- An expansion bus is an assortment of wires that allows for computer expansion with the use of an expansion board, a printed circuit board inserted into an expansion slot on the motherboard or backplane that provides additional features to a computer system. An expansion bus provides an input/output pathway for transferring information between internal hardware, such as RAM or the CPU, and expansion devices such as a graphics card or sound card.
- PCI-X (PCI eXtended) is a computer bus and expansion card standard that enhanced the PCI Local Bus for higher bandwidth demanded by servers. It is a double-wide version of PCI, running at up to four times the clock speed, but is otherwise similar in electrical implementation and uses the same protocol.
Alternatively known as a bus slot or expansion port, an expansion slot is a connection or port inside a computer on the motherboard or riser card. It provides an installation point for a hardware expansion card to be connected.
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Alternatively known as an address bus, data bus, or local bus, a bus is a connection between components or devices connected to a computer. For example, a bus carries data between a CPU and the system memory via the motherboard.
- Types of computer buses.
Why is a computer bus called a bus?
You can think of a computer bus like public transportation or a school bus. These types of buses are capable of transporting people from one destination to another destination. Like these buses, a computer bus transmits data from one location or device to another location or device.
A computer bus maintains a strict schedule, 'picking up' data and 'dropping it off' at a regular interval. For example, if a bus operates at a frequency of 200 MHz, it completes 200 million data transfers per second.
Computer bus overview
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The bus contains multiple wires (signal lines) with addressing information describing the memory location of where the data is being sent or retrieved. Each wire in the bus carries a bit(s) of information, which means the more wires a bus has, the more information it can address. For example, a computer with a 32-bit address bus can address 4 GB of memory, and a computer with a 36-bit bus can address 64 GB of memory.
The illustration below shows the different types of computer buses and how they connect devices on the motherboard.
Types of computer buses
A bus is either a parallel or serial bus, and either an internal bus (local bus) or an external bus (expansion bus).
Internal bus vs. external bus
An internal bus enables the communication between internal components, such as a video card and memory. An external bus is capable of communicating with external components, such as a USB or SCSI device.
Parallel bus vs. serial bus
A computer bus can transmit its data using either a parallel or serial method of communication. With a parallel bus, data is transmitted several bits at a time. However, with a serial bus, the data is transferred one bit at a time.
A computer or device's bus speed is measured in MHz, e.g., an FSB may operate at a frequency of 100 MHz. The throughput of a bus is measured in bits per second or megabytes per second.
Examples of computer buses
Most popular computer buses
Today, many of the buses listed above are no longer used or are not as common. Below is a listing of the most common buses and how they are used with a computer.
- eSATA and SATA - Computer hard drives and disc drives.
- PCIe - Computer expansion cards and video cards.
- USB - Computer peripherals.
- Thunderbolt- Peripherals connected through a USB-C cable.
ADB, AGP, AMR, AT Bus, Back-side bus, Channel, CNR, EISA, Hardware terms, HyperTransport, IDE, Input/output bus, Internal data bus, ISA, MCA, Motherboard terms, Multiplier, NuBus, PCI, PCI Express, PCMCIA, SBus, SCSI, SMBus, USB, Vitesse-Bus, VLB, XT
Alternatively referred to as a bus slot or expansion port, an expansion slot is connection or port located inside a computer on the motherboard or riser board that allows a computer hardware expansion card to be connected. For example, if you wanted to install a new video card in the computer, you’d purchase a video expansion card and install that card into the compatible expansion slot.
Many of the below expansion card slots are obsolete.You’re most likely only going to encounter AGP, PCI, and PCI Express when working with computers today. In the picture below is an example of what expansion slots may look like on a motherboard. In this picture, there are three different types of expansion slots: PCI Express, PCI, and AGP.
- PCI – Network card, SCSI, Sound card, Video card
- PCI Express – Video card
- AGP – Video card
- ISA – Network card, Sound card, Video card
- AMR – Modem, Sound card
- CNR – Modem, Network card, Sound card
- EISA – SCSI, Network card, Video card
- VESA – Video card
PCI Express: The best type of expansion slot to have in your PC is the PCI Express, also written as PCIe. Without boring you, the PCI Express type of expansion slot communicates with the motherboard, and therefore with the microprocessor, both quickly and efficiently.
PCI:The PCI slot is the most common form of internal expansion for a PC.
[bs_icon name=”glyphicon glyphicon-exclamation-sign”] Some PCs have a mixture of PCI and PCI Express slots. If so, go with PCI Express when you have that option.
AGP: This type of expansion slot was specifically designed to deal with graphics adapters. In fact, AGP stands for Accelerated Graphics Port. Older PCs may sport this expansion slot, but the best video cards use PCI Express.
ISA:The most ancient type of expansion slot is the ISA, which stands for (get this) Industry Standard Architecture. That’s because it never really had a name until another, better type of expansion slot came along. ISA slots hang around to be compatible with older expansion cards.
PCI-e slot (x16)
PCI-e card (x16)
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