Understanding and functions of a sound card on a computer

The sound card is a very valuable component for gamers, multimedia or regular computer users. It is one of the main components used in computers. This time we will discuss the meaning, operation and functions of the sound card on a computer.

Read also: 9 basic computer components and how to upgrade it

Sound card definition

A sound card is a rectangular piece of hardware that has several ports on the side for connecting to audio devices, such as speakers. This is the component used in your computer to receive and send audio. This hardware is configured and used with software applications and device drivers. The sound card is also installed in a PCI or PCIe slot on the system board.

The input device installed to receive audio data is usually a microphone, while the device used to output audio data is usually speakers or headphones. Please note that the sound card is not the hardware required for the computer to work. If you don’t use it, that’s fine.

Fungsi sound card

The sound card works to convert the received digital audio data to analog audio so that the speakers can play it. Otherwise, the sound card can convert analog audio data from the microphone to digital data that can be stored on a computer and converted using audio software.

The sound card provides the audio processing requirements available to your computer. If you need to record sound, play sound, hear sound from a DVD, or hear sound from a video game on your computer, you need a sound card to process the sound from your computer.

Jenis sound card

There are different types of sound cards or audio devices. In fact, not all of them are in the form of books. The sound card itself is a PCI card that plugs into a slot on a desktop computer. Laptops have a slightly different configuration. There is also a PCMCIA card for laptops, which is a card that is connected to a laptop card slot. These devices are also considered external components.

There are also USB and Firewire devices that are external and connected to a computer port. Brands of sound equipment and sound cards include Creative Sound Blaster, E-MU, M Audio and Digidesign.

How sound cards work

Most sound cards have only four main components:

  • Digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
  • Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)
  • PCIe interface
  • Input and output connection

Some sound cards use an encoding / decoder chip, called a CODEC, which performs DAC and ADC functions. When the computer plays sound, it sends a signal to the sound card through the PCIe interface. The signal passes through the DAC before it is processed from the output connection.

When you record audio on a computer, the process is almost the same, just the opposite. The sound card receives the signal through the input connection. Then converted to 1s and 0s by ADC. The sound card then sends a PCIe signal to the CPU for processing.

In addition, other sound cards have a digital signal processor (DSP) and amplifiers. DSP is a microprocessor specially designed for audio processing. It provides the necessary DAC / ADC / CODEC processing power to convert the signal.

If your sound card does not have a DSP, use the processor to do this conversion. On the other hand, the amplifier or amplifier is used to amplify the output signal. If the converted signal is weak, the amplifier uses electricity to increase its amplitude. This increases the audio output volume.

Do I need a sound card?

To be honest, most users don’t need an external sound card. In the 80’s and 90’s, computers needed a separate sound card. This is because the processors were not powerful enough at that time to process audio. But as technology progresses, the processor gains enough power that it no longer needs a sound card. That’s why most prefabricated computers and laptops don’t have a separate sound card.

The internal sound card of most computers is enough to give you quality sound. But if you need a sound that is actually quite clear, you may need it.

Some players also use sound cards to improve their performance. This is because some of these sound cards use surround sound virtualization. This technology turns 3D sound into stereo headphone output. Players can then use hearing cues to locate their enemy’s position.


So the function of the sound card is to control all the sound on your computer. Sound cards continue to grow in terms of both hardware and software.

Its use is also so widespread that most motherboard manufacturers offer built-in sound cards for computers. However, other users prefer to customize using an external sound card that can be selected to meet their specific needs, rather than an internal / built-in sound card.

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