Talk:PC Card

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Hello please fix article there is error Capacity 133 MB/s should be "Speed" instead of "Capacity" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:26, 17 April 2011 (UTC)


I had generally understood that PCMCIA originally stood for "Personal Computer Memory Card Industry Association", and was later changed to "International". However, I cannot find a good citation for this. There are still many links on the web that refer to "Industry Association", including hits from Sony, Cisco, Seagate, and others, but none provide definitive source for this. As well, I had not heard the use of "Peripheral Component MicroChannel Interconnect Architecture" before - is there a citation for this being an orignal use? Or is this merely a secondary use (a web search seems to indicate that this is an IBM (the company) specific acronym). I think this needs to be verified. GGG65 23:59, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Originally it was "Personal Computer Memory Card Interface Adapter" and can be seen in old manuals (such as for the Amiga 1200) and even in patents [1]. - (talk) 07:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

MCA Bus[edit]

Please verify this before moving back article

They were originally invented by the IBM in the 1980s, as a portable version of their (at the time) fast MCA bus[dubious ].

I moved the sentence about the cards originating from the MCA bus up to the top so it would be easier to spot as applying to PCMCIA, not ExpressCard (which it was originally under).

Still, does anyone have verification that this is true? Jleq 00:00, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I've been looking into this a little. The PCMCIA standards body makes no mention of IBM or the MCA Bus on their public web site This seems like it would be an important thing to mention if it were in fact a contributing factor in their foundation. I nothing shows up within a week or two I'm going to remove this statement. Phatom87 02:10, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Broken link[edit]

The Pccard standard and Cardbus whitepaper links are broken :(

Deleted. I couldn't acces this. What is it, anyway? -- Merphant


This article was a stub from FOLDOC


Gee, and all this time I though PCMCIA stood for "People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms". You learn something new every day, I guess! ClockworkTroll 05:17, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Xircom XJack[edit]

The Xircom XJack cards were not Type III cards. They were double height type II cards, so while they were as thick as a type III, they used the electrical interface of a type II. Lostchicken 20:46, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Type II and Type III have the same electrical interface. Type III means it is double the thickness of a Type II, so it is correct.
Wasn't it realport that was type 3 anyway, i thought XJack cards were type 2 hight with a pop out socket that could take a normal registered jack connector directly (the registered jack connector would stick out the top and bottom of the socket above and below the card). Plugwash 23:43, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
I think you're right; my full-height RJ45/RJ11 Intel card has "Realport clone" in its docs somewhere... --Kiand 23:47, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Modem, Network and modem/network combo cards with the Xircom X-Jack are Type II. 3-Com/Megahertz also licensed the X-Jack, though initially only outside the USA. I once owned a Megahertz 28.8 X-Jack modem, originally purchased in Scotland. Had an awful time getting 3-Com support in the USA to repair it under warranty, then it took a couple months before they "found" it "tucked away in a corner" somewhere. I figured they shipped it to the UK...

Type IV?[edit]

It seems a Type IV PCMCIA also existed, although I only know of one device that actually implemented the slot.

The ancient ThinkPad Dock II (3546)

I have a Toshiba DeskStation V+ laptop docking station with two Type IV slots side by side. Unfortunately the docking station uses the Toshiba ToPIC 95 CardBus controller, which has compatability issues with a few cards. The ToPIC 97 controller chip (as used in the Tecra 8000 series and other 1997 and later Toshiba laptops) corrected the problems.

ExpressCard pictures?[edit]

Can anyone contribute a picture showing the two types of ExpressCards? -- Bovineone 07:13, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

PCMCIA-to-PCI Adapters[edit]

I've just heard about PCMCIA-to-PCI adapters. I don't know much about that (does devices need specific drivers?, is there Linux support?), but I think this could be an interesting topic for this article. Best regards --surueña 10:42, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't know for sure but I would imagine that they would use the same chips as laptops do and hence would have pretty good compatibiliey. Plugwash 22:38, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
See DIY eGPU experiences - there are commercial and DIY solutions, but that's the central resource! -- (talk) 15:41, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
Moving to [2] -- (talk) 18:06, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
If you want to fit a card into a desktop PC, that exists too - Google ... -- (talk) 15:43, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Time Frame?[edit]

This article makes no mention of when (year) new PC card types were introduced, perhaps this should be worked on. NEMT 04:07, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

More devices, drivers[edit]

Soundcards were made in 16 bit PC Card, in Type I and Type II. I know they were made in Type I because I used one in a Dell Latitude XPi P75D. (Most of them only support Windows through 98 or 98SE due to only having VXD type drivers.)

