Peripheral Component Interconnect

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Conventional PCI (PCI is an initialism formed from Peripheral Component Interconnect[1], part of the PCI Local Bus standard and often shortened to PCI) is a computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer. These devices can take either the form of an integrated circuit fitted onto the motherboard itself, called a planar device in the PCI specification, or an expansion card that fits into a slot. The PCI Local Bus is common in modern PCs, where it has displaced ISA and VESA Local Bus as the standard expansion bus, and it also appears in many other computer types. Despite the availability of faster interfaces such as PCI-X and PCI Express, conventional PCI remains a very common interface.

The PCI specification covers the physical size of the bus (including the size and spacing of the circuit board edge electrical contacts), electrical characteristics, bus timing, and protocols. The specification can be purchased from the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG).

Typical PCI cards used in PCs include: network cards, sound cards, modems, extra ports such as USB or serial, TV tuner cards and disk controllers. Historically video cards were typically PCI devices, but growing bandwidth requirements soon outgrew the capabilities of PCI. PCI video cards remain available for supporting extra monitors and upgrading PCs that do not have any AGP or PCI Express slots.[2]

Many devices traditionally provided on expansion cards are now commonly integrated onto the motherboard itself, meaning that modern PCs often have no cards fitted. However, PCI is still used for certain specialized cards, although many tasks traditionally performed by expansion cards may now be performed equally well by USB devices.

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