PCMCIA pitches USB 3.0-friendly ExpressCard update
Doubling the bandwidth
The ExpressCard add-in standard for notebooks is to be updated to bring on board compatibility with USB 3.0, the PCMCIA organisation announced at CeBIT this week.
ExpressCard 2.0 will double the data transfer rate between card and host to 5Gb/s - just above USB 3.0's target data speed, 4.7Gb/s. ExpressCard 2.0 will support USB 3.0 - aka SuperSpeed USB - allowing card makers to utilise the bus technology in, for instance, memory card readers so that inserted sticks appear as Mass Storage devices.
Register Hardware has all the details on USB 3.0 and its new interconnects here.
The new ExpressCard version will also bring the standard, currently at release 1.2, into line with the PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 specification now appearing on motherboards and add-ins like graphics cards.
Compatibility with older ExpressCard 1 products will be maintained, the PCMCIA promised.
The organisation said ExpressCard slots can now be found on around 95 per cent of all new laptops. True, but many of them will go unused. Time was when the old PCMCIA slot - later renamed PC Card - was the way laptops got modem, Ethernet and, later, wireless links to the outside world. These days, all that comes built in, making ExpressCard a for more niche technology than its predecessor.
It's not clear when the PCMCIA expects to have the ExpressCard 2.0 spec done and dusted. Presumably, it's waiting on completion of USB 3.0. SuperSpeed is expected to be completed by the end of June 2008.
If you've got 480Mbps on (smaller and less fragile) USB connectivity, why do you need a card slot? You could have an outbound graphics card on USB.
If anything, laptop makers could provide SDIO card support, which has a much smaller form factor.
Only downside of USB3 is that it doesn't have a decent amount of power, I don't think. 20A @ 5v would be much better.
If they do get round to this, I'm really hoping they also provide a way to pipe the video back into the laptops display.
Fujitsu makes a sane choice
All I can say is thank the gods that Fujitsu went with a sane PC Card slot on the p8010. I'd hate for all that high end wifi hardware I've accumulated over the years to go to waste.
Just about the only useful device I've seen in an express card slot is a tv tuner... Don't really need one of those in a laptop though. I really think that I'd go with a USB 3G connection, supposing I lived in an area with anything better than EDGE coverage.
Then again, this sort of thing always happens when you switch standards. I suppose eventually it'll all come out alright.
Also to support FireWire 3,200?
So will they also support FireWire 3,200 which I believe will be out before USB 3.0?
Flame icon for FireWire!
What expansion cards
There are so few express cards around why bother with the slot at all ?
My wifi broke and sadly its a mobo problem i can't afford to get fixed yet, so i thought I'll just get a new N express card from ebay, and yep you guessed it I COULDNT FIND ANY ! the only device available for express card seems to be 3G modems.
Is someone talking to high a licensing fee ? why is noone supporting this format my laptop is 18 months old and you can no longer buy laptops with PCMCIA slots, do i want to buy a PCMCIA adaptor ? NO its gigantic the switch to wonderously fast pci-express is a total crock of crap.