Computer Hardware:
     • Tools, Static & Cleaning
     • Form Factor
     • PC Case & Fans
     • Motherboard
     • Processor (CPU)
     • Power Supply Unit
     • RAM
     • Hard Drive
     • Solid State Drive
     • Optical Drive
     • Floppy Disk Drive
     • Graphics Card
     • Sound Card
     • Network Card
     • Computer Monitor
     • Keyboard & Mouse
     • Laptop / Netbook
     • Building a Computer
     • Overclocking

Operating System & Backup:
     • Operating System
     • Drivers
     • Windows Tools
     • User Accounts
     • Backup
     • Windows 10

Internet & Network:
     • Internet
     • Wi-fi or Cable
     • Improve Broadband Speed
     • Network Computers

Computer Peripherals:
     • Printer
     • Scanner
     • External Hard Drive
     • USB Flash Drive

Computer Security:
     • Anti-virus
     • Anti-Spyware
     • Phishing
     • Firewall

Common PC Problems:
     • Slow Computer
     • Hardware Failure
     • Software Failure
     • Printing Problems

     • Windows Shortcuts
     • Glossary of Terms
     • HTML Colour Picker
     • Number Base Converter

Motherboard Expansion Ports

Expansion ports allow you to add more hardware to your computer such as graphics cards, sound cards, network cards etc. Below are some of the more well known types of expansion port.

There are different types of expansion port and on an older motherboard you might find an ISA port, PCI ports, along with a AGP port:

ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) - This is an old port which made an appearance in 1981 but would not be seen on the motherboards of today.

PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) - PCI was created in 1993 and is still used in modern motherboards.

AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) - This port was created in 1996 and is found on older motherboards as it has now been superceded by PCIe x16. The AGP port is used for older type Graphic Cards.

Expansion ports on older motherboard.Expansion ports on new motherboard.

A modern motherboard may contain several PCI ports, PCIe x1 ports, and one or two PCIe x16 ports:

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) - PCIe was created in 2004 and replaces PCI. You may find various PCIe ports such as PCIe x1, PCIe x4, PCIe x8, PCIe x16 which are all different lengths. PCIe x1 is commonly used along with PCIe x16 for Graphics Cards.

PCIe x16 - The PCIe x16 is used for a Graphics Card and supecedes the AGP port.

IDE & SATA Ports
IDE (PATA), and SATA ports are used to connect storage devices such as Hard Drives, Optical Drives, and Solid State Drives.

IDE (Intergrated Drive Electronics) which is now also called PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) was designed in 1986 and is found in older motherboards. You can connect two drives to each port giving you a total of four drives.

SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) was created in 2003 and supercedes IDE. It is found in newer motherboards and each port can support one drive.

Older IDE and new SATA ports for connecting drives.

The picture above show two IDE ports - IDE1 (blue), and IDE2 (white). You would connect your main hard drive which contains the operating system to IDE1 and set it as the primary master. More details in the Hard Drive section of this website.

The six SATA ports in the picture above have two white high-speed ports (SATA 6Gb/s), and four slower ports (SATA 3Gb/s). You would connect your main hard drive which contains the operating system to the white SATA 6G_1 port particularly if the drive supports this speed. More details in the Hard Drive section of this website.