(dipti, 2011).

Before Sound Cards were invented the computer could only use different frequencies and tones of beeping to convey warning and alerts. The earliest PC games had music strictly comprised of beeps. In the 1980s the add-on Sound Card was introduced for PCs and this greatly improved the range of sounds, volume and quality of sounds.

Definition: "A hardware interface that is either built into a computer's motherboard or inserted into one of the computer's internal expansion slots. Sound cards allow the computer to play digital audio and/or musical instrument sounds." (Sonic Spot, 2007).

Standard Specifications: There are four types of Sound Cards that are the most commonly used.

Types of Sound Cards


ISA Bus Cards

oldest sound card for non plug and play ISA bus; likely not manufactured today

ISA Plug and Play Cards

use extended version of the ISA bus; supports software identification and configuration of cards in software;

not very many of this type are manufactured today

PCI Bus Cards

use PCI bus that has a higher bandwith and provides identification and configuration of cards in software; majority of sound cards

today use the PCI; onboard sound cards built-in to the motherboard also use the PCI


new connection used for external "hot-pluggable" devices; used for USB bus speakers

(Wilson, 1998-2011).

(, 2007).

Function: The Sound Card allows the computer to make 3D audio sound for games, music, and movies, and it can also record and playback sound from external sources. The Sound Card acts as a translator between the computer's digital, electronic information and messages and the outside world's analog information, or what the computer user hears. The Sound Card uses a device to convert sound from analog to digital, and from digital to analog. The card also comes equipped with and ISA or PCI Interface to connect to the motherboard and input and output connections for external speakers. The Sound Card uses its own memory in order to increase the processing speed. Some Sound Cards come equipped with so many input/output connections that they require a breakout box, which includes: multiple speaker connections for 3D and surround sound, a file transfer protocol for audio data (S/PDIF), MIDI used to connect electronic instruments to the computer, and Firewire and USB connections. (Wilson, 1998-2011).

How It Affects the End User: The uses of computers have increased substantially and I can't think of one job that wouldn't require a computer with sound. Even this wikipage needs to be viewed on a computer that has a sound card because of the Videos provided. Without a sound card computer users wouldn't be able to watch movies, YouTube videos, listen to music, or play video games. Some computers come equipped with sound cards that are used for recording music and this wouldn't be possible without the sound card. Without a sound card, a computer would have restricted or limited use for the computer user.

Fun Fact!: The very first sound card introduced into the market was the Sound Blaster card. (, 2011).

The video below demonstrates how to install a sound card.

(BetaFlux, 2007).

Resources Utilized for this Page:
dipti. (2011). How Sound Card Works [image]. Retrieved from
Sonic Spot. (2007). Glossary: Sound Card. Retrieved from
Wilson, T.V. (1998-2011). How Sound Cards Work. Retrieved from (2008). Computer Sound Card [image]. Retrieved from (2011). History of the Sound Card. Retrieved from
BetaFlux. (2007, August 15). Sound Card Install [Video File]. Retrieved from