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Chapter 11. Device Advice: Dealing with ... > Working with PC Card (PCMCIA) Device...

Working with PC Card (PCMCIA) Devices

One of the problems that caused notebooks to be relegated to a lower status on the PC totem pole was their lack of expandability. Desktop systems had all kinds of bus slots and drive bays that intrepid hobbyists and power users could use to augment the capabilities of their systems. Notebook configurations, however, were generally set in stone; what you bought was what you got.

That all changed with the advent of the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) and the standards it developed for notebook expansion boards. These standards let notebook manufacturers add small slots (called sockets) to their machines that would hold credit card–sized expansion modules for memory cards, hard disks, CD-ROMs, modems, network adapters, SCSI controllers, tape backups, and more. PCMCIA cards are also part of the Plug and Play standard, which means you can insert and remove cards while your computer is running (this is called hot-swapping).


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