Fujitsu made a Type 1 soundcard. I don't know the Fujitsu part/model number as it was apparently always OEM'ed. The one I had was sold by Eiger Labs, who put their lables on over Fujitsu's plain black and white lables. I could see through the Eiger lables enough to spot the Fujitsu logo but didn't try to peel them off.

Video capture cards have been made in CardBus, usually Type II.

The Megahertz/3-Com/USR/Xircom X-Jack cards are Type II. The Type III card shown in the article is a Xircom RealPort, looks like it could be an Ethernet card. (Much 'fun' was had getting support for a dead USR 28.8 modem with X-Jack, originally bought in Scotland and brought to the USA before the company started selling USR products here with X-Jack.)

I've seen some older laptops with support for "Type IV" by having the upper slot extend higher than required to fit a Type III.

Quite uncommon are laptops which mount the slots side by side, allowing for at least one Type III card without blocking the second slot. (Toshiba made some laptop docking stations in the late 1990s with two Type III compatable CardBus slots.)

There's no mention of the many PC Card and CardBus adaptors made for desktop computers. Single slot ones (in PC Card for ISA, CardBus for PCI) are still used to adapt laptop wireless network cards for desktops, though dedicated PCI wireless cards are displacing them. Some of them use internal cables to connect to slots which mount in a drive bay. (I have an old ISA one that uses four 40pin ribbon cables to connect to a dual Type III slot dock in a 5.25" bay.)

There's no mention in the article of the complexity of software support for PC Card prior to Windows 95. DOS/Win 3.x required a driver for the controller chip and a 'Card and Socket Services' driver to enable the device drivers to communicate with the controller driver. Then for each device that would be used, either a 'Class Driver' or a 'Point Driver' was required. A Class Driver supported multiple devices of the same type, like memory cards or IDE hard drives. A Point Driver supported one specific device and a seperate Point Driver had to be loaded at boot for each device.

The drivers were not dynamically loaded and unloaded, they took up memory all the time. It wasn't practical for a user to have more than 3 or 4 devices to swap without creating a custom boot menu to choose which PC Card driver(s) to load for that session.

The complexity was to make it easier to write Class or Point drivers. The controller driver and Card and Socket Services were developed to create a uniform API on all PC compatable systems.

Windows 95 introduced dynamic driver handling where any number of PC Card devices could be inserted and drivers installed, then only loaded into memory as required, then unloaded when the user stopped the device. Ejecting the device without stopping it usually worked OK, but was (still is) not recommended for file storage devices with write access.

Not long after the release of Windows 95, PC Card chip makers ceased development of the DOS drivers, so it's not possible to get the PC Card slots to work with Windows 3.x on most laptops made from late 1995 on.


What about to inform here something about ExpressCards? It's going to replace PCCards, right? I just bought a new notebook with this connector. The same size of my old PCMCIA, what confuses the end user. I was thinking that I was with something inside the notebook blocking my card. Then I looked inside and I could see something totally different. I went to the Internet and I could see that's actually a expressCard slot, which is different. Here, at Wikipedia, in this session about PCCard, I could not see a reference to ExpressCards. I'm not comfortable to write about it. So... here is a tip for people involved on this topic.

