Notebooks tend not to get upgrades as often as desktops. For the most part our desktops are easy to work on and swapping out a processor, memory or HDD can be done in just a few minutes. It is possible for average consumers to do these tasks on notebook, but the process tends to be a bit more involved and in some cases a pain in the rear. Motherboards for notebooks are another matter entirely. Rarely will you be able to find something that is an exact fit for your notebook and if you did, the new board would be quite expensive. I have held onto my Lenovo T61P for the last three years and while I am starting to take a look around to see what is available on the market, I don't see two grand being spent anytime soon on a new Thinkpad W700.
At this time it is not like I can even find a notebook with the two main features I desire most of all, SATA 6G and USB 3.0. The wait to get those new technologies in a mobile powerhouse is currently set for the middle of next year when Intel will release a new chipset with both technologies tied into a new Southbridge. I guess Intel wasn't nearly as ready as I was to get Crucial's new SATA 6G RealSSD C300 in a notebook as quickly as I am.
SATA 6G mobile computing is just going to have to wait, but obtaining USB 3.0 is not as far away as you might think. VIZO recently launched their new SPEED-UP ExpressCard that features two USB 3.0 ports into a 34mm wide card that resembles what your first PCMCIA wireless card looks like, only a bit thinner.
Obviously the technology has changed a bit since your old WiFi card. That slot on your notebook is now tapped directly into a PCIe 1x lane and is capable of transferring data much faster now. Most likely on your notebook you have a double row 54mm slot that is much wider than the card you will see here today, but there is little need to worry; ExpressCard has been around since 2004 and most notebooks are shipping with ExpressCard 2, a PCIe 2.0 1x lane, but unfortunately for me my T61p uses the old PCIe 1.0 technology, but it should still be fast enough to blow the doors off USB 2.0 and give at least 100MB/s data transfers. As with most things in this industry, if there is a big slot something small can plug into it too, so you will be able to use the 32mm wide card in a 54mm slot.
Let's take a look at the specifications for VIZO's USB 3.0 ExpressCard.