In PC design, harbingers of shrink

A number of new technologies coming to the fore could bring about smaller notebooks and desktops, as well as let manufacturers alter standard PC shapes.

ExpressCard, a new PC expansion card standard announced Tuesday, is one such advance. Backers say it will replace the familiar PCMCIA cards that slide into the sides of notebook computers and that are used for tasks such as adding memory or connecting to a network. Because the new card standard is smaller and requires fewer components, it could lead to smaller notebooks and new card slot placements. Another technology coming down the pike is PCI Express, a new method for connecting PCs to peripherals that promises to streamline computer innards, as well as allow for different PC designs. Serial ATA, a high-speed interface standard for disk drives that cuts down on the cabling within PC boxes, started to appear in systems in the spring.

Products built with the upcoming advances are expected to hit the market next year, industry insiders say, although adoption rates may differ between corporate and consumer markets. The overall direction is to help PCs get smaller and more powerful, said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Group. "When you look at all the internal technologies, the goal seems to be to shrink, consolidate and advance."

News source: C|Net News.com

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