Sound card installation is typically a fairly simple process, but there are a few steps and guidelines to remember to make it easier. Most sound cards are internal and must be installed inside the computer case and, just like any other internal installation, care should be taken while opening the case. For an external sound card, an installer will want to be sure he or she has an available port for the sound card to be connected to. Sound card installation of internal cards will usually plug into a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) or PCI Express slot on the motherboard, and an installer needs to have one available before installation.
The sound card on a computer is a device typically used to allow audio hardware such as speakers, microphones, and even musical instruments to be connected to the computer for input and output purposes. These devices are often internal and connected directly to the motherboard. External sound cards are also available, though typically less popular for most computer users. Sound card installation is quite simple, but some care should be taken to ensure the process is done properly and nothing within the computer is damaged.
If sound card installation is being performed on a pre-fabricated computer, then an installer should be sure that opening the computer and installing a sound card will not void any warranties or service plans on the computer. In a situation where it would void such an agreement, the computer owner may prefer to have a sound card installed by the manufacturer to avoid this problem. Otherwise the case or tower of the computer should be opened for sound card installation. This is an excellent time to use compressed air to dust out the inside, carefully blowing off the motherboard and any heatsinks or fans within the computer.
For external sound card installation, an installer will typically only need to find a suitable port, usually a universal serial bus (USB) port, and plug the device into the computer. Installation instructions included with the sound card will usually indicate if the drivers, which should be included with the sound card on a disc, need to be installed before hardware is connected. During internal sound card installation, the sound card would simply need to be connected to the motherboard through the proper type of slot on the board. This is usually a PCI or PCIe port and can be simply pushed in, then screwed into place on the case much like a video card or network card.