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Overview Of Sound Card Interfaces
Overview of Sound Card Interfaces

Sound cards can use either a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Interface or Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) based interface.

PCI is a far more advanced bus type for connecting expansion cards and offers a higher data transmission rate.

Older ISA cards were very limited in the maximum speed they could transfer data to and from other devices in a system. As a result of this limitation ISA cards can be considered obsolete.


Sound Card Interface Comparison

The table listed below best summarizes the pros and cons between the PCI and ISA interfaces so that you can compare how the technology has evolved over the past decade.

Interface

Pros

Cons

PCI

The higher allocated bandwidth format allows for better audio effects.

Utilizes less resources.

Allows 90 db noise ratio.

Easier installation.

Higher cost.

ISA

Relatively low cost.

Proven to be reliable.

Compatible with the Sound Blaster standard.

Data transfer is slow.

Uses valuable IRQ and DMA settings.

Limited noise ratio of 85db.

Non plug and play technology makes installation difficult.

Hardware is becoming obsolete.

Sound Card Connectors / Ports

Jacks are one-hole connecting interfaces on your audio card. They allow you to attach other devices to your card. Jacks are found exclusively on the rear panel of audio cards as shown in the following illustration:

Typical connectors found on a Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 ISA Sound Card.


 
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