Low-Profile PCI Cards - UNC Computer Science
April 2002 Vol.4 No.4
Inside this issue:
• Low-profile PCI cards:
A New Approach to Inner Space
• Lavalanche Winners!
• Distributor profile
Lava I/O News
Low-Profile PCI Cards:
A New Approach
to Inner Space
Most of us remember our first impression on
looking inside the chassis of a desktop or
tower computer: is that all there is? Apart from
the motherboard, power supply, drives and
cables, a few cards, and dust bunnies, things
were pretty empty in there. And while we
knew that air had to circulate inside the case,
the empty spaces inside still seemed a bit
large. Notebook computers came along and
really confirmed the impression that the inside
of typical computers had enough extra space
for a game of baseball.
The reason for all the empty space is historical:
the original PC's expansion cards were loaded
with lots of separate and large components.
They were rather tall, and needed to be so.
However, as integrated circuit technology
advanced, expansion boards got smaller and
fewer. Motherboards shrank and incorporated
drive controllers, graphics adapters, sound
cards, additional interfaces, and so on. But
along the way, the standard allowance for
adapter card height remained the same.
sets standards for the PCI bus generally.
Low-profile PCI cards follow the “PCI Local
Bus Specification, Revision 2.2” or later, but
in addition adopt the form factor requirements of the new "PCI Engineering Change
Notice —Low Profile PCI Card". Designed as a
collaborative effort by the PCI Special Interest
Group and companies including IBM and
Intel, the low-profile PCI standard limits the
height of low-profile PCI cards to a maximum
of 2.5 inches/60 mm —about 60% of the
height of standard PCI cards.
PCI Card Sizes
Eventually, in early 2000, someone asked the
obvious question:why not cut down the height
of expansion cards, and enable case designers
to reduce the volume of the computer chassis
by almost half? Bingo! low-profile PCI.
Standard Height Short Card — 6.875"
Standard Height Long Card — 12.283"
What are low-profile PCI cards?
Standard Height
Maximum 4.2"
Low Profile
Maximum 2.536"
Low Profile Short Card (MD1) — 4.72"
Low Profile
Low-profile PCI cards are simply PCI cards
based on a new card size standard. The
low-profile PCI standard was developed to
standardize the design of PCI cards used
in small-footprint systems. Low-profile PCI
cards follow the design guidelines of the PCI
Special Interest Group, the organization that
As well as defining a maximum height for
cards designated as “low-profile”, the low-profile PCI specification also outlines two low-profile PCI card lengths —short (called “MD1”)
and long (“MD2”).An MD1 low-profile card has
a maximum length of 4.72" (119.91 mm). An
MD2 card is longer than an MD1 card, but not
longer than 6.6" (167.64 mm). Both MD1 and
MD2 cards can be no higher than 2.536" (64.41
mm) and can be as short as 0.945" (24 mm).
The diagram below compares low-profile PCI
card sizes with standard height PCI card sizes.
Low Profile Long Card (MD2) — 6.6"
The low-profile PCI specification also stipulates
a new bracket design.While the low-profile PCI
card bracket has the same width as standard
height PCI cards' brackets, it is naturally much
shorter. In addition, the top part of the lowprofile bracket (where a screw secures the
bracket to the computer's chassis) is a mirror
image of the conventional bracket: a lowprofile bracket is not simply a full-height
bracket with the bottom cut short.
The DSerial-PCI/LP adds two 16550 serial
ports, each with speeds up to 115.2 kbps.
It comes complete with its own “Y” splitter
cable. The DSerial-PCI/LP is very popular with
Point-of-Sale system builders designing compact under-the-counter cash register systems.
The SSerial-PCI/LP adds a single 16550 UART
serial port on the PCI slot of any low-profile
Win a Lava DSerial-PCI/LP!
Please take a moment to fill out the
survey. Tell us a little about yourself so
we can serve you better!
By filling out this survey and faxing it
to 416.674.8262, you might win Lava's
best-selling DSerial-PCI/LP!
Min. Height
Apart from their physical dimensions, lowprofile PCI cards are no different from other PCI
cards. They have the same signaling, electrical,
and configuration characteristics as standard
PCI 2.2 cards.
Where do low-profile
PCI cards fit?
