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explain in simple terms[edit]

You guys are very brilliant -- but since this is an encyclopedia and not really a user chatboard -- would someone be so kind as to actually explain in simple terms what is the function of an ExpressCard? The only description seems to be that it's superior to a PC card -- but what does a PC card do? Is it like a jump drive? Is it to carry data? Please let the rest of us know... Thanks so much. Dndff (talk) 15:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

connect a 3G PCMCIA card to expresscard slot[edit]

Heres the problem: Need to connect a 3G PCMCIA card to my expresscard slot. Any solutions?

Not that i am aware of, an adaptor could be produced but it would have to contain a PCI express to PCI bridge chip and a cardbus controller, there would also be physical issues (the PCMCIA card would at least have to stick out and may have to sit completely outside, i'm not sure of how the detailed profiles compare). Given the cost of making such a device and the physical issues with using it i doubt anyone would produce one. It looks therefore like you only option would be a 3G expresscard lists some but i don't know which if any of them will be suitable for the 3G network your contry runs. Plugwash 19:02, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Mobility electronics do an expresscard to PCI expansion soloution and you can get pci to cardbus adaptors, still probablly cheaper to get a new 3G modem though. Plugwash 14:56, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Looks like someone has made an adaptor to connect PCMCIA cards to expresscard slots . Plugwash (talk) 01:09, 19 January 2008 (UTC) <--and another one, cheaper but more fragile looking. Plugwash (talk) 01:11, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Anon contribution[edit]

An anon over on WP:AFC requested this be created. As his proposed article has information that seems to be missing, I'm reduplicating it here:

"An ExpressCard is a modular I/O expansion card for laptops and similar portable computing and data procesing devices. Essentially, an ExpressCard is the logical successor to PC Cards (often incorrectly called PCMCIA cards) that have been used in laptops for almost two decades. PC Cards come in two flavors, "16-bit" PC Cards, which are the architectural equivalent of an ISA-standard desktop plug-in card, and "32-bit" PC Cards (also known as "Cardbus" cards) which are the architectural equivalent of a PCI-standard desktop card. Extending this sequence, an "ExpressCard" is the logical and architectural equivalent of a PCI Express card for a portable electronic device such as a laptop.
Physically, an ExpressCard slot in a laptop outwardly resembles a PC Card slot, however ExpressCard slots are not backwards compatible to PC Cards. ExpressCards themselves are the same 5mm thickness as a Type II PC Card, but come in two formats neither of which has the same dimensions as a PC Card. The "ExpressCard/54" format is 54x75mm, however, it has rectangular chunk removed from one corner and thus is not rectangular, but rather has 6 edges. The "ExpressCard/34" form factor is 34x75mm, and looks kind of like a stick of gum (or, from a computer perspective, kind of like the original early Sony "Memory Stick"). Both are clearly recognizable as being different from PC Cards." [] []

--maru (talk) contribs 07:11, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


Do 54 cards fit in 34 slots? What about 34 in 54? --Abdull 08:39, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Added this --Profnick 01:11, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, 34 fit in 54 slots, but not the other way around. The 54 cards are simply wider, but use the same connector. 13:56, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Compared to PC card[edit]

I'd like to see some technical explanation on why these are superior to the PC card. --Yamla 16:12, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I added some info from the ExpressCard Group web site to address your concern. --Profnick 01:11, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, so that's why it reads like an advertorial. Can this please be fixed? (talk) 18:13, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I've created a new image to show the differences between the two architectures, to replace the old, unlicensed one. The new image has been uploaded under a free license (Creative Commons BY-SA-2.5). --Indrek 01:07, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

If it interfaces through USB, it will be anything but superior to Cardbus. USB is a CPU hog and doesn't deliver bandwidth equal to PCI in any way. I would certainly hope that no company would implement ExpressCard thru USB. --Swaaye 21:08, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Expresscard offers two seperate interfaces on the host connector. PCI-Express and USB, it is up to card manufacturers to decide what to use. Some devices even use both at the same time (the belkin docking station linked in this article uses the PCI-e part for video and the usb part for everything else). Plugwash 21:45, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Ahhh, I see what you mean. The port itself offers both PCI Express and USB interfaces. I was interpreting it as the slot would interface through either USB or PCIe, like a Cardbus PCI bridge but to USB instead (ick!), depending on the implementation. --Swaaye 01:11, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Afaict cardbus is pretty much a variant of PCI with some additions for hotplugging and detection of old 16 bit pcmcia cards. Cardbus cards have PCI IDs allocated and often use the same controller chips as thier desktop PCI counterparts (e.g. i have a cardbus nic with an RTL8139 in it). Plugwash 02:05, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah Cardbus is basically 32-bit 33 MHz PCI. It was a huge upgrade from 16-bit PCMCIA. If the cardbus controller is decent, it can perform as well as PCI. However, many notebooks aren't shipping with decent cardbus controllers. I myself had to deal with that in an Emachines notebook a couple of years ago. Creative's Audigy 2 Notebook is very sensitive to such issues and it barely worked in that machine. Works fine in this Dell though, with a better cardbus controller. There have also been tests done by companies building ethernet NICs into cardbus and they have seen performance issues with some cardbus controllers. Hopefully Expresscard will eliminate these penny pinching issues. --Swaaye 18:24, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

