This Unit


Lecture Material


 Activity 4

Buses & Expansion Cards

Student Name____________________________     Date_____________    

Lecturer Witness Statement:  The student named above carried out the following activities and did so safely.    

Activities  ____________                        Signature ____________________

Lesson Plan

Lecture Bus types and expansion slots & cards

30 min

Activity 4.1: Expansion card research task

30 min

Activity 4.2: Research task conclusion

15  min


15 min

Activity 4.3:  IRQ, I/O task

15 min

   Practical:  Monitor/vga assign task    45 min

Review notes, ask questions

15 min

Activity 4.3: Quiz

15 min

Document Checklist

The following documents are to be handed in at the end of the lesson.    

Documents Tick

  This document in Word format

   Table of AGP/ISA/PCI card properties

   Short report on AGP/ISA/PCI card properties


   Quiz pages

Activity 4.1     

This activity is to be done in groups of 3 or 4

Imagine you are an assistant at a computer fair stall that sells expansion cards.  Your boss tells you and your fellow assistants that the following week you will have to look after the stall all by yourself.  Moreover, you will be expected to answer technical queries from the public about the expansion cards on sale.

You are all a bit worried about dealing with the technical questions so you have decided to improve your knowledge of expansion cards by carrying out some research.

Your first task as a group is to find out about each card on the Internet. In particular...

approximately when that slot type was in mainstream use

how to identify the slot type by looking at the card

bus width

data transfer speed

any advantages of that slot type

any disadvantages of that slot type

any other typical expansion cards that will have that slot type

Note: Each group will be supplied with 3 video expansion cards, each with a with different bus type (ISA, PCI, AGP.

I would suggest that each group member chooses one card to research and that the information gathered is shared and discussed amongst the group at the end of the task period.

You should use a table of the form below to record the details about each card.

Card Label No. _____      Card bus type _________     Card or chipset manufacturer __________________________
Period of mainstream use

Card slot edge characteristic

Bit transfer capabilities


Activity 4.2

From the previous activity, each individual group member should have gathered information about the expansion card he/she was allocated to research.  

Your next task as a group is to pool your information.  In particular you should...  

read and understand the information gathered by other members in your group, since you will be questioned later

discuss the information you have gathered as a group

Each individual must now produce a one page report that

compares and contrasts the speed and capabilities of the three types of video cards

compares and contrasts the speed and capabilities of the two types of network cards

Activity 4.3

This activity is to be done in groups of 3 or 4

Check the BIOS of the PC assigned to you in the workshop to...

see if it has a PNP BIOS


if the resource allocation is handled by the BIOS or by the OS


Boot the computer into the operating system and find out using device manager or equivalent how the following resources are allocated.


 IRQ Number

 I/O Range Bus Type


graphics card
IDE channel
floppy disk controller

Have any IRQ numbers been allocated to a device more than once?  List them below.






If IRQ numbers have been allocated more than once, which type of bus do these devices have?



Activity 4.4 - Quiz

Log into Blackboard and navigate to Quiz 4.  Answer the questions and record your score below.

Quiz Score  __________________


That's it for this activity!



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ADR 2002