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controller (card): (Usually) an electronic module on a plug in card that goes into a personal computer to provide a specific function or set of functions, related to something like:

  • displaying video on a computer monitor (a video display controller (or card))
  • playing sound on (amplified) speakers (a sound controller (or card))
  • transmitting data over phone lines (a modem)
  • interchanging data with other computers in a network (an NIC (Network Interface Card), for example for Ethernet, TokenRing, etc.)
  • controlling devices on another type of bus (a SCSI adapter)
  • etc.

More and more of these functions are being integrated into the basic motherboard of a computer, so they are not always plug in cards.

See AboutThesePages.


  • RandyKramer - 14 Jan 2002
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