5 Volts?[edit]

The voltage claims don't make sense. These cards are said to run on lower voltages. But the USB 2.0 standard requires 5 volts. Is it available on this connector, or not? 14:00, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

I believe this is a reference to the PCI Express option of the interface. The USB side would of course have to have the voltage required by the USB specification, as you said, 5v. --Pcloches 22:14, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Full and low speed USB at least use 3.3V signaling (they use 5V power though). Not sure about high speed. Plugwash 18:55, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


It would be good to have some good external links to lists of what cards are actually available in this format, at least until it becomes more common. 14:00, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps the Where to Buy section of the ExpressCard site fits the bill? Someone want to write up a small section for available cards or should this just go in the references? --Pcloches 22:11, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I've been scouring the 'net looking for an ExpressCard Bluetooth datapter... simple reason? Those darn usb bluetooth dongles all stick out so far that you have to pulg and unplug em every time you store your laptop. An ExpressCard Bluetooth adapter that could just be left in the slot would really make my laptop useage a much better experience. The ExpressCard seems to be bordering on vaporware. You'd think that some company would realize that just adapting a tried-and-true bluetooth chipset to the new format would generate nice profit ... and they'd be the only player for a little while at least. ~sigh~ --DigitalSorceress 13:54, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

UPDATE: well, I did find (hopefully NOT vaporware) a decent USB bluetooth adapter that may solve my initial complaing:: the MoGo Dapter Supposedly to be released June 2007. --DigitalSorceress 14:02, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

I guess noone thinks there is much of a market given that most machines with expresscard slots probablly have built in bluetooth too and USB adaptors while annoying do work :(. If you were feeling brave you could try and make one by hacking together an expresscard and a USB to bluetooth adaptor. Plugwash (talk) 01:03, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

SCSI ExpressCard non-existent?[edit]

I've not seen it mentioned anywhere authoritative (or indeed anywhere else at all), so it can't be added into the article - but there are apparently no ExpressCards providing SCSI interfaces. Adaptec do/did a nice line in PCMCIA SCSI cards, but I've been unable to find an ExpressCard equivalent. This is not good, as I have a pile of external SCSI kit that I like to be able to connect my laptop to. Is there a fundamental technical limitation preventing offering SCSI interfaces, or is it lack of market size? I have a SCSI filmscanner, a SCSI MO drive and a SCSI coffeepot (actually, I'm joking on the last one) that I'd like to be able to connect. (talk) 08:38, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

"Is there a fundamental technical limitation preventing offering SCSI interfaces" <-- no
I'm not aware of expresscard scsi cards but there are adaptors from expresscard to PCI, PCIe and cardbus on the market which you could use in conjunction with a scsi card. Plugwash (talk) 02:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Virtually all laptop machines with ExpressCard slots will have 480Mbit/s USB, and there are USB<==> SCSI adaptors, fast enough to drive all except the very fastest coffeepots. Pol098 (talk) 15:05, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Attached Diagram[edit]

The attached diagram

ExpressCard and CardBus interfaces.

shows that the CardBus card connected through a CardBus controller, while the USB option of the ExpressCard connects directly to the system bus, which is a bit misleading.

Is there even really a CardBus controller? Isn't it just an extension of the PCI bus (or ISA bus on the older PCMCIA cards)?

--Pcloches 22:11, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

From the article itself: "whereas CardBus utilizes an interface controller that only interfaces with PCI". --Indrek 21:17, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Well the usb part certainly doesn't go direct to the system bus and PCIe is a tree structure not a bus, i don't know if the PCIe part of expresscard differs from standard PCIe at all though (obviously it needs to support hotplugging though). Plugwash 03:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The Rabbit[edit]

A picture of ExpressCard's rabbit logo should be on this page. Jigen III 11:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Logo added. Centrepull (talk) 15:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Magma ExpressBox1[edit]


Information about this needs to be somewhere on this page... --Jack Zhang 22:18, 23 September 2007 (UTC)


With the increased speed, Firewire 800 (1394b) and SATA are the most interesting applications. They should be mentioned here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Number of ports?[edit]