Your business is a:
Low-profile cards fit into the new cases sized for
Flex-ATX and micro-ATX motherboards. Pointof-Sale systems and 2U rack-mount servers are
also candidates for low-profile cards.
AOpen, Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel, and Gateway
are among those building low-profile systems.
On average, how many I/O cards do you
use/resell each month?
What does Lava offer in
low-profile PCI?
Lava makes low-profile versions of its standard-setting EPP card, the Lava Parallel-PCI; its
popular and dependable dual serial card the
Lava DSerial-PCI; and its single port serial
card, the Lava SSerial-PCI. Each of these is an
MD1 (short) low-profile PCI card.
The Parallel-PCI/LP is the classic Lava ParallelPCI card — our high speed, ultra-reliable,
enhanced parallel port —redesigned for lowprofile. With throughput up to 4.5 Mbps, this
card is up to three times faster than ISA EPP
ports, and is renowned for its compatibility
and ease of use.
❍ Dealership
❍ Retail outlet
❍ On-line e-tailer
❍ Value Added Reseller
❍ System builder
❍ White box manufacturer
❍ National distributor
❍ Regional distributor
❍ Repair center
❍ Mail order supplier
❍ Other
Low-Profile PCI Marketplace:
• POS (Point-of-Sale) system builders use the
low-profile dual serial card!
• Low-profile PCI cards —parallel and
serial —are great for all-in-one systems
like the IBM NetVista X40.
• Low-profile cards fit in 2U industrial
rack-mount servers.
Where do you get your information
about I/O boards?
❍ Advice from your tech
support department
❍ Distributor
❍ Manufacturer
❍ Industry magazines
❍ Internet search engines
❍ Trade shows
❍ Other
Lavalanche winners!
Thanks to all our participants in the Lavalanche Contest.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help us serve you better.
20% Coupon winners
$50 Coupon winners
• Carl Gerken,
Computer Doctor, MN, USA
• Dan River,
Dan River Enterprise,VA, USA
• Vicki Maytiom,
The Computer Center, AR, USA
• Pete Harder,
Desert Oasis,WA, USA
• David Truesdale,
Cyber Salvage AL, USA
• Nathan Henson,
Aardvark Computers and Service,TN, USA
• Don Dewitt,
Jaguar Computer System, FL, USA
• Maurice Smith,
Computers Plus, IL, USA
• Robert Semonchik,
Genentec Computer, NY, USA
• Mike Timko,
Orwell Computer, OH, USA
• Micheal Jarvis,
Compzone, SC, USA
• Ed Pogoda,
Norsemen Computer, ON, Canada
• Tim Berger,
Celerius Computer, MD, USA
• Dwayne Toews,
ANO Office Automation, BC, Canada
• Robin Standafan,
Techmedic Computers, OR, USA
• Griggs Enterprises,
Toby Griggs, IL, USA
• Stan Rogers,
Information Services, IA, USA
• Joseph Knapp,
Accudata Systems, NJ, USA
• Keith Callaway,
Glenwoodtech, IO, USA
• Marc Wolfe,
ProActive, NJ, USA
Jacket winners
• James Teetzel,
Problem Solved, Inc., AB, Canada
• Steve Carmichael,
OnDeck Systems Inc., BC, Canada
• Grant Meyer,
Uniserve Systems Inc., BC, Canada
• Bill B. Bowman,
Bowman Micro-Software Ltd, MB, Canada
• Janos Kantor,
Bestbyte, ON, Canada
• Sylvie Bishop,
HyperTec Systemes, Inc., QC, Canada
• Josee Fafard,
Alfa Logos, Inc., QC, Canada
• Kristal Kups,
TTL Computer Concepts, SK, Canada
• Stephen Rexford,
Matrix Computers, NY, USA
• Sharach Berman,
Advanced Computer Technology, PA, USA
• Billy Arnold,
Kustom Komputers,TN, USA
• John R. Marler,
MarFam Computer Solutions, CA, USA
• Mike Santos,
Escient Convergence Corp., IN, USA
• Bob McLaughlin,
Product Maintenance Repair, NJ, USA
• Carol A.Weidner,
Novatec, NY, USA
• Tom Sabatino,
TC Rose Company, NY, USA
• Daniel Cadieux,
CBM Informatique Inc., NF, Canada
• Kevin Marshall,
Plug n Play Computer Services, NS, Canada
• Ken Koh,
Laurier Computers, ON, USA
• Jim Butler,
Sona Computers Inc., NF, Canada
Supercom is an established company
specializing in the manufacture of
personal computers and the distribution
of computer products. Representing
hundreds of manufacturers, including
Lava, Supercom has built a strong and
dynamic organization by focusing on
customer partnerships, quality products
and low-cost, high-volume distribution.
