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PCI Express 2.0 to double bandwidth

Overseers back 5Gbps spec

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The guardian of the PCI Express specification, the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), has agreed to increase the bus' single-lane, one-direction data rate to 5Gbps - double its current throughput.

The increase will come when the PCI-SIG finalises the next generation of the specification, expected by the end of 2005, though unlikely to appear in products much before 2007.

Three speeds were proposed for 'PCI Express 2': 5, 6 and 6.25Gbps, the latter favoured by bandwidth-hungry graphics chip and card vendors. However, the PCI-SIG's board ultimately voted in favour of the slowest of the three speeds. Not surprisingly, the vote was not unanimous, with a number of groups pushing for each speed as the one best suited to their individual technology roadmaps.

In the end the 5Gbps target was selected as the "most feasible, highest performance, backward compatible solution within the current PCI Express ecosystem", the organisation said in statement announcing the outcome of the vote.

A faster PCI Express will be needed to bring the bus into line with ever increasing Ethernet and storage interconnect speeds - not to mention the requirements of the graphics chips folks. Ethernet is expected to go to 10Gbps soon, while Serial Attached SCSI is pushing for 6Gbps. ®

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