ExpressCard slot uses?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by WAM2, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. WAM2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2011
    United States
    Soooo, whats the express card slot for? Lol, is it like the card slot on PC's?

    If so what are some good devices for it?
  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    I was the biggest advocate of the ExpressCard back in the day of the 15" non-unibody macbook pro but honestly even as I sit here in the 2011 w/ my 17" Unibody MBP (the last machine with the express card slot) I sort of sit here asking myself the same question.

    Thunderbolt largely negates its usability. Cost and compatibility was a factor in the lack of Ex34 devices. User Timur has done an excellent job of chronicling his epic story in attempts to get Apple to help him with his clearly faulty MBP (by design, I suppose) but to no avail.

    As far as what devices are actually available well..there are plenty:
    flash storage (my usage)
    full fledge pci interfaces (read: $$$) (i.e. magmabox)
    tv tuners
    toothpick storage
    Usb 3.0 adapters
    firewire adapters

    but as mentioned, driver compatibility limits these choices on mac. Thunderbolt could take it over and wholly eliminate it.
  3. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    I would not say "no avail" since in the end I bought a Macbook Pro 15" 2008 and got a MBP 17" 2009, MBP 17" 2010 and finally MBP 17" 2011. I took a long time of fighting and only got "solved" once an Apple store opened in my neighborhood where I could put the frozen to death Mac right onto the counter.

    Out of these the MBP 17" 2010 solved the most important issue of data corruption that happened even if you didn't touch the Mac. I got the 2011 one because of NVidia graphic issues with 30" displays that were only fixed by the change to ATI in 2011. I had to carry my 30" screen into the store to demonstrate the issues. Phone support in both Europe and the US are no help with such complex things (US is less expensive to call from Germany btw).

    That being said, even the 2011 MBP still suffer from grounding/electrical issues that will lead to temporary or permanent stalling of eSATA communication up to a point where the whole Mac can freeze. This happens when you connect any powered (as in: brings it's own grounding) external device, like a powered USB hub/drive or external screen *while* transferring data over eSATA (and probably FW) ExpressCards. It doesn't matter whether you are using the 2-prong or 3-prong power-plug of the MBP.

    The sad thing about this story is not that the issues happen, but that within nearly 3 years Apple support/QA system did not manage to deal with it. Even though I can reproducible demonstrate the freezing and communication breakups to an Apple Genius there doesn't seem to be any way for this Genius to get his information directly to Apple HQ.

    Thunderbolt is meant to replace ExpressCard in the long run, and there will be TB->ExpressCard/34 adapters. But the cable alone costs 50 EUR (electronics in the cable!) and I know from a reliable source that some of the already announced adapters will not come before the 2nd generation of TB chipsets are out (likely due to costs). So don't put your hopes up for a quick solution.
  4. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
  5. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
  6. tears2040 macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010

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