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The PC (PCMCIA) Card

The PC card, technically called the PCMCIA Card because it was developed by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, is a form factor of a peripheral interface designed for laptop computers.

PCMCIA or PC card

It was originally designed for computer memory expansion, but it became a standard for other notebook computer peripherals including network cards, modems, hard disks, and digital cameras.

A PCMCIA Card is 85.6 mm long by 54 mm wide but come in three different types, each with a different thickness.

TypeInterfaceThickness
I16-bit3.3 mm
I16-bit or 32-bit5.0 mm
III16-bit or 32-bit 10.5 mm

There was also a Type-IV card released by Toshiba that is not an official PCMCIA standard, that is 16 mm thick.

The original standard was defined for both 5 volt and 3.3 volt cards. The 3.3 V cards have a key on the side to prevent them from being inserted fully into a 5 V-only slot.

Today PCMCIA card is a legacy interface, as devices that used PCMCIA now use the USB interface.

More Computer Anatomy Articles:
• Hard Drives - ATA versus SATA
• Understanding Your Motherboard
• How is Data Written, Stored On, and Erased From Hard Disks?
• Motherboard Basics
• Power Supply Form Factors
• Five Types of HDMI Cables
• The Computers Back Connector Panel
• Understanding the Software Layers of a Computer
• Digital Video Interface (DVI)
• The Master Boot Record (MBR)

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