What is a controller board?

A controller board is a type of computer hardware component installed on a computer’s motherboard. It allows the motherboard to interface and control other components such as disk drives, hard drives, printers and input devices. Older computers often required the installation of a separate controller board with any new hardware or peripheral components. Today, most computers have all the necessary controllers installed on the motherboard as part of the chipset, but some additional components may still require the installation of a separate controller board.

Adding an optical drive to a computer usually requires a new controller card.

Every hardware component of a computer requires a controller. Any computer will have all the drivers needed to operate all of its installed components. Many computers will include many standard controllers that will operate various standard devices as manufacturers adhere to interface standards for these devices. This means that a new device installed in a computer will rarely require the addition of a controller card. Controller boards are designed to plug into a computer’s motherboard, usually in a type of interface called a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slot.

A controller board allows the motherboard to control other components, such as hard drives.

Some devices, however, such as certain hard drives, may require a controller board. Several different types of hard drives are available in the market today. If a hard drive is added to a computer of a different type than the original drive, a controller card for the new drive will be required.

One type of controller card that has become obsolete due to advances in computer technology is the network controller card. On older computers, a separate card was needed to control the device that allowed a computer to connect and operate on a local area network. Newer computers have this controller installed as part of the chipset.

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Hobbyists and others looking to upgrade older computers will often need a controller card when adding a new device or upgrading devices such as optical drives or hard drives. Network controllers, universal serial bus (USB) controllers, and hard disk controllers are some of the most common controller boards needed in these situations. Many manufacturers still produce them for use in older computers, although these components are gradually becoming obsolete.

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