ExpressCard/34 add-ons make your Apple MacBook Pro do even more

“With the MacBook Pro, Apple discarded the old PC Card slot in favor of ExpressCard/34, a more compact expansion slot that offers greater transfer speeds and an increasing array of uses. The ExpressCard format has a couple of advantages over the old PC Card format,” Jeff Carlson reports for Macworld.

“First, it’s narrower: ExpressCard/34 cards are 34mm wide, compared with the 54mm PC Cards. (ExpressCard/54 cards do exist, but they don’t fit in the MacBook Pro.) ExpressCards also require less power—1.5 volts, compared with 3.3 volts for the PC Card. But their biggest advantage is speed. An ExpressCard passes data to the system at up to 2.5 Gbps; PC Cards supported speeds of only 1.06 Gbps,” Carlson reports.

Carlson covers some of the many ExpressCards available – “it should give you an idea of how you can expand your laptop’s powers” – including a 16GB Solid State Drive, Village Tronic’s ViDock Gfx lets you connect up to three additional displays, and more in his full article here.


  1. @MacMarc:

    I love to use laptops. I feel free to move from place to place without being wired. I am not tied to a desk. And Apple MacBooks/Pros are wonderful pieces of HW.

    Ok: Stupid is as stupid does. Whatever.

  2. “ExpressCards also require less power—1.5 volts, compared with 3.3 volts for the PC Card.”

    Ohh.. how many things are wrong with this statement…

    This guy is really a tech journalist? Really?

    Voltage and power usage are VERY different things.

  3. @ ZBeeb
    assuming similar current draw for like devices (firewire to firewire, USB to USB, video port to video port…etc.) a 1.5 volt device will require less than 1/2 the power while providing superior data communication speeds as in the cases of SSD data transfer and video out ports. Technically you are correct but in this case the writer seems to have implied my previous premise. Most tech reporters have not taken an engineer or physics course but their main talent is communicating information to the less tech savvy masses. You can either take the reporters words as they were meant to imply or if it irritates yo so much, start your own Tech blog. Apparently that is all you need to become a Journalist these days.

  4. Poor bastards who don’t understand the advantage of a laptop. I started using a PowerBook to carry my entire computing environment WITH me. Once you get used to the concept and actual using it, you’ll never go back.

    At my real office, I plug my MacBook Pro into a 20″ monitor, keyboard, trackball, network, Time Machine RAID and FireWire 800 drives. It acts just like a desktop machine, except for the speed advantage of some desktop systems.

    ExpressCards are great. I use CompactFlash and multi-format (SD) card readers. I also keep a Lexar FireWire CF reader on my desk.

  5. I love my MB PRO and I use it constantly for work & home, but I sure do wish that Apple (or even a third party) would come up with a good docking station solution. I would think that an ExpressCard-based solution would make perfect sense. That way you don’t have to re-engineer/re-tool anything. Steve, are you listening? Us business portable users could really use this!

  6. At my real office, I plug my MacBook Pro into a 20″ monitor, keyboard, trackball, network, Time Machine RAID and FireWire 800 drives.

    Then go get lunch? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />


  7. “Poor bastards who don’t understand the advantage of a laptop.”

    Currently (and typically) I’m using 7.2GB of RAM on my Mac Pro. How would you suggest I do that on a Macbook Pro?

    I own an MBP. Beautiful machine. Absolutely love it. But it cannot keep up with me when I’m working full throttle. I do web development. Nothing special when compared to scientists doing, say, climate modeling or print graphic designers loading files that are GB in size. When the MBP was my primary machine, it choked on a regular basis going to the hard drive to get virtual memory. No fault of it’s own. It’s not designed to be a workstation. That’s why I got the Pro and loaded it up with RAM.

    Consider, perhaps, the people who don’t use a laptop as a replacement for a workstation aren’t “bastards”.

  8. “Expresscard/54” I don’t think so. Now Expresscard/52, yeah that exists.

    That aside the thing I find most frustrating in the UK is how few places stock anything that actually fits the Expresscard whatever size and when they do it is usually duplicating functionality that already exists on my MBP.

    Oh well…. back to the salt mines till Jobs sets us free

  9. @openvista

    sure. 4Gb of mem can’t keep with “your” web design.

    i see, your pages go to “11”.

    in fact, noone can even look at them. not only are they not finished but they’ve never actually loaded in any browser — because no browser is goes to 11.

  10. You don’t do web design, do you? Even though web pages end up at very small file sizes, it’s likely that our friend here has to get there by loading said multiple gig images and optimizing them, possible creating video or animation which requires serious horsepower, or any number of other very system intensive tasks. Programming or coding a website might require only a text editor, but very often the art side, the content creation, the laboratory if you will, is no different than any other heavy duty computing task. A blog style site like this one is a bad example, but the web is full of very content rich sites that require very serious resources to create. Not saying it couldn’t be done on a portable, but it is a lot more pleasant on something pimping 8 gigs of ram under the hood. I got your back, fenman!

    I dream of the day when a portable truly is just an extension of a work station, being able to take the resources of another machine with you wherever you roam, rather than having to settle for a lesser machine.

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