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Card Slot Types

I was looking inside my computer and I noticed that I have several types of card slots. Some are short white ones, some are longer black ones.What’s the difference?

The short white ones are PCI slots and the black ones are ISA slots. You may even encounter an AGP slot (usually looks like a displaced PCI slot, brown in color)

What’s the difference? Here’s a run down:

ISA (Industry Standard Adapter) – These are the long black slots. They are the oldest and slowest of the bunch. They support 8 and 16 bit cards (usually stuff like sound cards and modems). You usually won’t even find these on newer computers.


PCI (Peripheral Connect Interface) – These are the current “standard” expansion slot. They support 32 bit cards, transfer data quickly, and take up less space on the motherboard. Usually white in color.


AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port ) – This is a newer type of slot and it’s designed for video cards. It bypasses the slower PCI & ISA slots and provides better / faster 3D video.


Other types have come and gone—and more are sure to follow—but these are the most common types found inside the typical PC.

~ Steve