The PC Card was originally called the PCMCIA card when it was launched in November 1990. It is compatible with the Japanese JEIDA memory card 4.0 standard and supports a 16-bit ISA-compatible data bus. PC Cards may be 5V, 3.3V, or both, and 3.3V cards have a key that prevents them from being plugged into 5V PC Cards slots.
PCMCIA cards were originally memory cards, but as the industry saw the potential of the ISA-compatible bus, version 2 added a great deal more flexibility to the standard. This is when the name PC Card was adopted.
CardBus, introduced in 1995, is a 32-bit expansion of the PC Card standard. CardBus adds bus mastering and operation at up to 33 MHz. CardBus also supports burst mode, which can transfer data at up to 132 MB/sec.
CardBus cards cannot be plugged into PC Card slots, but PC Cards can be plugged into CardBus slots. (CompactFlash memory cards have the same electrical specifications as PC Card, so CF adapters are trivially simple.)
ExpressCard was the next generation of card slot and is completely incompatible with PC Card and CardBus. It is fully compatible with PCIe. Introduced in 2003, ExpressCard/34 was supported on 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro models. Speeds range from 280 Mb/sec. to 3.2 Gb/sec.
PowerBooks with Built-in CardBus Support
These models have one Type II CardBus slot unless otherwise noted.
- WallStreet PowerBook G3 Series I, May 1998, two Type II or one Type III
- PDQ PowerBook G3 Series II, September 1998, two Type II or one Type III
- Lombard PowerBook G3, May 1999
- Pismo PowerBook, February 2000
- Titanium PowerBook G4 family, January 2001
- 17″ PowerBook G4 family, January 2003
- 15″ Aluminum PowerBook G4 family, September 2003
PowerBooks Upgradeable to CardBus
- PowerBook 3400c, February 1997
- PowerBook 2400c, May 1997
- Kanga PowerBook G3, November 1997
PowerBooks Limited to PC Cards
These models have two Type II PC Card slots and also support a single Type III card unless otherwise noted. They cannot be upgraded to CardBus.
- PowerBook 500 series, May 1994 (optional PC Card support)
- PowerBook 190/190cs, August 1995
- PowerBook 5300 series, August 1995
- PowerBook 1400 series, October 1996
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