USB, IDE, and other PC standards.

Adding and expanding the capabilities of your PC has never been easier. This is due to the cooperative efforts of drive, peripheral, motherboard, software and processor manufacturers.

Today, among various standards, the most common are USB, IDE, PCI, and Cardbus (PCMCIA). While all four are flexible, perhaps the most flexible standard is USB. There are USB IDE drives, additional USB ports on your laptop with a cardbus USB card, and PCI serial (or USB) expansion cards.

The PCI standard governs expansion cards on motherboards, and consists of PCI and PCIe. PCIe is the newest of these common standards, and allows for much more efficient communication between expansion cards and the motherboard.

Cardbus (PCMCIA) is one of the older standards. It’s the standard design for laptop cards. About the size of a business card and around an eighth of an inch thick, Cardbus cards support TV tuners, USB expansion, and access to 3G and 4G wireless networks.

IDE is the oldest of these standards. USB IDE made it much easier to add hard drives and CD-ROM drives to PCs. Before IDE, hard drives were controlled by the motherboard, which meant very few hard drives could be used with any motherboard. IDE made it possible to use almost drive on almost any motherboard.

USB has become one of the most versatile standards in the industry. The “U” in USB stands for “Universal”, and USB devices include hard drives, flash drives, printers, scanners, cameras, keyboards, mice, TV tuners, sound cards, headsets, speakers, and more.

The cooperation on these standards has made it easier than ever to customize your computer.