Can my laptop be upgraded to USB 3.0?

ExpressCard expansion slots

express card slot

If you have a laptop it will contain an expansion slot, which is used to upgrade it with new components like wireless adapters or hard drives. Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop will only have one expansion slot; almost all netbooks do not have this slot. These slots are called ExpressCard slots.

ExpressCard slots have a direct connection to the laptop’s system bus and so are able to run at speeds of up to 500 Mb/s. This means they are able to accept superspeed USB 3.0 ExpressCards. If you have a laptop that is only a few years old it will most likely have an ExpressCard slot.

Older laptops will have PCMCIA card slots and are NOT compatible with USB 3.0 ExpressCard slots.

Why would you want to get a USB 3.0 ExpressCard for your laptop?

If you frequently transfer data from your laptop to your desktop computer or external hard drive, especially data backups you will see a huge difference in the time it takes to transfer the data. You can transfer 25GB worth of data in less than a minute.

This is a simple and very easy way to upgrade to USB 3.0 since you do not need to open anything in your laptop; you simply slot the card in.


ExpressCard sizeExpresscard34 and Expresscard54

The cards that can be used in these slots are labelled as Expresscard34 or Expresscard54. This refers to the physical size of the cards 34mm wide and 54mm wide. If your laptop has a 54mm wide slot you can use both card sizes in this slot.

Does your laptop have an ExpressCard slot?

Look at the sides of your laptop for an empty slot, sometimes there is a plastic placeholder that needs to be removed (this is designed to prevent damage to the laptop when the slot is empty). If a slot is available consult your laptop’s online users guide or the paper copy if you have it.

The slot needs to be ExpressCard v2.0 or above as this supports the USB 3.0 speed specification.

How fast is USB 3.0?

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