Glossary definition of Personal Computer Memory Card International Association

Also known as: PCMCIA Card

PCMCIA Card (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) is the old term for a PC Card, which are small credit card sized accessories that fit into personal computers such as notebooks and laptops.

PC Cards contain integrated circuits to expand the capabilities of portable computers by providing more memory, input-output devices, or portable hard disk drives. A very common use of a PC Card is as a telecommunications modem for connecting portable computers to the telephone network.

The PCMCIA was organised in 1989 to establish common technical standards for these cards, and in 1993 the PCMCIA 2.1 Standard was issued to assure users that these peripheral devices would meet certain minimum requirements for a standard product. The PC Card fits into a slot in the personal computer and is connected via a 68-pin connector. Three thickness sizes have been defined for the standard PC Cards: Type I is 3.3 mm thick, Type II is 5 mm thick, Type III is 10.5 mm thick.

A large number of manufacturers are now producing a wide range of peripheral devices in the PC Card format, including communication functions like network adapters, cellular phone devices and Global Positioning Systems. A more recent development is a miniature size PC Card for use in small equipment such as mobile phones and PDAs.

The PCMCIA has a website at