerator.

Sound Cards

A sound card is an expansion board that allows your computer to edit and play sound. According to, sound cards are commonplace in most computers, as they have become a necessary add-on for today's average computer user. Sound cards allow computer users to plug headphones, speakers and microphones into input and output jacks located on the external portion of the sound board. Most sound cards support the MIDI standard and are able to process commands designed for Sound Blaster sound cards, the standard for sound on PCs.

Accelerator Board

Accelerator board is a term that is sometimes used as a nickname for Graphics Accelerators, but an accelerator board is also an expansion that allows a computer to run faster through the addition of a faster CPU or FPU. The board attaches to a socket on the motherboard, according to They also point out that users wanting a faster CPU also have the option of removing their current CPU and replacing it with a faster one.

For troubleshooting adapter cards other then the video card, follow these steps:

Sound Card Problem:


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