Mini-PCIe vs Mini-PCI: What’s the difference?

mini pcie vs mini pci

Mini PCIe vs Mini PCI, Mini Cards are a convenient, versatile and low cost solution for adding additional interfaces to an Embedded System. Popularised in Laptop Computers they now have a home in Embedded Systems providing very compact expansion solution. The two common formats are Mini-PCI and Mini-PCIe with M.2 rapidly gaining in popularity. These mini cards provide a simple means of adding additional interfaces to a system. Adapters are available to allow Mini-PCI and Mini-PCIe cards to be installed into a full size PCI or PCIe slot.

What is a Mini-PCI card?

As its name implies, a Mini-PCI card has a PCI interface which generally feeds into a PCI device on the module. This can provide peripherals such as:

  • Network AdaptersMiniPCI GPS Module MiniPCI WiFi module
  • Serial Ports
  • GPS
  • Frame Grabber

What is a Mini-PCIe card?

Mini-PCIe or Mini-PCI Express cards were more recently introduced and replace Mini-PCI in newer applications. A Mini-PCIe module has a single PCIs lane which provides a simpler yet more powerful interface. PCIe modules are available in two sizes, full size (length) and half size. Many industrial motherboards offer one, two or more Mini-PCIe slots. Within the specification of Mini-PCIe are a number of interface pins that are used for other purposes. For example USB is generally available and is often used for 3G Modems, 4G Modems or GPS. Other pins are defined for use with a SIM card for a GSM Modem.

The range of cards is quite extensive including:-

  • Network adaptors MiniPCIe Video Capture module  MiniPCIe RS232 module
  • Frame grabbers
  • Video capture and compression
  • 3G and 4G modems

Later Developments: M.2 vs Mini PCIe vs Mini PCI

More recently the M.2 specification was introduces initially as a replacement for mSATA modules but is now becoming popular in a number of different applications. The M.2 specification amongst other things provides up to four PCI Express lanes and one logical SATA 3.0 interface.  The possibilities are enormous and we are gradually seeing new products being released. A Mini PCIe to M.2 adaptor is available.

Mini PCIe vs Mini PCI

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BVM supply a wide and diverse range of Industrial and Embedded Systems. From Industrial Motherboards, SBCs and Box PCs, to Rack Mount computers and Industrial Panel PCs. Our technical & commercial team members will always provide you with valuable but impartial advice around the products and services that BVM supplies. With their collective backgrounds, they’ll provide you with the benefit of their knowledge and experiences when & where you need it. We’ll always help you in the first instance and get back to you when additional information is required.

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