If you've been waiting with bated breath for something - anything - to take the plunge and support the new SDXC memory card standard we were promised earlier this year, have hope: major manufacturers are apparently preparing notebooks featuring compatible card readers.

The SDXC standard, which promises to scale to a mighty 2TB while keeping the SD form factor and offering backwards compatibility with existing SD and SDHC cards, certainly sounded promising back in March - but hardware support has been somewhat lacking. Thankfully, DailyTech is reporting that machines based around Intel's upcoming 32nm Arrandale mobile processors will be the first - but hopefully not the last - to provide support for the new card standard.

Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, and Dell have all been fingered as having Arrandale-based laptops in the works for release in early 2010 which will feature integrated SDXC readers. The delay is likely caused by the fact that the SDXC standard supports data transfer rates of up to 300MB/s - far higher than the 60MB/sec (480Mbit/sec) USB 2.0 bus ordinarily used to connect integrated SD/SDHC readers to the motherboard. To overcome this, manufacturers are believed to be tapping in to the PCI Express bus in order to keep the data zipping along nicely.

While the three manufacturers named above account for a goodly chunk of laptop sales, Apple is notably absent from the list. Whether this is simply because the company wants its SDXC support to come as a surprise, or whether it's due to the company expecting MacBook owners to rely on an external reader - which is likely to suffer bus-related performance issues - isn't known. Given that the MacBook Pro only gained an SD card reader in the 2009 refresh, Apple fans shouldn't hold their breath.

While no official statement regarding SDXC has come from any company, it's thought that the Consumer Electronics Show in January will provide a platform for them to show off their support for the new format.

Are you pleased to see manufacturers supporting the enhanced SDXC standard, or are you still concerned at how much a 2TB SDXC card might cost? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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