Why is the ExpressCard only on the 17? :(

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Luba, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Just reading about all the things you could do with the ExpressCard. I feel 17 is too big, so will probably get the 15 but also feel I am missing out on all the potential uses with the ExpressCard. Not that I have any in mind right now, except perhaps using eSATA, which is faster than FW800.

    Apple took the ExpressCard away last year on the 15, but previously it was there. Doesn't seem to make sense for them to take it away?? They put back FW on the 13, why not put back ExpressCard on the 15?
  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  3. moonwalk macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
  4. jpefjr macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2008
    To get people like me to buy the 17" instead of the 15". ;)
  5. Linkzi macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2010
    It's because they changed all of the "pro" models (except the 17") to "consumer" models to sell more computers. There are far more consumer buyers than Professionals that make their living using a computer.
  6. Luba thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    I do video editing, but I must say I am more consumer than pro. :) What cool features would I be missing out on by not getting the 17 with ExpressCard? I like how I could use an eSATA external HD, but could live with FW800 speed. I think using ExpressCard I could access 3G internet via a AT&T etc. faster?? Any other benefits I am missing out on?

  7. Linkzi macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2010
    Do a Google search and you will find many express cards available. You will be far more versatile with the slot. Memory card readers will be faster than using a USB connection (I use CF cards so the SD card slot is useless for me). I also use a scratch disk so converting to ProRes422 over esata saves much more time. Coming from a Late2008 15" unibody with express card; I would prefer the 15"HR, but the new MBPs minus the express card slot, I'll have to get use to carrying around the 17". Could be a blessing because I didn't care for the smaller resolution on the prior 15" macs.
  8. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    Video editors like esata for its seriously fast data transfer rate. An express card esata interface is the answer for those folks!

    I've been doing single video/audio stream editing though USB2 and haven't needed to go the esata route yet. Next step up would be FW800 which is twice as fast as USB2. So the short answer is that for non-pro video editing you should be just fine with USB2 or FW800. MULTIPLE video streams would likely be an issue. My early 2009 15" MBP has the express card slot and that's one of the reasons I bought it. Turned out that I haven't "needed" it yet for my FCP projects.

    You DON'T need an express card 'whatever' interface for 3G!
  9. markp9114 macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2009
    anyone have recommendations for an expresscard SSD compatible with the MBP?

    saw this when I did a google search, but didn't find much info about it.
  10. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    You answer the question in the second part with the statement in the first part. Apple explicitly addressed it when introduced the laptops last year. Apple said their marketing info was that there was less than 1% of the users using the slot. In other words, the vast majority of folks never leave that initial state you stated you were in. "maybe I'll use it" or "it nice to have because eventually" or "it makes it more future proof" or etc. etc. etc.

    ExpressCard's come in two flavors. Cards which are really just USB connections and those that utilize the PCIe bus. Again in broad range of situations where the card is really a USB card with a funky connector you can find a mainstream USB equivalent. ( Unless had maxed out the USB and/or firewire bus the other sockets also provide solutions. ). Similarly, for stuff like CF cards there are FW solutions with similar speeds. (only a problem is doing saturated I/O on multiple fronts. )

    The physical socket for the ExpressCard also takes up more internal room and more complicated connection ( since have to hook it into two different buses). For the cards with PCIe interfaces need drivers which leads to support complexities. So the slot is not a top 10 on the design priority list.

    Usually there is a wave of folks saying "well I use a XXX card" so there much be thousands of users. The problem is that is not normalized over the number of MBP sold. If 40,000 express card users and 3,000,000 units then that is slightly over 1%, but be for real. That means 98.7% of the users aren't using it.

    Additionally, Apple said was that there was a higher percentage of folks who made a disproportionate share of impact up in the 17" class of machines. For example if, 20,000 ECard users and 300,000 17" units then up in the 6% range. Still not in the double digits but snagged a significantly higher percentage of the usage. Additionally, there is significantly more room in the 17" so not a matter of squeezing something else out. That number would only get higher if more of the 40,000 "move up" to the 17" over time. Once 10% or 25% of 17" users are using ExpressCard then as long as 17" stays around much easier to use this platform to deliver on.

    Lots of folks claim that Apple can't count and their knowledge of what people have installed in their computers is much deeper and pervasive than Apple's. I have yet to find any of those accounts very creditable.

    Post widespread USB 3.0 deployment, ExpressCard is likely doomed to legacy equipment anyway. It is a "dead slot walking" format. There are going to be devices sold, but the units sold are going to go down hill going for here forward. USB 3.0 has practically the same bandwidth profile with default plug-n-play support in the standard.

