Serial & Parallel Cards

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FAQ About Serial & Parallel Cards

Building your own computer? Looking for add-ons to increase your computer's connectivity options for peripherals including external modems and older printers? Read on to find out about serial and parallel cards, the difference between them, as well as what to consider when shopping for one.

What are serial cards?

A serial card is a type of PCI card that makes it easy to add PCI serial ports to a computer for connecting devices like modems and external hard drives. Considered one of the most basic external computer connections, serial cards typically feature ports with 9-pin connectors and allow for data transmission that's serial (data is sent one bit at a time on the same wire) and bidirectional (allows devices such as modems to both receive and transmit data).

What are parallel cards?

A parallel port card is a newer type of PCI card that's most commonly used to connect older printers, but can also be used for a wide range of other legacy peripheral devices as well. It offers an easy way of adding parallel ports to a computer. Typically featuring 25-pin connectors, parallel ports allow for several bits of data to be sent simultaneously on different channels within the same cable, making for faster data transmission.

What should I look for when buying a serial or parallel card?

Make sure that the devices you want to connect to your computer are compatible with the type of card you're looking into. If you're in need of both serial and parallel ports, seek out a hybrid card, which conveniently offers both types of connections.


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