i don't know how many of you have bought new Dells or even Macintel laptops as of late but thers a new I/O port in town. its called ExpressCard. it iscurrently in the process of replacing the current PCMCIA standard cardbus slot on laptops and has increased thruput substantially.
the good: it has increase throughput quite a bit and is now a native portion of the subsystem chipset (northbridge/southbridge) of your laptop lowering the overhead to operate and mainlines info right to the PCI-e bus. FASTTTTTTTT!!!!!!. with my 1705 Dell inspiron and a Hagiwara CF/MD reader and a sandisk 2GB Extreme 3 card it was able to pass data thru at a rate of 21MB/s card to HD and 9MB/s with a Ultra 2 using a 100GB 5400 RPM 2.5in SATA HD as the final stop. this will not do this with all cards due to the various differences in manufacturers products
the bad: new cards needed (not backwards compatible) 2 different size available slots (34mm and 54mm). Dell has gone with the 54mm universal slot and apple has gone with the 34mm (think different) slot. where the 54mm fits both types of cards the 34mm does not. there is currently as of today 1 CF reader for 54mm and 0 for 34mm.
a newer faster hole has been poked in laptops.