http://www.pcisig.com/news_room/faqs/#mini_pciQ: What is Mini PCI?
A: Mini PCI is a standard for integrated peripherals, with emphasis on communications, that targets smaller products such as notebook PCs, docking stations, printers, sealed-case PCs (NetPCs or NCs), and set-top boxes. Mini PCI defines a small card (as small as 2.75" by 1.81" by .22") that is functionally equivalent to a standard PCI expansion card. Mini PCI was developed specifically for integrated communications peripherals such as modems and NICs. The Mini PCI card maintains the essential electricals, protocols, PC signals and software drivers as standard PCI v2.2 expansion cards.
Q: What is the need for Mini PCI?
A: The performance characteristics of the PCI bus specification, demonstrated in desktop and server systems, make PCI cards desirable in a wide range of systems. Coming from the state of having scores of custom or proprietary PCI daughter cards, the need for a standard is underscored. The standard form factors will simplify designs, reduce costs and increase the number of implementation options. Mini PCI can also be used in smaller systems in which standard PCI and small PCI v1.5a expansion cards cannot be used due to mechanical system-design constraints.
Q: Who benefits from the new Mini PCI specification?
A: OEMs, IHVs and their customers benefit from Mini PCI through a standard form factor for integrated communications peripherals. Particularly in the mobile space, this translates into greater flexibility of manufacturing and purchase options, reduced cost of ownership, and quicker time to market of technology.
Q: What is the status of the Mini PCI specification and when will it be available?
A: Mini PCI version 1.0 was approved by the PCI-SIG board of directors and officially released in 4Q '99. PCI-SIG members can download the specification at www.pcisig.com.
Q: When will vendors be able to test for compliance to the Mini PCI specification?
A: Mini PCI is PCI v2.2 with a different form factor. A Mini PCI device can be mounted on a PCI card and interoperability can be checked at a compliance workshop (the physical dimensions will not be checked.)
Q: When will Mini PCI products be available?
A: Mini PCI products are currently available and more will continue to be produced in the future. Companies such as Accton Technologies are choosing to support all three Mini PCI specification types with their EN2242 series Mini-PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter (support type 1B, 2B, 3A and 3B) and EN2242A series Mini-PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter (support type 1B and 3A/3B).