Mobile Computer Hardware
Windows XP offers full support for the PC Card standard, specified by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. PC Card (originally known as PCMCIA card) is the form factor of a peripheral interface designed for laptop computers. It was originally for memory expansion, but the existence of a usable general standard for notebook peripherals led to all manner of devices being made available in this form. Typical devices include network cards, modems and hard disks. PC Cards come in three different types: Type I, Type II and Type III.
- Type I PC cards had a 16-bit interface and were primarily used for adding RAM to a notebook PC. They had a single row of connector pins and are 3.3 mm thick.
- Type II PC cards featured a 16 or 32 bit interface, using two rows of pins. They are 5.0 mm thick and introduced I/O support, allowing PC cards to attach to a range of peripherals or to provide connectors/slots to interfaces the PC/laptop was not designed to support, eg: modems or TV cards.
- Type III PC cards are 16 or 32 bit, using four rows of pins. These cards are 10.5 mm in thickness, allowing them to accommodate larger connectors for peripherals or short cables that allow a large connector to plug into a small card. This enables the use devices with components of the thickness that would not fit type I or type II height, eg: portable disk drives.
Many notebooks used to come with two Type II slots with no barrier in between (allowing two type II cards or one type III card). With the removal of legacy ports, most modern notebooks only feature one Type II card slot.
CardBus cards are PCMCIA 5.0 or later 32-bit PCMCIA cards, introduced in 1995 and present in laptops from late 1997 onward. CardBus is effectively a 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI bus in the PC card form factor. CardBus supports bus mastering, which allows a controller on the bus to talk to other devices or memory without going through the CPU.
ExpressCard is a later specification, intended as a replacement for the PC card. However, as of late 2006 many notebook computers still shipped with PC card capabilities, but newer models are shipping with only ExpressCard slots USB ports. ExpressCard and CardBus sockets are not compatible: CardBus devices do not fit ExpressCard sockets and ExpressCard devices do not fit CardBus sockets.
A record of the actions you have taken to configure mobile computer hardware can contribute towards your logbook for this unit.