n. (context computer hardware English) A computer hardware device used for generating and capturing sounds.
A sound card (also known as an audio card) is an internal computer expansion card that facilitates economical input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under control of computer programs. The term sound card is also applied to external audio interfaces that use software to generate sound, as opposed to using hardware inside the PC. Typical uses of sound cards include providing the audio component for multimedia applications such as music composition, editing video or audio, presentation, education and entertainment (games) and video projection.
Sound functionality can also be integrated onto the motherboard, using components similar to plug-in cards. The best plug-in cards, which use better and more expensive components, can achieve higher quality than integrated sound. The integrated sound system is often still referred to as a "sound card". Sound processing hardware is also present on modern video cards with HDMI to output sound along with the video using that connector; previously they used a SPDIF connection to the motherboard or sound card.