What is a PCMCIA slot on a laptop computer?

Written by andrea stein
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What is a PCMCIA slot on a laptop computer?
PCMCIA slots are located on a laptop's motherboard. (motherboard image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)

Many peripherals, like sound cards and graphics cards, can connect to a laptop to enhance functionality. A PCMCIA card, or expansion card, is a type of interface device used to expand laptop function. PCMCIA cards attach to laptops via a designated slot.


PCMCIA cards plug into a laptop's motherboard and contain connectors to attach common external devices. PCMCIA cards serve as an interface device for such peripherals as modems and adaptors. The PCMCIA card is inserted into an expansion slot, or a socket in a laptop, that accepts a printed circuit board.


PCMCIA cards have traces, also called edge connectors, which extend from the end of the card. The card's edge connectors plug into the expansion slots on the motherboard. This establishes an electrical connection between the PCMCIA's circuit board and the motherboard's integrated circuitry.


PCMCIA cards were first launched by the PCMCIA, or Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. PCMCIA cards later became known as CardBus cards and PC cards, and were frequently used in the 1990s and early 2000.

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