I expanded the section about non-compatibility with ExpressCard (and added the CardBay section as I needed to refer to it). I also removed the quote 'According to Tony Pierce of PCI-SIG, "PCI slots are going to be around for many, many years, there's a lot of investment in those cards."' as it has nothing to do with PCMCIA, PC Card, CardBus or ExpressCard - it is a quote about PCI vs. PCI Express. --Dermot Smith 11:03, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The change to my text by Plugwash missed my point, I think. ExpressCard products that contain USB technology within them do not have a USB connector, so an ExpressCard containing USB technology within could not be used with a PCMCIA to USB2 host adaptor card. They require a physical format adaptor to allow the ExpressCard to be fitted into a PCMCIA (actually CardBus) slot. Even then, the CardBus slot must be CardBay compliant. So I am removing the addition made to my text. --Dermot Smith 09:45, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
An adaptor to support expresscard cards that only used USB in non cardbay slots *COULD* be made by using a USB2.0 host controller chip. Indeed i see no reason why an adaptor couldn't be made to support full expresscard in a cardbus slot (use a PCI-PCI bridge chip and on the bus behind it use a PCI-PCIe bridge chip and a USB controller chip. Plugwash 22:44, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
An adaptor going the other way would also be easilly possible using a PCI to PCI-Express bridge chip and a cardbus controller chip though the PCMCIA card would stick out of the expresscard slot. Plugwash 00:59, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Typo correction[edit]

The typo correction by Hydrargyrum (unusually -> unusual) may be a matter of American versus British English! It doesn't sound right to my ear now. So I will reorder the sentence to avoid the issue. --Dermot Smith 09:51, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


I moved the "expand" tag from the article to the talk page. What part of "This template may be found on the article's talk page" do you not understand? xompanthy 18:43, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

PCMCIA (Association)[edit]

I think that good idea is creating an article about PCMCIA (Association) instead of redirecting to PC Card. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Silkmann (talkcontribs) 12:41, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

In addition, an article on the PCMCIA port as distinct from the cards used in it might be useful - various Amigas in the early 1990s used the PCMCIA port for a range of expansions other than cards, such as hard disks and CD drives. --Safalra 16:39, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

maru (talk) contribs 04:27, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

maru (talk) contribs 04:27, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


The present article appears to be three or four articles in really bad English mashed together. I've attempted a rewrite. Please re-add any important glossed-over detail - David Gerard 15:11, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Oh, and the thick card in the pic is definitely Type II - I took the picture :-) - David Gerard 15:36, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Type II and Type III were electrically identical including the interface. The only thing that differentiated them was the physical change in space that the card took which allowed for spinning drives or in the case of the RealPort actual ports instead of a dongle. As a result, the thicker card will fit in a double height Type II slot, or in a single Type III.Rjhawkin (talk) 19:17, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

In my Cisco college notes they told us that the profile of cardbus and PCMCIA are different and we had to identify them by shape. I don't have either to look at here and I can't remember the differences but a photo of both might be instructive. Secretlondon 14:43, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

If only one of us had a digital camera with a tripod and some of the relevant cards ... - David Gerard 15:35, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Hot Plugging?[edit]

No mention of hot-plugging? They support it, don't they? Did all types support hot-plugging? MrG (03 DEC 06) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:09, 3 December 2006 (UTC).

-- Hot plugging and the availability of same is implemented on the Host side though both architecture and the Card Services software loaded under your operating system, not the card itself. Rjhawkin (talk) 21:51, 15 January 2011 (UTC)


"All are 85.6 mm long"

Yeah? Except for the ones that aren't! ;) WiFi, USB and 1394 cards with attached antennas or extentions to house standard port connectors while still keeping the rest of the card thin enough to fit the Type II size are pretty common.

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved -- enochlau (talk) 10:24, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

PC cardPC Card — The right name as used in official documents [3] [4]. Armando82 14:06, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Oppose - it's being used as a proper name mostly there. Other official documents have the correct spelling when it's not in an all capitalized setting: [5] [6].
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move 2[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Links provided are not official links. The only serious reference is the official site Here you can read: "Please note that the PC Card Standard is closed to further development" and this is not an all capitalized setting. Armando82 12:24, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


Add  # '''Support'''  or  # '''Oppose'''  on a new line in the appropriate section followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~. Please remember that this survey is not a vote, and please provide an explanation for your recommendation.

