Smaller PC card format debuts

The trade group behind the PC Card has released the standard for the PC Card's successor: A smaller, faster card that goes in a slot that could become as common in desktops as in mobile devices.

That's because the new card--called ExpressCard - is based on USB 2.0 and PCI Express interfaces that will be standard in the coming generation of desktop systems. Today's PC Cards require a PC Card controller, which desktop vendors typically don't bother to install because of the expense and because desktop systems can add all the peripherals they need via USB or PCI.

Aiming at Desktops

The first ExpressCard slots could first appear in desktops about nine months from now, and in notebooks three months later, says Brad Saunders, mobile systems architect for Intel Corp.'s Mobile Platform Group and chair of the PCMCIA Special Interest Group, which is releasing version 1.0 of the ExpressCard standard. ExpressCard peripherals should begin appearing in about the same time frame, he says.

The technology should prove increasingly useful for systems with small form factors as well as notebooks, Saunders says.

"A lot of vendors are seriously looking at trying to minimize the clutter of USB devices," Saunders adds. PC vendors see the ExpressCard "as an uncluttered add-on, and as long as the application fits, they see the value in adding this to a small-form-factor desktop."

A desktop card could prove attractive to those who want to add high-performance peripherals such as TV tuners and video decoders without having to crack open a case to access a PCI slot, Saunders says. ExpressCards could also be useful to people who want to easily transfer such peripherals between desktops and notebooks.

ExpressCard Options

ExpressCards will be available in two sizes: One card is 34 millimeters wide, the other, 54 millimeters wide. Both will be 5 millimeters thick and 75 millimeters long (slightly shorter than today's 54 milimeter-by-5 milimeter-by-86 milimeter PC Cards). The 54 millimeters card has a cutout corner at its plug end, so it narrows to the same 34 millimeters as the smaller card, and both use the same 26-pin connector.

The PCMCIA Special Interest Group had originally planned on just one smaller design, but vendors said they needed more room for certain applications, such as flash memory readers, optical disk drive connectors, and GPS receivers. Saunders says he expects most applications will eventually be able to use the narrower 34 millimeter cards.

Compliance standards are set by the PCMCIA and either the PCI or USB Special Interest Groups, since ExpressCards must be able to connect via one or both of these interfaces. Compliant cards will be allowed to display a new ExpressCard logo, which looks like a cross between a rabbit and a lightning bolt.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Yardena Arar

PC World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?