What Is a PCI Device?

Have you been hearing of a PCI device but don’t actually understand what it means? Well here’s your answer. PCI is an acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect.

The PCI device you come across in the Device Manager indicates the piece of hardware which plugs into your computer’s motherboard.PCI Device

They include PCI Simple Communications Controllers and PCI data Acquisition and Signal Processing Controller. It is these hardware devices that keep your PC running smoothly.

In as much as the PCI device driver is a hardware device, it needs a software driver to function. Without this driver, the device will not function.


A device driver is a program that controls a particular piece of computer hardware. Hardware can be external, just like a printer, or internal, like a sound card. Device drivers are hardware-dependent and operating-system-specific. In as much as most devices come with a driver, you can also download drivers for free from most hardware manufacturer’s websites.

PCI Devices

PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect is the standard interface that is used in connecting peripherals to a personal computer. Components like sound cards, network cards, and TV tuner cards all use PCI in translating information from the main processor.

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PCI Device Drivers

A PCI device driver is a program that is designed to allow a PCI device to function as it is intended. When it comes to drivers, different PCI devices use different drivers. If you happen to get an error message about a driver, then it may have become corrupted or uninstalled. When this happens, you need to simply determine the manufacturer of the device, then visit that company’s website to get the driver.

In all of this, what is the significance of the PCI device?

Every personal computer is built for two primary buses, which are linked to the central processing unit. The system bus also happens to be the fastest and connects the main memory, or RAM, to the CPU.

Now the PCI bus is not as fast as the system bus. It is designed with the main purpose of facilitating the communication of hardware devices of all types. Such as audio, video, network, or graphics with the microprocessor.

Network Cards

One example of a PCI device is a network interface card. This card is about the same thickness as a credit card, with a line of metal connectors on one edge that fit into the motherboard’s PCI bus.

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The network interface card is designed to work the same way as a USB network adapter, except that it connects inside the computer directly on the motherboard. As a user, there are many PCI network adapters from which you can choose.

The two most popular are the mini PCI and wireless adapter cards. Wireless network cards are cards that are integrated into the motherboard of desktop computers. The mini PCI is a device that is pre-installed in most laptop computers. It is a device that enables you to establish a wireless connection to a computer network with your notebook computer.

Audio Cards

There’s another commonly used PCI device is the audio card or sound card. This card is a combination of hardware and software which is used in producing sound. Understand that some sound cards may have their own microprocessors and RAM and the basic input/output.

They include a microphone and speaker, connections which are on all sound cards. The software embedded within the hardware allows the PCI sound card to communicate with other programs and the computer’s operating system.

PCI Express

Currently, the PCI device for video, graphics, and video editing is the PCI Express. It is the most recent standard for the PCI bus, which works with nearly any operating system and has more bandwidth than the original PCI technology.

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PnP also known as Plug and Play helps to catapult the PCI device into the forefront in computing. The Plug and Play technology is a feature that allows the user to simply insert the PCI card into the computer slot.

Thereafter, everything needed to connect the hardware to the system occurs automatically. Now this advance was a collaboration between the Intel Corporation, who assimilated the PCI and PnP technology, and the Microsoft Corporation providing the framework needed in the operating system. Ensure that the computer’s case is opened up to plug the device into the designated slot.


Another option for adapters is USB. The USB adds functionality to a PC or laptop, like wireless adapters. It offers simple plug-in convenience, even though it is less powerful than PCI for wireless connectivity.

However, if you have the option of both and performance happens to be the concern, you may have to stick with PCI.