There are many recent technologies that have signalled a shift in the way
data is sent within a desktop computer in order to increase speed and
efficiency. Universal Serial Bus (USB), Serial ATA, and RDRAM, are all examples
of moving away from a parallel architecture to a high-speed serial format,
designed to ensure maximum bandwidth and provide future scalability.
The PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Bus has been widely used as a general purpose I/O interconnect standard over the last ten years, but is really beginning to hit the limits of its capabilities. Extensions to the PCI standards, such as 64-bit slots and clock speeds of 66MHz or 100MHz, are too costly, and just cannot meet the rapidly increasing bandwidth demands in PCs over the next few years.
3rd Generation IO, or 3GIO, has been recently renamed PCI Express, and looks to be the replacement for the ubiquitous PCI bus, the most successful peripheral interconnect bus used in PCs. With support coming in the Intel Grantsdale chipset, along with Microsoft's next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, let's take a look at the technology that is designed to last the computer industry for the next ten years.