What’s a PC card and the way does it work? – TechTarget Definition

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What’s a PC card?

A PC card, often known as a PCMCIA card, is a credit score card-sized reminiscence or enter/output (I/O) gadget that matches right into a PC, often a laptop computer. Developed by the Private Pc Reminiscence Card Worldwide Affiliation, a PC card provides peripheral functionality to a laptop computer. On this sense, it’s an growth card.

The PC card is to not be confused with one other credit score card-sized digital card, the good card, which incorporates an embedded microprocessor and reminiscence, and is usually used to authenticate customers for a variety of functions.

Within the Nineties, the PC card added peripheral performance to laptop computer computer systems, just like what plugin boards did for desktops. The cardboard was a plugin module containing a peripheral gadget, reminiscent of a modem, community adapter or storage drive. Though initially developed to be used with many units, together with digital cameras, PC playing cards had been most regularly used with laptop computer computer systems as many had been geared up with ports that accommodated PC playing cards. The port made it doable to improve a laptop computer with out opening the gadget, which was particularly helpful when an inner part stopped working or grew to become out of date.

The PC card was initially constructed round an enhanced 16-bit Business Normal Structure bus platform. It used a 68-pin, dual-row connecting interface and was comparable in dimension to a regular bank card, however barely thicker with extra rounded corners. All PC playing cards had been both 3.3-volt or 5-volt playing cards; the three.3 V playing cards got here with a safety function that prevented use in a 5 V-only port. Nevertheless, some playing cards may work in both 3.3 V or 5 V mode.

The cardboard was primarily based on requirements printed by the PCMCIA, an business group arrange in 1989 to advertise requirements for reminiscence growth playing cards and I/O built-in circuit playing cards. Due to the requirements group’s involvement, it was often known as a PCMCIA card. The PCMCIA Normal 2.1 was printed in 1993 to supply assurance to PC customers that peripheral units that adopted the usual could be suitable with their techniques. The usual was mostly utilized to transportable PCs, but it surely may be used on desktop computer systems.

The PCMCIA customary allowed a most card size of 135.6 millimeters (mm) in order that the PC card may prolong outdoors the host and accommodate cumbersome units reminiscent of batteries, outsized connectors, detachable media, transceivers and antennas that some units required.

Sorts of PC playing cards

Accessible in three sorts, the PC card provided knowledge charges of as much as 40 megabytes per second (MBps). All three variations of the PC card had been comparable in dimension to a bank card — 85.6 mm (3.37 inches) lengthy and 54.0 mm (2.13 inches) vast — though their thickness diverse, giving rise to completely different type components.

Three varieties of PC playing cards providing knowledge charges of as much as 40 MBps had been obtainable.

A Sort I PC card occupied a single PC card slot and was primarily used for RAM or flash reminiscence growth. Sort II playing cards added functionalities reminiscent of modems and community connections that weren’t already constructed into the laptop computer. These playing cards usually got here with a dongle or quick wire with a full-size connector to supply a jack for connecting gear to the gadget.

The Sort I and Sort II playing cards had been mechanically suitable, which suggests a Sort I card would work in a Sort II slot. As well as, each these playing cards may work in a Sort III slot. Nevertheless, Sort III playing cards wouldn’t work in Sort I and II slots since these slots had been meant for thinner playing cards. Additionally, Sort III playing cards may accommodate connectors with out a dongle.

One other sort of PC card, the Sort IV, was not formally acknowledged or standardized by the PCMCIA. It was launched by Toshiba to be used with its pocket book computer systems and different machines. These units featured a nonstandard, outsized slot to suit nonstandard, outsized PC playing cards with a thickness starting from 14.5 mm to 16 mm.

A CableCard is a Sort II PC card that permits U.S. shoppers to view — and file — digital cable tv channels. Roughly the scale of a bank card, it may be used with suitable third-party units reminiscent of PCs, TVs and DVRs to entry TV companies and cable content material.

PC card vs. CardBus and ExpressCard

The PC card was ultimately outmoded by CardBus and ExpressCard, which provided knowledge charges of as much as 132 MBps and 342 MBps, respectively. Right this moment, PC playing cards are not generally used for reminiscence growth, though some transportable computer systems do nonetheless use them for attaching peripheral units reminiscent of community playing cards, modems and onerous disk drives.

PC playing cards have been largely changed by the ExpressCard interface. In contrast to the PC card, the ExpressCard has a USB interface, and each its sorts have a regular thickness of 5 mm and size of 75 mm. Additionally, all modern-day laptop computer capabilities that the PC card interface was initially designed for at the moment are powered by USB units. The PCMCIA itself disbanded in 2009, turning over additional growth of ExpressCard to the USB Implementers Discussion board.

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