MiniPCI Express slot

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MiniPCI Express slot

The MiniPCI Express slot is a miniaturized version of the PCI Express slot, generally implemented as a 52-pin connector. This is not to be confused with the MiniSATA (mSATA) slot, which uses the same connector, but has a wholly different electrical pin-out.

Some MiniPCI Express slots used in certain ThinkPads are meant to only accept 26 x 30 mm cards, or otherwise known as half-length MiniPCI Express cards. These do not fit properly in MiniPCI Express slots that are meant to accept 50.95 x 30 mm cards, or otherwise known as full-length MiniPCI Express cards. If needed, they can be fitted by using half-length to full-length adapters; it cannot be done the other way round though (full-length to half-length adapters do not exist).

Wikipedia article on Mini PCI Express

Overview

The MiniPCI Express slot in full detail, is a dual-voltage 3.3V and 1.5V PCI Express (1.x/2.x) x1 slot. The PCI Express version depends on the I/O controller's capabilities. Note that not all MiniPCI Express slots have the same pin-out, as some slots are meant for WLAN/WWAN/Miscellaneous devices. Depending on the slot's purpose, it may or may not have PCI Express lanes wired to it, it also may or may not have USB lanes wired to it.

MiniPCI Express slots that are meant to contain WiFi/WLAN cards, will generally have PCI Express lanes wired to them. Slots meant for WWAN on the other hand, will generally have USB lanes wired to them. Slots meant for miscellaneous cards, such as the Turbo Memory card, will generally have both PCI Express lanes and USB lanes wired to them. If the slot is meant for a Wireless USB card, the slot will only have USB lanes wired to it.

Unfortunately (for expandability), all known ThinkPads with this slot are loaded with a BIOS whitelist. This would mean that only Lenovo-branded MiniPCI Express cards will work in a ThinkPad, although there are some workarounds or complete fixes for this hassle. See Problem with unauthorized MiniPCI network card for more information regarding workarounds and fixes.

MiniPCI Express, WLAN cards

MiniPCI Express, WWAN cards

MiniPCI Express, Miscellaneous cards

External sources

Models featuring this technology

with a MiniPCI Express slot (WLAN)

with a MiniPCI Express slot (WWAN)

with two MiniPCI Express slots (WLAN+WWAN)

with three MiniPCI Express slots (WLAN+WWAN+Miscellaneous)