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This chapter is from the book

Buying a Port Expansion Card

Fortunately, adding a new port—of any kind—is as easy as installing a new card (like the one in Figure 3.1) in your system unit.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 A typical port expansion card—this one adds two USB ports.


If you need a quick refresher course in the different types of ports and connectors, turn to Table 2.3, Common External Connectors, in Chapter 2, "Preparing Your System for an Upgrade."

Not only is this particular upgrade relatively easy, it's also relatively inexpensive. You can find parallel, serial, and USB expansion cards for as little as $20 or so; FireWire and SCSI cards run a bit more.

In addition, many port expansion cards contain more than one type of port. So you can install one card to gain extra serial and parallel ports, or get a combination of USB and FireWire ports on a single card.


If you have the choice, you're better off buying a peripheral that plugs into an existing USB port than one that requires a new parallel or serial connection. It's easier to connect a device to an open USB connector than it is to install a new parallel or serial card.

When you're shopping for a port expansion card, check out the product models from these manufacturers—most of these companies also make external port expansion devices:

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