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What is PC Card?

PC card

PC card

PC card is also know an as PCMCIA card that is used to permanently store data. These cards are commonly used on portable computers and other portable devices such as digital cameras. Today, the term PC Card is being used in conjunction with the term PCMCIA to help prevent confusion because of the long acronym and primarily only used in laptop computers.

The PC Card is based on standards published by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA), an industry group organized in 1989 to promote standards for both memory and I/O integrated circuit card.

Originally PC card was defined for both 5 volt and 3.3 volt cards, with 3.3 V cards having a key on the side to prevent them from being inserted fully into a 5 V-only slot. Some cards and some slots operate at both voltages as needed. The original standard was built around an 'enhanced' 16-bit ISA bus platform.

A PC Card has a 68-pin connector that connects into a slot in the PC. There are four types of PC cards.

Type I

Type I PC card feature is a 16-bit interface. They are 3.3 mm thick and feature a dual row of 34 holes (68 in total) along a short edge as a connecting interface. Type-I PC Card devices are used for memory devices such as RAM, flash memory, OTP (One-Time Programmable), and SRAM cards.

Type II

Type-II and above PC Card devices use two rows of 34 sockets, and feature a 16- or 32-bit interface. They are 5.0 mm thick. Type-II cards introduced I/O support, allowing devices to attach an array of peripherals or to provide connectors/slots to interfaces for which the host computer had no built-in support.

Type III

Type-III PC Card devices are 16-bit or 32-bit. These cards are 10.5 mm thick, allowing them to accommodate devices with components that would not fit type I or type II height.

Type IV

Type-IV cards, introduced by Toshiba, have not been officially standardized or sanctioned by the PCMCIA these cards are 16 mm thick.

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