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Multipurpose computer boards can perform many related functions. There are several types of multipurpose computer boards. Examples include modem cards, fax cards, Ethernet cards, and serial/parallel adapters. An internal modem card is a device which is plugged in to an ISA or PCI slot on a computer and is used to transmit data from one computer to another across a telephone line. A modem card converts digital data to analog data from the sending end through the process of modulation. A modem card at the receiving end then performs demodulation of carrier signals to decode the transmitted information. A fax card is a PC circuit board that is plugged into a computer and enables files to be sent and received on a hard disk by fax. A fax card needs a modem to operate, and is usually built on the same card. An Ethernet card is a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that is connected to a computer as an extension board and provides a standardized way of connecting computers together to create a network. Ethernet cards transfer data between computers over a line, wire, or cable. A serial/parallel adapter enables connection to parallel devices such as printers and to serial devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) through the USB port on the system. Other multipurpose computer boards are commonly available.

Multipurpose computer boards function in a variety of ways. Most modem cards come with plug and play, which automatically detects a new plugged modem whenever Windows is started. Ethernet cards usually support data transfer at a rate of 10 Mbps. It is recommended to use only insulating or non-conducting tools while plugging or installing a multipurpose computer board to ensure safe and secure installation. Ethernet cards support LAN technology, which acts as a fast and inexpensive way to connect computers. Fax cards are available in a variety of analog, BRI, and PRI configurations that are compatible with all 33 MHz and 66 MHz PCI slots. Ethernet cards commonly work at two speeds: 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and 100 Mbps. Most of the 100 Mbps Ethernet cards are switchable between 10 and 100 Mbps. An example of a serial/parallel adapter is the RS-232C Serial /Parallel 1284-C. This serial/parallel adapter supports a standard RS-232C interface using a 25-pin D-shell female connector and a parallel 1284-C compliant interface using a 36-pin D-shell female, bi-directional connector. Multipurpose computer boards are designed and manufactured to meet most industry specifications.

Multipurpose computer boards are utilized in many applications. A modem/fax card allows the transfer of any sort of files between computers. Serial/parallel adapters can be effectively used to connect cellular phones, PDAs, digital cameras, modems, or ISDN terminal adapters through a USB port. Multipurpose computer boards follow the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards.