ExpressCard doubles speed

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Version 2.0 of ExpressCard is on the way, with maximum speeds doubling to 5Gbps (gigabits per second).

The upcoming standard is based on PCI Express 2.0 and USB 3.0, and is being developed by industry organization Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA).

Express Cards slot into PCs and can contain memory, modems, wireless transmitters or interfaces for connecting other devices.

When the standard will be set is dependent on when USB 3.0 is finalized.

"We will be ready when that happens, either late this year or early 2009," said Manny Pitta, marketing committee chair at PCMCIA.

SATA 2.0 adapters, video adapters and storage products based on flash memory will all be able to take advantage of the increased speed, according to PCMCIA.

At the Cebit show in Germany, several companies also showed new products using the existing version of ExpressCard standard.

Users who want to hook up external displays to a laptop can use ViDock Gfx, an external graphics box from Village Tronic.

A future version of the product will take advantage of ExpressCard 2.0. "It will take graphics performance closer to desktop class," said Ascanio Orlandini, chief technical officer at Village Tronic.

But even with ExpressCard Version 1.2, Village Tronic can support resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels on the Pro and Mac versions of its ViDock Gfx, which each have two dual-link DVI ports.

The Pro version is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista -- including Aero. The Mac version supports Quartz Extreme.

Both will ship in April, and cost about US$400. A simpler Business version, for Windows as well, will also be available, and cost $100 less.

Other ExpressCard offerings at Cebit include backup product FlashBack Adapter from SanDisk, and ExpressCard-to-serial range from Brainbox.

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