Survey - in support of the move[edit]

  1. Support PC cardPC Card — The right name as used in official documents [7] [8]. Armando82 14:06, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support PC Card is a proper name. defines it, maintains the specification, and has a compliance program for developers. They capitalize it in straight text, meaning they consider it a proper name. If this isn't capitalized then neither should Peripheral Component Interface or Universal Serial Bus. SchmuckyTheCat 16:34, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support PC Card is the name as used by the PCMCIA (seen repeatedly in the links provided by Armando82) and is overwhelmingly the common usage. The singular "oppose" to the original request cites a manufacturer and a vendor (a vendor that uses "PC Card", actually), neither of which are that compelling anyway. — Aluvus t/c 02:34, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in opposition to the move[edit]

  • Oppose - same reasoning as above. That is absolutely an all capital setting - the PC Card Standard is a proper name (unless you propose that the word standard is always capitalized in English). Moreover, I'm not exactly sure how you can say that there's only one "official" site on the matter, given that there is no trademark on the pccard - it is an industry wide standard. That makes it very clear that by the WP:MOS we should be using the lowercase letter. Or how can you prove the name "PC C/card" is a proper name and only used in such a setting? Part Deux 16:26, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - The PCMCIA is most certainly the one official source on the standard. They are the industry body that maintains the standard, and they are the people you talk to if you would like to license all of the appropriate intellectual property. It is no coincidence that the article provides several links to the PCMCIA website. One would not trademark a standard, as it is ineligible, though a quick look at the USPTO site indicates the PCMCIA does in fact hold a trademark on the PC Card logo. — Aluvus t/c 02:25, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Mild oppose. The case cited by proponent of "PC Card Standard" is a title of a standard, with the "S" capitalized too of course, so that is of no utility whatsoever in determining whether or not the "C" should be capitalized. Gene Nygaard 15:45, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved.--Stemonitis 17:07, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

PC Card name again[edit]

OK, so I should have checked the discussion first, but I went ahead and fixed a lot of this confusion. The reliable sources (e.g. these books, with the exception of the "Complete Idiot's" guide) all indicate the PC Card is that successor name for PCMCIA, not that PC card is a generic term for a PCMCIA card. I think they blew in choosing a term that sounds so generic, but it's what they did. We ought to base the article on reliable sources, so does anyone have a source that says it should be the other way? Dicklyon 19:03, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Requested move to PC Card, third try[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

PC cardPC Card — because that's the proper name, according to all the official materials of the PCMCIA, and because it looks like there was a consensus last time, which didn't get acted on. —Dicklyon 18:30, 24 May 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support move to PC Card because that's the official name from the PCMCIA. Dicklyon 18:33, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. --PEJL 22:43, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Support per nom, and my previous comment SchmuckyTheCat
  • Support per previous discussion. — Aluvus t/c 01:31, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Support as the official name. I don't see why this one took multiple tries. Oren0 05:00, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Support move to PC Card as that's how the name is presented consistently on Letdorf 10:26, 29 May 2007 (UTC).
  • Support per official spec. --Cheers, Komdori 01:38, 30 May 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

The discussions above had only one serious oppose, and it appears to have been well answered. It looks to me like there was a consensus to move to the official name "PC Card". So, try again? Dicklyon 18:33, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Overwhelming evidence in reliable sources (books) may be seen here. – Dicklyon 18:44, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

This article has been renamed from PC card to PC Card as the result of a move request. --Stemonitis 08:44, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Execute in Place[edit]

or XIP. Was it not a notable feature of PC Card architecture? I don't see anything here about it. 16:07, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Linkify it with Linear Flash and Execute in place. Alecv 06:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes ... or at least, it was possible. Used, for example, with SRAM cards, which allowed memory expansion of laser printers and certain early-mid 90s computers. EG a 2mb SRAM card plugged into the side of an Amiga 600 functions as an instant "fast RAM" upgrade, and I remember a 4 or 8mb one being mulled as a potential upgrade for a corporate laptop my mother used when its existing onboard memory proved insufficient for the demands of Windows 95 (expensive, yes, but at the time not actually massively so vs mini SIMMs ... the gap has widened somewhat, since...). Acting as main system RAM, and indeed a faster alternative to it in some cases, certainly spells XIP to me. (talk) 09:57, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

help me find a better ref for PCMCIA Express adapters[edit]