Supercom serves its vendor and reseller
partners by providing an extensive
array of service and support. Supercom
operates authorized service and repair
facilities on behalf of many of their vendor partners and maintains a national
reseller network of authorized service
centres providing local support for
Supercom-manufactured systems across
Canada. Supercom's manufacturing
division includes specialized PC system
and server manufacturing, integration,
and custom configuration services.
Founded in 1989, Supercom has
Canadian sales offices in Toronto,
Montreal and Vancouver with fully
stocked warehouses, manufacturing
plants and authorized service centers
in Toronto and Vancouver. Supercom's
Markham, Ontario facility serves as
Canadian headquarters.
Servicing a customer base of over 16,000
computer resellers across Canada and
the United States, Supercom has been
consistently acknowledged as one of the
top distributors in Canada.
Supercom Canada
4011 14th Avenue
Markham, ON
Canada L3R 0Z9
TEL: 905.415.1166
FAX: 905.415.1177
TOLL FREE: 800.949.4567
Serial Cards
Single 9-pin serial, 16550 UART
Single 25-pin serial, 16550 UART, low profile
Dual 9-pin serial, 16550 UARTs
Dual 9-pin serial, 16550 UARTs, low profile
Four-port 9-pin serial, 16550 UARTs, IRQ sharing
Eight-port 9-pin serial, 16550 UARTs, IRQ sharing
Single 9-pin serial, 16650 UART
Dual 9-pin serial, 16650 UARTs
Four-port 9-pin serial, 16650 UARTs, IRQ sharing
Single 25-pin serial, Com 1-4, 16550 UART, IRQ 3/4/5/7
Dual 9-pin serial, Com 1-4, 16550 UARTs, IRQ 2/3/4/5/7/10/11/12/15
Dual 9-pin serial, 16550 UARTs, RS422 pinout
Single 9-pin serial, Com 1-4 16650 UART, IRQ 2/3/4/5/10/11/12/15
Single 9-pin serial, 16650 UART, plug & play
Parallel Cards
Dual Parallel-PCI
Parallel Bi-Directional
Single EPP parallel
Single EPP parallel, low profile
Dual EPP parallel
Single bi-directional parallel port, LPT 1/2/3, IRQ 5/7
Single ECP/EPP parallel, LPT 1-6, IRQ 2/3/4/5/7/10/11/12
Combo Cards
Single 9-pin serial, 16550 UART + single bi-directional parallel
Dual serial (9 & 25-pin), 16550 UARTs + single EPP parallel
Dual serial (9 & 25 pin), 16650 UARTs + single EPP parallel
Dual 9-pin serial, Com 1-4, 16550 UARTs + single bi-dir. parallel, LPT 1-2
USB 2.0 & 1.1 Devices
USB 2.0 Host Adapter
USB 1.1 Host Adapter
SPH-USB 1.1 Hub
Dual USB 2.0 ports, 480 Mbps, fits in PCI slot
Hard drive enclosure with USB 2.0-to-IDE interface
Dual USB 1.1 ports, 12 Mbps, fits in PCI slot
Three powered USB ports, parallel port, serial port, connects to USB
IEEE 1394 (FireWire®) Devices
IEEE 1394 FireHost
IEEE 1394/IDE Controller
Dual IEEE 1394 ports, 400 Mbps, fits in PCI slot
Hard drive enclosure with FireWire®-to-IDE interface
FireWire®-to-IDE hard drive interface
Specialty Cards
8255 PIO interface card
Lava Computer MFG Inc.
2 Vulcan Street
Toronto, ON
Canada M9W 1L2
TEL: 416.674.5942
FAX: 416.674.8262
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