Socket Chipsets Matrix PCMCIA
By Jonas Buys
1. PCMCIA Socket Chipsets Matrix.
Most OS/2 users own a notebook nowadays, and though USB is a very powerful and flexible technology, it still can't compete with the popularity of the classic PCMCIA interface, which still is the standard for laptops.
PCMCIA is short for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, which is an industry group organized in 1989 to promote standards for a credit card-size memory or Input/Output device that would fit into a personal computer, usually a notebook or laptop computer. The PCMCIA 2.1 Standard was published in 1993. As a result, PC users can be assured of standard attachments for any peripheral device that follows the standard. The initial standard and its subsequent releases describe a standard product, the PC Card.
CardBus is the trade name for an advanced PC Card specification. The technology is used primarily in notebook and portable computers. The CardBus card fits in a slot like a conventional PC card.
CardBus allows for all the functions that are possible with PC cards, but with some improvements:
A CardBus slot, and the associated software, interrogates a card when the card is first inserted in the slot. If a PC card has been inserted, the computer uses it as if the slot were a conventional PCMCIA slot. If a CardBus card has been inserted, the computer reconfigures the slot to take advantage of the enhanced operating features. For CardBus to work, the operating system must support 32-bit data paths, precisely what OS/2 does support.
The table below lists a selection of the chipsets that are known to be working with OS/2, and which drivers support them.
Column heading descriptions:
- Chipset: This column lists the chipsets used in PCMCIA/PC Card solutions.
- Revision: Some manufacturers tend to release new versions of the same product. For example: a version A, a version B... Sometimes, a driver must explicitly support these versions, since they sometimes each need a special identification system.
- Cardbus (CB*): The difference between PC Card and CardBus have been mentioned above. CardBus, of course, is better than just regular PC Card. This column indicates whether the chipset is a CardBus device () or just a regular classic PCMCIA socket ().
- DeviceID: The identification number of the manufacturer of the chipset.
- VendorID: The identification number of the device itself. You need the former and this one to figure out which chipset you have using pci.exe.
- base OS (0): Whether or not IBM OS/2 Warp 4 GA (Merlin) natively supports these chipsets.
- IBM PC Card Director / ibm2ss14.sys v3.0 (1): One of IBM's official driver that offers support for multiple chipsets (cardbus.exe). Part of SoftWare Choice.
- Dani patch (Daniela's Texas Instruments Cardbus Driver) (2):
Whilst the socket services driver for TI cardbus bridges IBM2SS14.SYS provided by IBM (the driver above) does it's job, it supports only some of the many TI chips. Daniela's Texas Instruments Cardbus Driver is supposed to support all TI cardbus bridges. The driver is based on the IBM2SS14 v3.0/1.01.00 driver.
- APSoft (3): If you want more power, or if you can't get the free drivers to work then the German company APSoft has developed a commercial PCMCIA driver which is described here. This driver costs around € 60,-. It will be delivered without technical support. However, the company will receive bug reports and makes new releases as and when applicable, and corporate support for the driver is available via os2warp.be Corporate Support Services. The driver provides support for many Cardbus sockets and seems to be very promising. You can contact the company under email@example.com. Make sure that you give the impression that you know what you are doing when you want to install the driver, otherwise they may refuse selling it to you (due to the technical support restriction). For os2warp.be Corporate Support Customers an installer for the APSoft device driver is provided which automatically detects the applicable chipset of the host computer and then installs PC Card Director and the SSPCIC.SYS driver with the correct required config.sys switches.