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PCI Express won’t speed up until 2011

Aug 21, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The PCI SIG has officially delayed the release of the PCI Express 3.0 specification until the second quarter of 2010. As a result, graphics cards and other products tapping into the new spec's 7.99GT/sec. (gigatransfers per second) bandwidth won't be released until 2011, according to industry reports.

In August 2007, the PCI SIG announced PCI Express 3.0 as the "next generation of PCI Express architecture," saying that it would double bandwidth while offering backward compatibility. According to the standards group, the new specification will increase bus speed to 8GHz, compared to the 5GHz and 2.5GHz used by PCI Express 1.0 and 2.0, respectively.

PCI Express 3.0 also moves from the previous 8- and 10-bit data encoding schemes to 128-bit and 130-bit encoding, eliminating a 20 percent overhead. As a result of all this, it's claimed, PCI Express 3.0 will have an effective bandwidth of 7.99GT/sec., rather than PCIe 2.0's maximum of 4GT/sec.

However, PCI SIG President Al Yanes (right), quoted in both PC Magazine and Computerworld, says the PCI Express 3.0 specification, originally set for release this year, will now be delayed until the second quarter of 2010. Products based on it could come out about a year later, Yanes is said to have added.

"In this particular case, with pushing the technology so hard, and with PCI gen 3 providing so much more capabilities but with the need to be still backwards-compatible, we had to do the diligence required to move the date," PC Magazine quotes Yanes as saying.

Although the PCI SIG might have underestimated the amount of work required, "it's more work than invention at this point," Yanes reportedly said. The delay is apparently tied to testing existing products in the lab to make sure they'll work in PCIe 3.0-equipped systems. "The magic stuff has already happened; we're in execution mode," Computerworld quoted Yanes as adding.

While PCI Express is commonly used today for connecting components such as disk controllers or high-speed networking interfaces, the delay in the 3.0 spec should have relatively little effect in the world of embedded devices. That's because faster PCI Express speeds are expected to be most applicable to high-end graphics cards, as used in gaming PCs.

The PCI-SIG is an industry group formed in 1992 around PCI (peripheral component interconnect), the expansion bus technology that all but replaced the original ISA bus during the 90s. More recently, the group in 2004 defined the PCI Express bus used in most commodity PCs today.


For more information about the delay in the PCI Express 3.0 specification, see the PC Magazine story, here or Computerworld story, here.

For information about existing versions of PCI Express, see the PCI SIG website, here.

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