How to Identify Sound Cards

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According to Microsoft, most desktop computers come with a built-in sound card. Sound cards allow you to play music files, use voice chat software and more. Unfortunately, many first-time computer users don’t know how to locate their sound cards. The good news is that sound card identification is relatively simple. You can find your sound card fairly easily by searching your desktop computer tower, and you can also identify the specific brand and model of the card by utilizing your computer’s pre-installed hardware management program.

Instructions

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  1. Spin around your computer or pull it away from the wall so that you can clearly see the back of the unit.
  2. Look for a series of 1/8-inch circular ports on the back of the PC. These ports will usually be lined up in a row. Almost every sound card has at least three ports, one for the microphone, one for a speaker line-in and one for a line-out. However, some advanced sound cards feature additional 1/8-inch input jacks, 1/4-inch inputs or even XLR and MIDI jacks. The three primary ports will usually contain small icons representing a microphone and two sets of speakers, helping you further identify the sound card. Once you’ve located the three 1/8-inch jacks, you have identified the sound card’s physical location on your computer.
  3. Turn on your computer and log in as usual. After you’ve confirmed the presence of a sound card, you can further identify its system properties using the hardware management software that is included on virtually every personal computer.
  4. Click on the “Start” menu.
  5. Click on the “Control Panel” to open up a new window.
  6. Click on “Hardware and Sound” from the main Control Panel screen. This will bring up a new series of options.
  7. Click on “Device Manager.”
  8. Click “Continue” when a small window pops up to ask you to confirm the operation. If you are not logged in as a system administrator, you may also be prompted for a password. Unless you specifically set up a special administrator password, the password is typically defaulted to the same password used for your primary login. A new window will open containing a listing of your computer’s primary hardware. From this window you can manage your hardware and drivers with the click of a button.

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Click on the small plus sign near the heading labeled “Sound, Video and Game Controllers.” This will open all subheadings underneath this heading. Among the options, you will notice a speaker icon. The manufacturer name and model number following this icon represents your sound card and its associated drivers. You have now successfully identified the exact make and model of your sound card.

If you need to identify even more advanced details about the card, you can right-click on the card and select “Properties” to view additional details.