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When to use PCMCIA, PC Card, and CardBus

Q: I'm confused about the acronyms PCMCIA, PC Card, and CardBus. When do I use each?

A: "PCMCIA" stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. It refers to 16-bit peripheral memory and I/O cards for personal computers. These cards are target devices that do not request bus master access, but do respond to other bus masters as a bus target. The name PCMCIA has been replaced with "PC Card." "CardBus" refers to 32-bit cards that are bus masters. CardBus is backwards compatible, so it also accepts 16-bit PC Cards. Mandatory CIS and multifunction support are some of the other CardBus features. CardBus cards implement request and grant signal lines to an arbiter of some kind so that they can bus master the PCI bus. Do not use "PCMCIA" any more, as "PC Card" will suffice.

[Nov 15 1999]

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