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Supporting Legacy PCI Cards in Your New Rugged System

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“How do I know what type of PCI card I have?”   “Will my card work in my PCI slot?”

In rugged computer environments many times there is a need to support legacy PCI cards.   It often surprises people that their PCI card won’t work in every PCI slot.  A PCI card can be 5V, 3.3V, or universal voltage (3.3V & 5V).  There are also 32 bit and 64 bit versions of each card.

A quick look at your PCI card will let you know what you have.  The cards are keyed with notches that will help you differentiate the various versions.  The best case situation is that you have a universal PCI card that will work in either a 5V or 3.3V PCI slot.  There are universal PCI cards but no universal PCI slots.   So if you have a 5V PCI card you will need a 5V PCI slot.  When you have a 3.3V PCI card you will need a 3.3V PCI slot.   It’s important to make sure your legacy PCI cards will be supported in your new rugged computer system.

CP Technologies can provide integrated rugged computer systems supporting a wide variety of legacy card types including ISA and PCI.

Here’s a quick visual reference to help you determine what you’ve got.

PCI Slot Definitions

Graphic courtesy of Paul Wright (

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