PCI Express

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PCI Express

A high-speed hardware interface from Intel for connecting peripheral devices. PCI Express (PCIe) was introduced in 2002, and by the mid-2000s, motherboards had at least one PCIe slot for the graphics card. PCIe is also used for hard drives, SSDs, Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Introduced in 2002 as "Third Generation I/O" (3GIO), PCIe superseded both PCI and PCI-X.

Switched Architecture - Multiple Lanes
Rather than the shared bus of PCI, PCIe provides a switched architecture of up to 32 independent, serial "lanes" that can transfer in parallel, designated 1x to 32x. The switch backplane determines the total bandwidth, and cards and motherboards are compatible between versions.

Internal and External for Laptops
A mini version of PCIe was developed for laptops (see Mini PCI Express) and ExpressCard and Thunderbolt interfaces extend PCIe outside the computer (see external GPU). For PCIe/PCI comparisons, see PCI-SIG. See PCI, ExpressCard, Thunderbolt and PCI-X.

                Data TransferPCI Express      (Bytes/Sec)Version      1 Lane      16 Lanes

    1.0        250 MBps     4 GBps
    2.0        500 MBps     8 GBps
    3.0          1 GBps**  16 GBps**
    4.0          2 GBps**  32 GBps**
  ** = rounded

Different Size Slots
PCIe is not compatible with PCI or AGP. Slots are color coded on the motherboard.

Parallel Transfer in Serial Form
Each lane is an independent single-bit serial channel on the PCIe backplane.

A PCIe Motherboard
This Asus motherboard has three x16 PCIe slots for x16, x8 or x4 cards and four x1 slots. (Image courtesy of ASUStek Computer Inc.)

PCIe Replaced AGP for Graphics
The AGP slot gave way to an x16 PCIe slot for the graphics card. (Image courtesy of NVIDIA Corporation.)

PCIe on an M.2 Card
This is a 960GB PCIe SSD contained on an 80x20mm M.2 card. See M.2.
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Intel in the future will support the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol to shuttle data faster between host devices and peripherals, an Intel spokesman said in an email.
Compatible with any PCI-Express slot, the board provides eight multifunction serial ports, each individually configurable for RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485.
"Exar's native support of both SR-IOV and PCI-Express Multi-Function Mode improves the migration path for Red Hat users to SR-IOV technology with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5," said Tim Burke, vice president, Linux Engineering at Red Hat.
* A third display function can be activated via a PCI-Express expansion graphic card.
These platforms also feature PCI-Express 2.0, which doubles the I/O bandwidth to 5Gb/s from 2.5Gb/s.
announced its PCIeExtl6HOT "smart" PCI-express live insertion bus extender board which, when installed in any PCI-express X 16 motherboard socket, facilitates fast production testing and engineering debug of PCI-express boards of all data widths.
The adapter cards support PCI-express host bus interface and are based on the 10GBASE-T (IEEE 802.3an) standard interface for 10-gigabit transmission over Category 6 or Category 7 copper cabling.
The NEC WI1510 is reportedly configurable with up to 5 PCI-Express / PCI slots and has the option of integrating up to 2 PCI-Express graphics cards so that four monitors can be managed.
With support for up to 8GB of faster (667/ 533) dual-channel DDR-2 memory, state-of-the-art PCI-Express x16 graphics cards and onboard audio, the SUPER PDSG4/E provides outstanding flexibility and performance for robust content creation and multimedia authoring.
ExpressCard technology uses a simpler connector and eliminates the CardBus controller by using direct connections to PCI-Express and USB ports in the host.