Is there just a single USB port per ExpressCard slot? Have any laptops shipped with two ExpressCard slots? Here's an idea I'll toss out for free. ExpressCard 68! Two 34mm wide slots side by side, able to run independently or with the second slot configurable just for additional PCIe data lanes so faster devices can be used when PCIe x1 speed is too slow. Or how about adding a second connector in the 54mm slot that has additional data lanes? ExpressCard 54X! To make that even better, have a loopback feature to the laptop's LCD driver (disabling and bypassing the built in video GPU) so that an upgraded videocard can simply be plugged into the slot, without requiring any external hardware and a separate monitor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bizzybody (talkcontribs) 04:35, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes there is only one USB port on the Slot, but you always can add another (or even more) via the PCIe connection. As for the Graphics there is already MXM, why bother with external solutions ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:54, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Operating System Compatibility[edit]

Because ExpressCards are pieces of hardware, technically they should be compatible with any operating system as long as it supports the ExpressCard, right? I have three specific ExpressCards in mind: one with a built-in card reader, one with a a pci express port, and another one with a broadband modem. Do you think guys think they would work regardless of the computer they are on? (talk) 21:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

ExpressCard is not an ITU-T standard[edit]

There is a sentence in the article that says "This is an open standard by ITU-T definition which can be obtained from the ExpressCard website." This gives the reader the impression that the ExpressCard spec is an ITU-T standard. It isn't. If it was an ITU-T standard, it would be available from the ITU-T web site rather than some other web site. And it wouldn't cost $2500 to buy a copy. -Mulligatawny (talk) 05:12, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Consumer take-up and PCMCIA adapters[edit]

Adding a section about relatively poor consumer take-up of the ExpressCard Standard. Removing the two pictures of ExpressCard into PCMCIA slot adapters - yes they exist, but they have no relevance here. Centrepull (talk) 11:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Limited power[edit]

The available power seems very limited. Please add details about this to the article. USB cards seem to not work very well because they can not pass through enough power. Such cards often offer aux connector for external power supply which is usually not supplied, and inconvenient in any event. This is a surprising limitation for a supposedly more modern connector standard. Seems to be a general problem with USB 2.0 expansion cards, particularly when used with external storage devices (hard drives etc). Is it also a problem for USB 3.0 cards? - (talk) 14:42, 2 June 2010 (UTC)


Going to the linked PCMCIA ExpressCard website yields the message that "the PCMCIA Association has been dissolved and the San Jose office closed. All activities and Standards, including the ExpressCard Standard and PC Card Standard, will be managed going forward by the USB Implementer's Forum." I don't pretend to be knowledgeable enough about these events to edit the entry, but I think it would be good if somebody who can put the situation in context would edit appropriately. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

USB 3.0 on EC 1[edit]

Two times articles states that USB 3.0 cards are for ExpressCard 2.0 only. It is not true. Yes, EC2 have 1xPCIe 2.0 and USB 3.0, instead of just 1xPCIe 1.0 and USB 2.0, but nothing prevents from having PCIe chip providing USB 3.0 ports and speeds. Such card are common both for EC1 (where however it is limited to about 250MB/s from theoretical 400MB/s, maximum of USB 3.0. this is kind of problem if such card have two USB 2.0 ports, which limits their total speed to about 250MB/s from maximal 800MB/s) and EC2 (where it is limited by 500MB/s, which still can be limiting factor if using two USB 3.0 ports in such card - however such EC2 are essentially illogical, as for EC34 it is better to just use internal USB 3.0 port, and for EC54 it is better to have one port using internl USB 3.0 and one additional using 1xPCIe 2.0, which can provide 500MB/s which is sufficient to provide full USB 3.0 speed - 400MB/s). EC1 card commonly uses Renesas Electronics/NEC chips, like µPD720200, µPD720200A, and also µPD720202. All of this 3 chips have 2 USB 3.0 ports, and PCIe 2.0 interface (compatible with PCIe 1.0 and both EC1 and EC2). So actually all 3 can be used in PCIe 2.0 (or 1.0 of course), and is even faster, as can provide up to 500MB/s (still less than 800MB/s for two USB 3.0 port setup). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:25, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

2012 and beyond[edit]

what is the latest on the express card. and express devices. are they still in use, has there been any advances upgrades or are these dyng out. who can say really. I dont't know myself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 27 December 2012 (UTC) it seems that lots of new laptop models are missing expresscard slot and also fw port for example. but there is still so many expencive fw hardware, which users invested into. for me the interesting question is about the performance- do all expresscards provide the full performance for fw or does one have to be cautious about it? (talk) 09:40, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

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