Express card 34 slot in MacBook Pro 17

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by greenville, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. greenville macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Purchasing a MacBook Pro 17 soon and wondered what you guys are using this slot for? Since I take a lot of pictures with a camera that uses a secure digital card, I was going to get an adapter to go there to be able to transfer the cards photos. I was also wondering if a usb 3.0 adapter might be able to be used to hook to an external wd hard drive that will do usb 3.0 and have faster transfers between the hd and the mbp? Any other uses the express card slot might give that would add utility to the machine? Thanks for your thoughts.
  2. lifeinhd macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    You could get an eSata card, but you'd probably be better off getting the USB 3 card you mentioned.
  3. greenville thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Anyone know of a usb 3.0 card that would work with the MacBook? I have been looking on Amazon and it appears that they all only work with Windows.
  4. nunes013 macrumors 65816


    May 24, 2010
  5. greenville thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Thanks, that one advertises that it works with both windows & mac. I did see a post that someone who had one said it would not work with Lion. Anyone have any more info on that. Also, anyone else using the express card slot for anything else? Wondering if in "real world use" if it has any real utility except for being a digital card reader slot.
  6. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011

    First I would like to say that since USB 3.0 is not officially supported by Apple, any USB 3.0 adapters you may buy will rely on a driver from the manufacturer. In LaCie's case, this means the adapter will ONLY work with LaCie external hard drives. And since nothing beyond storage devices are supported by the various USB 3.0 drivers for Mac, it makes the interface only a complicated but theoretically faster eSATA. So, if you're looking for an external storage solution, I highly recommend an eSATA adapter. Steer away from USB 3.0 on the Mac.

    Second is that I use the ExpressCard slot on my MacBook Pro for video capture. A product by MOTU called the HD Express ( allows me to capture content from HDMI, component video or composite video / S-Video sources, making it a handy little box to capture just about anything. This product works only with Final Cut Pro 7 however, and is clearly geared towards the professional Mac user (I personally use it for less advanced setups, like capturing the output of my gaming console). For $500 USD it's certainly a cheap option compared to other HDMI capture cards, and all this through the ExpressCard is certainly amazing.

    Other uses for ExpressCard: if you're a video professional, some Sony XDCAM camcorders use SxS storage cards, which can be read directly with an ExpressCard slot. Photo enthusiasts will be delighted to have a CompactFlash to ExpressCard adapter at their disposal, music producers will be just home with professional audio products like ECHO Indigo IOx (a professional sound card with a single input and output). SSD cards in ExpressCard form are also available from manufacturers like Transcend.

    There are many uses for ExpressCard, however beyond typical use (such as a card reader or 3G modem), you will find that most products are in the professional range and as such demand a premium price, too. For the professionals themselves these products will come very handy, and most are reasonably priced (like the MOTU HD Express I own).

  7. moworks2 macrumors member

    May 3, 2007
    I use mine to attach an external enclosure (Burly) with five hard drives...backup duty mostly, part of one disk used as scratch for computer is a 2008 15" model that still had the express34 slot in 'em...
  8. greenville thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
  9. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2011
    on the yellow [oled] brick road to tech nirvana.
    Sonnet also have released a mac USB-3 expresscard 34
    this expresscard is not limited to sonnet external HDD only -

    see this thread
  10. flexiones macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    Hello, i would to know if you are allowed to capture hdmi video just with the expresscard 34 adapter.
  11. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011

    Since this is an old thread, let me quickly clarify a few of the things that have changed in case someone reads through and mistakens the information provided as current information.

    A lot has changed in the past few years, notaby Apple now supports USB 3.0 natively without requiring special drivers or setup. Additionally, as ExpressCard faded away with the discontinuation of the MacBook Pro 17", we now have Thunderbolt (and soon Thunderbolt 2) which can carry out all of the functions provided by the legacy ExpressCard slot. (In fact, Sonnet and some other manufacturers are selling ExpressCard to Thunderbolt adapters for your legacy devices.)

    With these changes a lot of other possibilities have come up for carrying out special tasks such as recording from HDMI sources using low-cost devices. In this regard, the Elgato Game Capture HD is a very nice, affordable, and useful solution that works using USB 2.0: Although it is not a professional solution, HDMI is digital and will therefore look just as good when recorded through the Elgato or a MOTU. For a professional solution with 10-bit HDMI capture, Blackmagic Design offers a nice range of Apple-compatible products starting from $199 for their Intensity Shuttle with USB 3.0. There's a Thunderbolt variant as well.

    All of these products surpass the capabilities of the MOTU HD Express in my opinion so if possible, look into them. As for your question, no, it is not possible to capture from HDMI using just the ExpressCard interface of the HD Express. It merely acts as an external PCIe to ExpressCard adapter, but uses an HDMI connection for cabling. Don't be confused, it's not HDMI. If you currently own the HD Express, know that MOTU is working on a Thunderbolt interface to support recent Apple products. If you don't own the HD Express, but you have a MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard slot, my recommendation is to just buy the Elgato Game Capture HD, as it uses USB 2.0 and is far less complicated than the MOTU.

    I hope this helps.
    ~ Yousif
  12. Marche macrumors newbie


    May 8, 2014
    wish this site had a wiki of all discovered known-compatible Ec34 devides

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