What is Mini PCI? (Explained)

What is Mini PCI?

Mini PCI refers to an interface standard. It is actually a division of the original PCI, or Peripheral Component Interconnect, interface. It is small in size and measures just 2.75 inches by 1.81 inches by 0.22 inches.


  • Mini PCI is the smaller version of the original PCI interface.
  • It is cheap and supports only 3.3 volts and 32 bits.
  • Available in three different types, this allows the interfacing of different peripherals with the computer.
  • Though this interface comes with an adequate number of pins, it can be used only in small devices due to its small size.

Understanding Mini PCI

Understanding Mini PCI

The Mini PCI is actually a division of the PCI interface, but it comes in a much smaller form factor.

It can support only 3.3 volts and data transfer in 32 bits.

The small size of it as well as its lower requirements allow the manufacturers to make it cheap. It also allows for making the design of the motherboards much simpler.

Glue logic is not used in making the Mini PCI because it is designed to be a single-chip interface bus.

The pinout of this particular bus is also smaller than that of a normal PCI bus, which is another significant reason why it cannot be used in desktop computers.

This standard also follows the parallel PCI bus standard, which is quite different from the Express PCI bus standard.

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Available in different types, each of them comes with different features and functionalities, such as:

  • Type I offers more flexibility in placing it in a computer but needs additional cables such as RJ 11 and RJ 45 for connecting
  • Type II, which is much similar to Type I, can be used where size is not very important and it has no additional cables and they can integrate the RJ 45 and RJ 11 connectors and
  • Type III is more like a SO-DIMM, or Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module, connector and can be installed 5 mm above the system board and placed anywhere in it with proper cabling to the input-output connectors.

Ideally, the Mini PCI can be rightfully called the laptop version of the original Peripheral Component Interconnect interface. This 32-bit bus can operate at 32 MHz.

However, this particular specification uses the same signal set as the PCI but does not support 5 volts or 64 bits, and it also does not support the Joint Test Action Group, or JTAG, interface.

Mini PCI vs Mini PCIe

  • The Mini PCIe offers higher potential bandwidth and flexibility in comparison to the Mini PCI standard and
  • The Mini PCI can provide peripherals such as GPS and serial ports, but, in comparison, the Mini PCIe range includes 3G and 4G modems and video capture and compression.

Questions & Answers:

What is Mini PCI

What Does It Do?

The Mini PCI acts as the interface between different peripheral devices, such as the network adapters used in laptop computers, and helps in transferring data between them.

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Where is Mini PCI Used?

Due to the small size of the Mini PCI interface, it is used mainly in notebooks and laptop computers. It is also used in small network adapters, HDTVs, DVD players, and other smaller devices.

How Many Pins Does It Have?

There are typically two different pinout configurations for the connector according to the Mini PCI specification: one for Type I and Type II, and the other for the third type.

The Type I and Type II variants of Mini PCI especially have 100 pins, but the Type III has 124 pins, where the latter can accept a larger board with fingers or a card edge.


Mini PCI is a subset of the original PCI interface and serves the same purpose but in a much lower capacity.

The lower capability of this interface does not allow using it in larger systems or in complex applications.

Still, this interface is quite useful for notebooks, laptop computers, network adapters, and others.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin

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