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.

A look back at PCI and other buses


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  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 20, 2003 - link

    The demo board is a BTX - ATX's successor: Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 18, 2003 - link

    First, for AGP, the official document about PCI-Express states that it can coexist with AGP. You must know that the PCI Express will only replace the PCI standard, so we can presume that the first board shipping with PCI Express will also ship with AGP.

    The PCI Express should not require any changes on power supplies, since it can go to lower voltages. I haven't read any technical spec, but it seems to be using some voltage-selection mechanism very similar to what is being used in USB devices (which did not require any power-supply mods).

    Finally, for the form factor... well, I admit that I dunno. Form what I have read, no form factor mod should be necessary, but the demo board confuses me!

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 18, 2003 - link

    the transition from PCI to PCI Express won't happen overnight. ISA slots had stuck around for nearly 10 years before they were finally gone, so don't assume that your PCI peripherals are obsolete just yet.

    Thats very nice. But how about my brand new fancy AGP graphics card? I assume that purchasing a PCI-express motherboard also forces me to buy a new videocard.

    Also when looking at the Intel layout demoboard I assume that there will also be a change in form factors and possibly also in power supplies. This means that all current cases would be obsolete then...

    I realy enjoy the things that are going to happen in 2004 to the PC marked though! It's a real revolution again.

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