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ExpressCard 54 Laptop Add-On Cards

ExpressCard 54 Laptop Add-On Cards

An ExpressCard gives laptop users the freedom to attach peripheral devices and add components that would otherwise need to be added internally. These cards work with many notebook-style PCs and can contain electronic circuits to perform operations as well as include connectors to offer expandability. ExpressCards are used to connect a broad range of devices, and manufacturers use this format to meet consumer need for portability, performance, and more.

What is ExpressCard 54?

ExpressCard is a standard for host devices that support PCI Express, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 devices via a slot. The standard was originated by the PCMCIA and is maintained by the USB Implementers Forum. ExpressCards have two prevalent form factors: 34 and 54 millimeters. The larger slots can accept ExpressCard 34, but 34 slots cannot accommodate 54 cards. ExpressCard 54 can be used to accommodate:

  • USB connectors
  • Solid-state drives
  • PCI Express GPUs
  • Common access cards
  • Mobile broadband modems
Is ExpressCard connected via a port or an adapter?

Either is an option. Many laptop computers have one or more built-in slots. In addition, all PCMCIA devices support connection via an adapter, and there are those available for USB, FireWire, and a host of other standards for which your notebook may have integrated support.

Is ExpressCard the same as CardBus?

No. CardBus is an earlier technology that was designed for PCI and limited to 16-bit and then 32-bit. For a while, laptops were manufactured with support for both, but that was eventually phased out. Note that you can connect an ExpressCard card to a CardBus slot and vice versa through the use of an adapter.

Can ExpressCard be used with a desktop PC too?

Yes. However, this is first and foremost a technology for laptops. That means the average off-the-shelf PC will not have integrated support. You may need to add it via either an internal component or an external reader. Such parts are prevalent, however, since users who have ExpressCard-based SSDs often have the need to sync those drives with their workstations.

How do you connect an ExpressCard?

Prepare the ExpressCard slot. If it has a port cover or similar accessory, remove it. If you are using an adapter, ensure that it is seated properly. Insert the card, then wait for your computer to recognize it. Note that these components are like USB devices in that they can be hot swapped. However, if your PC does not recognize the device, you may need to reboot. If you experience this problem routinely, then you may want to insert the device while the computer is turned off.