Solved! Can you use a smart card reader slot like an express card slot? Are there smart card adapters?

dekw04

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Oct 6, 2017
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Hi everyone.

I happen to have a laptop with a slot that is a smart card reader. I was wondering if it it's at all possible to use this slot in the same way that an express card slot may be used (i.e. with an adapter that gets inserted into the slot) to add functionality that wasn't there before.

For instance, you know how you can insert an express card into a laptop's express card slot to add functionality that wasn't there before (like USB 3.0 ports, an additional graphics card, an SDXC card reader, etc.)?

Is it possible to do the equivalent with a laptop's smart card reader and some kind of special smart card adapter that could be inserted into the smart card reader's slot?

Thank you.
 
"Smart card reader" has two meanings. The old meaning was a slot which could read a variety of different memory card formats. The new meaning is is one which you can stick in a chipped credit card to authenticate a payment (common outside the U.S. - most countries require you to enter a PIN after the credit card is inserted, the system U.S. debit cards use). Neither can be modified into a generic port (like the old Express Card and PCMCIA slots).

The mini-PCIe port used for old laptop WiFi and WWAN cards, and the new PCIe M.2 port used for SSDs, newer laptop WiFi Cards and WWAN cards has the same wiring as a full-size PCIe port. It's just shrunk down, and usually supports only x1, x2, or x4 with a lower max power capacity. If your laptop has an extra unused mini-PCIe port or PCIe M.2 port (or you're willing to give up your WiFi card), there are adapters which will let you plug in a regular PCIe card like a GPU (though you'll be limited by the x4 max). It may need external power (especially a GPU).

Beware, there's also a SATA-only M.2 port, and the mSATA interface "stole" the socket for mini-PCIe (manufacturers didn't want to waste money tooling a new port). These only carry SATA signals, not PCIe, so cannot be used to support a PCIe card.

mini-PCIe
http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/diy-egpu-experiences.418851/page-452
https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/us7-50-generic-mpcie-egpu-adapter/
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17Z-0053-00013

M.2
https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/831808-m2-x4-egpu-dock-fastest-external-laptop-gpu/
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NGFF-M-2-To-USB-3-0-PCI-E-Express-16x-Riser-Card-Adapter-for-BTC-Mining-AC915-/232498169136

This role is now being taken over by the USB C port with Thunderbolt support, since that port can transfer the PCIe data stream. So if you want this type of flexibility in the future, make sure the laptop you buy has Thunderbolt support.
 

delaro

Distinguished
No that is rather limited in terms of speed and usage what you want is a Thunderbolt 3 connector which has a transfer rate of something like 40Gbps and can be used in nearly every way possible.
 
"Smart card reader" has two meanings. The old meaning was a slot which could read a variety of different memory card formats. The new meaning is is one which you can stick in a chipped credit card to authenticate a payment (common outside the U.S. - most countries require you to enter a PIN after the credit card is inserted, the system U.S. debit cards use). Neither can be modified into a generic port (like the old Express Card and PCMCIA slots).

The mini-PCIe port used for old laptop WiFi and WWAN cards, and the new PCIe M.2 port used for SSDs, newer laptop WiFi Cards and WWAN cards has the same wiring as a full-size PCIe port. It's just shrunk down, and usually supports only x1, x2, or x4 with a lower max power capacity. If your laptop has an extra unused mini-PCIe port or PCIe M.2 port (or you're willing to give up your WiFi card), there are adapters which will let you plug in a regular PCIe card like a GPU (though you'll be limited by the x4 max). It may need external power (especially a GPU).

Beware, there's also a SATA-only M.2 port, and the mSATA interface "stole" the socket for mini-PCIe (manufacturers didn't want to waste money tooling a new port). These only carry SATA signals, not PCIe, so cannot be used to support a PCIe card.

mini-PCIe
http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/diy-egpu-experiences.418851/page-452
https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/us7-50-generic-mpcie-egpu-adapter/
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17Z-0053-00013

M.2
https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/831808-m2-x4-egpu-dock-fastest-external-laptop-gpu/
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NGFF-M-2-To-USB-3-0-PCI-E-Express-16x-Riser-Card-Adapter-for-BTC-Mining-AC915-/232498169136

This role is now being taken over by the USB C port with Thunderbolt support, since that port can transfer the PCIe data stream. So if you want this type of flexibility in the future, make sure the laptop you buy has Thunderbolt support.
 

delaro

Distinguished


USB-C Some devices will also push Thunderbolt over it, some will not. Every Thunderbolt 3 port will function as a USB-C port.


 
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