Killer ExpressCards for 17" MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 2contagious, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. 2contagious macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008

    Now that the new MacBook Pros are out, the 15" is getting closer and closer to the 17" (with the optional hi-res screen update). The one thing that really still separates them is that the 17" model still has an ExpressCard slot, which leaves more room for expansion. I am currently trying to decide whether to go for a 15" or a 17" and I thought I might ask you 17" MBP users: What are good ExpressCards you use/know of that are compatible with the MacBook Pro?
  2. jpefjr macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2008
    The ExpressCard slot and the extra screen real estate are why I'm getting the 17". I'm going to be getting a CF (compact flash) card reader ExpressCard to transfer pics from my camera (1DMkII) and I can see USB 3 ExpressCards coming out for the Mac in the not-too-distant future (next Sunday AD?).
  3. Riemann Zeta macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    The only beneficial one I can think of is an eSATA adaptor.
  4. moonwalk macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
    I use my AT&T broadband Expresscard all the time on my early 2009 15" 2.9 MBP. I'll probably soon get an eSATA card for video editing.

    My buscard slot on my 2003 tibook kept that machine running and expandable for years. When USB 3 comes out, there will surely be an Expresscard.

    I actually got my 15" MBP because it was the last model with the slot. It's a serious omission not to have one on a pro machine, and I hope it comes back.
  5. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    Are there any ExpressCard34 SSDs that fit flush with the MBP case?
  6. moonwalk macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
  7. chopper dave macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2007
    Ditto, and that are not made by some random Asian manufacturer with no support, and barely compatible drivers that cause all kinds of problems when you sleep/hibernate?
  8. Riemann Zeta macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have the last MBP 15" that accepts the cards (Penryn GT8600M model) and I have tried to use it for eSATA before, but all of the cards I have encountered end up having that same piece of sh*t Sil3132 chipset with those crappy drivers / kernel module. It would be nice if there were an eSATA card that fit completely within the machine (just a port, not a big multitap dongle with 6 ports) and didn't require any 3rd-party kernel extensions.

    I have a fast external drive that I use with FW800 (which isn't bad), but eSATA would be better.
  9. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Jan 6, 2007
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    The broadband cards were big a few years ago when carriers did not release USB versions (to prevent desktop use).

    It seems to be that the Express34 standard never delivered on its promises. I do not miss it much.
  10. moonwalk macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
    Sonnet is supposedly coming out with a single port/flush esata card, but I prefer dual port (two drives, raid, etc.) Sonnet is supposedly the best and fastest (true 3 gb/s).
  11. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have both a 48 GB SSD ExpressCard and a eSata ExpressCard for my MacBook Pro Late 2008.

    Both are flush (though not pinpoint flush...SSD has the USB ring stick out just a millimeter or half) and I mostly leave my SSD in there all the time.

    Other than those two and a flush card reader, there's not much else unless you want to add a graphics card or more USB/Firewire ports.
  12. sp3ctre macrumors regular


    Jun 19, 2008
    Harrogate, UK
    I am looking for a CF adapter for the Expresscard slot. I can't (in the UK) find any branded ones, only some cheapo ones on eBay. Is branded batter, and if so where can I buy one?

  13. eddieddu macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2008
    I bought a DIGITUS card recently (see

    With this card I can
    • Boot from
    • Restore a Time Machine backup booting via SL DVD

    So no drivers are needed and it seams to be stable so far.
  14. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    Sonnet Technology makes several excellent ExpressCards.

    Their Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 is the fastest of its kind we have ever tested.

    Ditto for their Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter.

    They also have cards that support USB 2.0, FW800, Multimedia Memory reader (SD card, Memory Stick, etc.), PCIe bus extender, and Gigabit Ethernet.
  15. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    It's not a Tempo Pro, but it should be good enough. I'll probably buy one since the latest MBPs don't have anything better for fast disk access. I'm using a BC338 esata card right now, but it's just too buggy (random kernel panics).

    3gbps is impossible over expresscard because the PCI-e 1x lane is limited to 2.5gbps. The card I linked to above maxes out at 125MB/sec, while the Tempo Pro cards do quite a bit better (up to 200MB/sec), but they are more expensive. $200 isn't worth it for me, for what I will be using it for.

    the eSATA expresscard thread:

    It looks like all the Sonnet cards (or OS X) have compatibility problems with enclosures using the eSATA/USB OXU931DS chipset.
  16. apw100 macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
  17. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    deal on fastest SATA ExpressCard

    Sonnet Technology Online Store is offering 15% off on the 200MB/s Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 that is compatible all MacBook Pros with ExpressCard slot. It's twice as fast as any other SATA ExpressCard for the MBP.

    When you get to the page where you enter your credit card, there is a place to enter the "Specials/Promotion Codes" -- which is "BareFeats" in this case -- good until July 1st, 2010.

    Start here:
  18. Reapur macrumors regular

    May 5, 2010
    I had contacted Apple support to ask about USB 3.0 express cards for the new i5/i7 machines. There is no support built into OSX for USB 3.0, however the biggest issue would have been weather or not if the new machines had Expresscard/34 2.0 which supports 5 gb/s transfer rates. After talking to Apple support they had confirmed that the new i5/i7 17inch MBPs both have the new Expresscard/34 2.0 which would have the throughput necessary for next gen peripherals. So as soon as Apple releases a kernal update for OSX to support USB 3.0 we can then start getting all those nice speedy external drives.
  19. JCCash macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    Check out these cards:
  20. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I have some potential bad news. When testing SSD RAID 0 pairs on the 2010 MBP core i7 using the Sonnet Tempo Pro sata expresscard, the write speeds were slower than the same setup on the 2009 C2D MBP.

    Check out the graph near the end of this article:
  21. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2011
    on the yellow [oled] brick road to tech nirvana.
    14 months later and apple still not releases usb3 drivers for osx- what a joke
    It's obvious apple are vetoing usb3 to stop ppl upgrading to usb3, instead pushing us towards thunderbolt.

    I understand intel has not officially adopted usb3 into their chipsets, and currently there are next to none thunderbolt periph available.

    Apple should give us a firmware update that allows 3rd parties to Market peripherals via usb3
  22. BlaqkAudio macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    It's not Apple's job to write drivers for 3rd party accessories, that's the 3rd party's job.

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