Clarification for CardBus Confusion

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Quite a few PowerBook users have written us, asking how to determine whether their PB 2400c has CardBus capabilities or not. Let’s see:

Thanks to the reader who has reported the following, which should help clear up any remaining confusion:

FYI, the beta version of TattleTech 2.80 indicates if Cardbus is supported on a particular PowerBook. The Cardbus status appears under the General Hardware report in the PC Card section.

What is CardBus? CardBus is a faster, 32-bit bus version of the PCMCIA standard (older PC Cards are only 16-bit). It supports speeds up to 33 Mhz, and it has some other cool features like bus mastering. Its higher data rates are ideal for uses like fast Ethernet or, say, FireWire PC Cards. It is important to recognize that older, non CardBus cards do work in CardBus slots. It simply gives you the option to use faster cards.

Who has CardBus? This is a little bit trickier. Lombard has CardBus. Wallstreet has CardBus. All PowerBooks before the PowerBook 2400 do NOT have CardBus capabilities. The 3400c doesn’t have it, either.

What about the PowerBook 2400? Apple originally spec’d every model of 2400c to have CardBus. They consequently shipped CardBus-enabled machines to developers. For some reason, however, the machines would not work with certain modem/ethernet combo cards. Apple wound up shipping the machine with CardBus disabled. Certain models DO have CardBus enabled, though. The US version does NOT. The speed-bumped 2400c/240 (code named “Mighty Cat”) that shipped in Japan did ship with CardBus enabled. Rumors persist that a hardware hack exists (something to do with adding a resistor) to enable CardBus on the 2400/180 configurations, but details remain sketchy. If you happen to have the hack, email the details to the PowerPage engineering department.

Additional reading: Apple’s TIL, “What’s a CardBus?”

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