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PCMCIA card based computer.
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I'm an IT Manager and every few months I have to upgrade a bunch of computers, find the new best cards, take apart 25 + computers, put the new cards in, install the drivers, debug the problems, re-install the OS etc. etc.

Recently I was upgrading our laptop network cards, and I took the old on out, and put the new one in. End of story.

So.. I was thinking, is the PCMCIA bus wide enough to say, have a plug in processor, memory graphics card etc. etc. Your "PC" would essentially be a big PCMCIA bus, with slots (perhaps some are assigned as Processor, memory etc.).. you just plug and un plug as you upgrade.

Maybe USB, Firewire etc. are heading something close to this?



HoTWire, Aug 09 2000

REX http://www.pdastreet.com/rex.html
Baked already. [hippo, Aug 09 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Tiquit Computing http://www.tiqit.com
The people who sell the tiny PC's that are based on the "world's smallest Web Server" design. [bear, Aug 09 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Baked. See REX link. The bad news about the REX is that you can't enter data into it, which is what I want to do to a PDA.

(Actually, looking back at it, I may have completely misunderstood your idea. Please let me know if this is the case!)
hippo, Aug 09 2000

       That looks nice, but not what I was on to with this idea, I'm thinking in terms of a whole PC run through plug-in carts (PCMCIA being most obvious). So you need to upgrade processor? You just unplug one and plug in a new one (no opening cases or anything). The unit would look like a hedgehog covered in spikes that are PCMCIA cards.   

HoTWire, Aug 09 2000

       PCMCIA cards are a little small -- you could squeeze things into them, but for a desktop computer, why bother?   

       If you allow larger cards, then you just have a standard backplane-oriented server chassis with swappable CPU boards and whatnot.
egnor, Aug 09 2000

       I was mulling this over at lunch, the fact is you'd want this for a desktop work PC, so no need for hardcore flash 3D graphics cards, I imagine you can get most of the circuitry for a simple SVGA card on a single chip now, or at least close to it. Same with sound, Network cards already exist as do harddrivers. So the sticking point is Memory and processor.   

       You could fit a whole CPU into a 8 inch cube. Or whatever shape, you could make it very stylish, and easy to use/upgrade. My main thought is that there isn't enough bandwidth to run a processor off a PCMCIA card.
HoTWire, Aug 09 2000

       Ehh, still baked after a fashion. Last year, in ID quarterly (International Design - the industrial design one, not the photo/fashion one) in their "Best Of" issue, they awarded the design work of some student who came up with a similar concept with pager-sized modules (think something along the lines of a bunch of Tiqit computers with a huge bus connecting the slots). The name of the winner was "spinal column design" or somesuch, but it looked little like a spine and more like a toy train with nifty-colored blocks on each flatbed connected to an LCD and keyboard. I don't think it was a working prototype...
bear, Aug 11 2000

       One thing I'd really like to see would be for someone to come up with a PC bus that doesn't have IRQ conflicts. Designing a system to support IRQ sharing is trivial (it was the norm before the PC came on the scene). Why the fourth-generation PCI bus hasn't solved the problem is a mystery to me.
supercat, Jul 01 2001

       This may soon be feasable; ATI's next generation of graphics cards will all be based on the PCI-Xpress bus, conveniently the next generation of PCMCIA will also tie into that bus and run at similar speeds. Just FYI the new PCMCIA slots will be slightly wider and will support half cards; 2 half cards could occupy a single slot. They are trashing the idea of eject buttons and the cards will just stick out about a half an inch so you can yank them out; sounds dangerous since this is designed for moveable computers. This would be a Legacy-Free design as nothing from previous generations of pc's would plug into it... except usb and other external things.
WhiteWiz, Mar 02 2004


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