    In contrast, the vast majority of MBP owners own a SD card. Whether buried in a cellphone or camera the coverage rate of who could use a SD slot is significantly higher. It is focused on what people already have, not on what they "could buy maybe in the future". That's the key difference.

    Likewise, Apple's rationale on dumping FW from 13 was flawed; new camera have USB connectors. The number of new cameras with FW is dropping ( USB is pervasive and at this year's CES 2010 almost exclusive even in Prosumer HD camcorders). However, the number of deployed and in use cameras with FW is still huge. Likewise completely overlooks the number of FW hard drives deployed in the mac market also (and how much USB 2.0 sucks relative to FW800 in real bandwidth). FW is even more present on Windows PC hardware now than ever before although stuck at 400. It was premature and short sighted to drop FW while still significantly utilized.

    The stated rationale is illustrative of what drives Apple. If a slot/connector is "obsolete" and there is a new substitute then Apple will dump it rather than carrying it several generations. ExpressCard is a bit premature in getting dumped. Squeezed out more so because other elements in the MBP 13" and 15" had higher priority on space in addtion to be "more problematical" than alternatives.
  12. tommyknockrs macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    Yeah, it would have been nice to see the Expresscard in the 15" model. I guess they feel that it's not practical to change the body design of the 15" Macbook pro(from last year) to add an expresscard, since the new battery pretty much takes up the whole depth of the enclosure and are waiting for USB 3.0 to be widely adopted. People were complaining that there was no USB 3.0, but I think that's mainly a cost issue and more of the fact that Intel is not quickly adopting it. Maybe they are waiting for Expresscard 2.0 to become main stream, who knows.

    Plus 4G is still early in it's technology. Isn't 3G bandwith lower than the capable bandwidth of USB 2.0? Once 4G or WiMax is normal, Apple will definitely need a higher bandwidth peripheral interface. So I think wanting an expresscard just for mobile internet is just silly. Don't you have to take the card out anyways if put the macbook in the bag because the antenna sticks up and the card sticks out?

    But the Expresscard is nice due to the fact that you can keep some accessories inside a machine and deal with less cables or even no cables with an Expresscard SSD or a flush single connector eSATA card.

    For those people that carry lots of video equipment and edit in the field or have production trucks, is the 1 extra inch and the extra 1 pound that much more of a pain? Laptop bags that fit 17" laptops is pretty normal these days. Now there are even 18" laptops. I think "pros" who carry a lot of equipment and have use for an expresscard shouldn't have a problem with a 17" macbook pro.

    So I guess it depends on what's more important.
    Being able to plug in different accessories or having as much battery life as possible.
  13. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I prefer the 15" form factor as do most MBP buyers. I have purchased the 17" model only because it is the only way to get the ExpressCard slot.

    I think the SD slot is unwanted and unneeded by 99.99% of 15" buyers. It may be that the new, larger battery made it hard to include the slot -- and the SD slot was a way to throw us a bone. I would prefer to "gnaw" on a single eSata port.
  14. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    I wanted the Express card slot too. So I went with a Refurb 2008 Unibody. Save a lot of money. I don't need the SD slot. Plus it allows me to add more connections. I took my MBP to the Apple genius and at first glance he thought I had the 09 model.

    Battery life is not an issue because you can either buy an extra battery or get a HyperMac Battery.


    There are still some available in the Apple store.



    A lot of the things that Apple does, doesn't make sense. A lot of the cool stuff has been removed since OS.10.1 Features that sold me on this product. What I really miss that my PB has is the 3 USB ports and 2 firewire ports. S-Video. Oh also, you use to get a lot of extra stuff in the box. I have a lot of chords and adapters with my Powerbook and Quicksilver G4. DVD-r USB with the Apple logo, etc. Now you just get a power chord and cleaning cloth. :rolleyes:
  15. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    My older 15" MacBook Pro has a ExpressCard connector but I have never used it so far.

    However, I would have more use for the ExpressCard connector versus the SD card reader.

    I use pro-equipment and none of my cameras use SD cards.
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Most people I know thought the expresscard slot was a remote holder that didn't work. I was the only one, even in a large IT environment, who explored expresscard usage. I already have an SSD. Hopefully I'll get A USB 3.0 host or maybe if I win the lottery I'll get a Magma Expressbox :)
  17. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    That's one of the reasons why I like my 15" MBP 4,2. Plus, it has a replaceable battery (I have a spare) and I also get 2 FW ports. I wish the new 15" models offered some of these features.
  18. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009

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