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PCI Express Meeting the need for greater internal bandwidth

PCI Express Resources
Gain an insight into the evolution of PCI Express by watching these introductory videos or read more about 3rd generation I/O architecture in this white paper.

Today's multimedia applications are very demanding on platform hardware, especially input/output (I/O) interconnect subsystems. These subsystems seamlessly manage tremendous amounts of concurrent data as it flows both within a computer and to and from associated peripheral devices and components.

PCI Express replaces 2nd generation interconnections

The rate at which data flows, known as internal bandwidth, needs to continually grow to accommodate faster CPU and memory speeds, compute-intensive applications, and increased connectivity.

A More Robust Pipeline
To meet the need for greater internal bandwidth, Intel along with numerous leading technology companies such as Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft, is developing a 3rd generation I/O architecture (3GIO). Called PCI Express*, this I/O architecture will be software compatible with Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), the current I/O interconnect between the core logic, motherboard devices and adapters.

A high-speed, general-purpose I/O architecture that scales to frequencies up to 10 Gigabits, PCI Express is expected to unify I/O architecture for desktop, mobile, server, communications platforms, workstations, and embedded devices. It will also consolidate the multiple, similar parallel connections or buses found in today's platforms. The result is broad adoption across platforms and more economical migration to next generation I/O technology.

For instance, today's graphics cards are linked via Accelerated Graphics Ports (AGP) and at AGP 8x rates, which can transfer data at around 2 GB/second. By comparison, with 16 lanes of PCI Express (each lane transfers data serially at 2.5 Gb/second), 4GB/second can be transferred each way.

What You Can Expect
PCI-SIG, a non-profit special interest group, will adopt and support PCI Express, which will coexist with PCI during a transition period. Starting in the second half of 2003, Intel plans to incorporate capabilities into silicon that utilize PCI Express. It is anticipated that PCI Express-based add-in cards and modules for mobile computers, desktops and servers will be available soon afterward.

PCI Express will also offer flexibility, improved reliability and scalability. In the future, it will be easier to customize the wireless network settings of notebooks. Parents will be able to control their children's access to certain files using plug-and-play PCI Express modules that can be inserted as needed. PCI Express will also make it easier to upgrade systems that have multiple PCI Express slots, which support the hot swapping of peripherals without having to reboot. A PCI Express switch component could even provide additional ports for increased I/O connectivity within a docking station.

Learn why PCI Express is the natural evolution of PCI by viewing these videos.

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