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Adaptec's card helps external storage

The adapter card that will let people plug SCSI hard disks or removable drives into their Windows CE devices.

Adaptec announced an adapter card that will let people plug SCSI hard disks or removable drives into their Windows CE devices.

Adaptec's SlimSCSI 1460 will expand the capabilities of Microsoft's Windows CE operating system by letting users fetch data from or run programs off external hard disks or removable media such as Zip drives.

The PC Card also lets people expand their device's memory by using the disk's storage space as "virtual memory." That's a trick long used by desktop computers, but virtual memory has its limits because hard disks are so much slower than regular RAM.

Adaptec expects the tiny SCSI adapter to be available in January for an estimated cost of $175. But prospective buyers might want to wait a little longer, because an upcoming version of the card will support CD-ROM drives later in the first half of 1999.

Microsoft, which developed the Windows CE operating system for mobile computing devices, was happy with Adaptec's offering, saying in a statement that the adapter will help establish Windows CE.