Good Uses For The PCI Slot On A PB

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Earendil, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    I have a 1.25ghz Alum PB, and am wondering what are some intersting uses for my PCI slot. I really have not been following the PCI slot market, what is out there, and what may be coming out soon. I have a digital camera, so I'm considering popping an xD card reader in there. But I don't need it, and before I buy, I'm wondering what other uses people have found for the PCI slot. As far as I know there are no performance enhancing (don't mean to sound like the morning spam...) upgrades for the PB's PCI slot, correct?

    Any future tech on the horizon that takes advantage of the PCI slot?

    Thank you kindly :)
    Tyler
    Earendil

    ps
    6 weeks traveling Costa Rica with my PB, not stolen, and only shut down once!! Uptime 10 days and 24 days. Only shut down because I was going to be on a boat. I Love Apple.

    Edit: spelin' and gramor
     
  2. cpjakes macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2003
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #2
    There are many current uses, although the original ones were mostly wired network/modem cards for laptops. Now, there are card readers and wireless network cards. There are also high quality audio/video cards for the slots, Magma makes a PCI expander so you can hook up PCI cards in an expansion box to it. That's useful for really high end video and audio in a more mobile solution. There are also SCSI, FireWire, and USB cards to extend capabilities as well. The hardest part here is that not all of these PCMCIA devices have Mac drivers. It's a nice feature to have if you need it, a waste of space if you don't, I think.

    cpjakes
     
  3. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    sitting on your shoulder
    #3
    I bought a PCMCIA -> CompactFlash adapter for $11 (there was a $5 too, but I didn't bother with it). Pretty handy, but not with a 16MB card :(
     
  4. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #4
    Ah yes, Well I suppose I know about some of the basic uses for PCI slots, which is why I haven't bothered with them. My PB has USB 2.0, FW 400/800 Ethernet, modem, s-video, 54mbp wireless, blah blah blah. Now audio/Video cards sound nice. Just to clarify, the Audio/video "cards" you speak of are input/output plugs, not actual chips that take the load off the CPU/built in card, correct?

    Now, the PBs only accept type I and II PCI cards if I'm not mistaken. There are also only 3 types of PCI cards? Without looking, I'm going to guess that the really fun and good cards require a slot type III, because my slot for a card is so small, I can't imagine plugging anything as big as video cables into it.

    Cameras brings up another interesting question. What is the throughput on PCI slots? the USB is hella slow at downloading off my 128mb xD card (though it's probably USB 1.1). I would assume that a PCI card would be a lot faster? Any experience there?

    Thanks once again :)
    Tyler
     
  5. 3-22 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    #5
    Not to split hairs but... It's a PCMCIA or PC Card slot not PCI. PCMCIA is pretty slow you would want to use the internal hardware instead of a PCMCIA network card or something.

    PC Card I/II/PCMCIA - 10-33MHz 16 or 32 bits
    PCI - 133MHz and 64 bits

    Unless it comes with a CompactPCI slot? Does it? That would be wild...
     
  6. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #6
    Ok, that makes sense. Because I know a thing or two about PCI slots without actually caring (read, knowing very much). Vaguely in the back of my head I just figured that there were three types of "PCI cards" and that type III was the large one you see in desktop computers, and the one that can actually be used for things like video cards/sound cards/firewire ports. Which is why I was a bit surprised when someone replied saying I COULD put those things in my computer, because the slot is so small.
    Now I see I was asking the wrong question.

    So, What can I do with a "PC Card"/"PSMCIA slot, aside from an aiport card or camera card reader? If nothing interesting now, anyone know of things in the works from various companies?
     
  7. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #7
    Also...

    How does this compare with the 1.2mbp that usb 1.1 is rated at?
    I can't imagine anything being slower than USB 1.1 :D

    Tyler
    Earendil
     
  8. 3-22 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    #8
    No, it's considerably faster then USB 1.1... ;)
     
  9. cpjakes macrumors 6502

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    Aug 15, 2003
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #9
    The PCMCIA cards are not that slow, check out the work with Magma (http://www.mobl.com/expansion/) as I posted earlier. You can run sweet audio setups off of PowerBooks and other laptops with this. You can add four PCI cards to one PCMCIA slot. Most PCI cards don't take advantage of the total bus speed, so there isn't much of a performance loss.
     
  10. 3-22 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    #10
    Not a whole lot really, peripheral integration has really made them generally useless...

    PCMCIA CF Card Readers are handy, but other then that most everything else is built in these days. Perhaps you might need a PCMCIA for some special device (RS232 ports, HP-IB, etc.) or something but then you run into the software driver issues. As for new stuff on the horizon there is a ton of stuff now...

    Check out http://www.pc-card.com/main.cfm
     
  11. cypher macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    #11
    I'm not sure about this but isn't usb 1.1 11-12 mbps??
     
  12. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a

    titaniumducky

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    #12
    Yep, 12 Mbps.

    Would a USB 2.0 PCMCIA Card deliver the full throughput? What about firewire 800?
     
  13. RGunner macrumors 6502a

    RGunner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Midnight Sun
    #13
    Using a.....

    3com Bluetooth in my Wallstreet PCMCIA and VERY happy with it :)
     
  14. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Location:
    Lombard, IL
    #14
    You can add a FW800 card for less than $80 and have two completely seperate FW800 buses and RAID them together for fast i/o. Check out Barefeats--they found that the PCI card version of FW800 as fast or faster than the PB's original bus.

    PCI cards can also be used with Magma expansion chassis to make HUGE systems out of a laptop for ProTools or MOTU system usage.

    They are nice to have because you never know what new technology might surface that someone will make accessible via CardBus.
     
  15. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Location:
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #15
    i believe you would run into limitations at the transfer speed of the CF card before maxing out FW or USB2.
     
  16. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Location:
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #16
    lombard eh?

    my gf lives there.

    completely off topic. :)
     

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