The article says there are no general-purpose PCMCIA-Express adapters, which I think is wrong. Without deleting the article's original sentence, I wrote another one underneath noting that there now seem to exist such adapters, and for references I put a Google search and the first result which points to an actual adapter from a shop (both of which are bad references but do their basic job of proving that the existence of said adapters). I have no much time now and I hope someone with more free time can step in to help find a better reference. NerdyNSK 15:09, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about references but adaptors both ways certainly seem possible. After all cardbus is basically PCI and you can get bridge chips between PCI and PCIe in both directions and you can get PCI usb controller chips. As you have linked there now seem to be adaptors that connect to the laptops expresscard slot and support a cardbus card and adaptors that connect to a laptops PCMCIA slot and support a USB based expresscard. But there don't seem to be any that connect to a cardbus slot and support expresscards that require PCIe. Plugwash (talk)

Card Information Structure[edit]

A CIS describes the card on which it resides. For the PCMCIA bus and the Cardbus what is analogous to the PCI Configuration Space? Perhaps this can be mentioned somewhere in the article. Can a Web page with details of the CIS and of the bus be cited in the references? Expansion of this section seems appropriate. Thanks, PeterEasthope (talk) 16:05, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Type 1 memory cards - limited to 16 mb maximum capacity?[edit]

Are PCMCIA type 1 memory cards (3.3 mm thickness) limited to a maximum size of 16 mb? I don't think I've seen any that are larger.

Also, do these cards normally have an internal battery? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:59, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

-- Type I's don't have an internal battery. I've seen both ROM and Fast Page RAM. I have devices which use both. No, they are not limited to 16MB. I have a system with 32MB on-board, and two 32MB upgrade cards for a total of 96MB. It is an IBM PowerSeries ThinkPad (7249-851) with a 100mhz Motorola PowerPC 603e processor running AIX 4.2.1. New price in 1995 was about $12,000.00 though.

The Type I ROM is in an old IBM 3151 Dumb (TTY) Terminal. The card provides support for different terminal emulation, but the storage of the user settings was in the terminal, not the card. If you unplugged the card or the terminal, settings would reset to the default. Yes, both devices still work.Rjhawkin (talk) 21:47, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

I wonder how that works, then, given that the 16-bit ones essentially emulate an ISA bus ... which is itself intrinsically limited to a 24-bit address width (= 16MB space)? Does it take advantage of the 16-bit data bus to address by word instead of by byte or something like that, and treat the presented address as a 25-bit byte-address value with the LSB always set to "0"? Or is it more simple bank switching ... or even one physical device presenting itself as two separate logical 16MB memory expansions (with the Thinkpad presumably being 32-bit internally, so it has one 32MB and four 16MB banks for that 96MB total)? After all, there's far less of an issue of filling up all the available, logical ISA slots, even with such combi devices, vs the far more common problems faced inside an all-ISA (or even ISA/{VLB, MCA, PCI}) desktop machine. (talk) 10:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Xircom RealPort actually cardbus.[edit]

From what it says in the article, I would inder stand taht in the photo "Two PC Card devices: Xircom RealPort (top) type III and 3Com (bottom) type II.", the top card is actually a CardBus type. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Summary Cleanup[edit]

The 'summary' section is rather poor. I would have fixed it, but I am not sure what the author is/was trying to convey beyond what is already in the different page sections. My gut feeling is to just delete that section and perhaps expand the sidebar instead to indicate different versions, names, and bus sizes, but someone else might have a better idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Odd lack of certain details...[edit]

OK, we're missing some things here ... e.g. physical dimensions (there's some bare mention of thickness, but that's it). And the clock speed / transfer rate of 16-bit cards (all that's mentioned is the 32-bit speeds, and in the summary only the maximum is shown). Weirder still, I could have sworn I'd seen both of those on here before, and they've since vanished. The info should be fairly easy to source, include and cite, surely? (talk) 10:05, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


and harddisks [suggestions: hard disks]
LAN, harddisk [suggestions: hard disk]
usage of transitional phrases is below average.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 6 October 2014 (UTC) 

Removal of "first flash memory card" claim[edit]

For explanation of this edit, please see the discussion here. Jeh (talk) 09:56, 11 November 2015 (UTC)