PCI-SIG Publishes PCI-E 3.0 Spec, Double the Bandwidth of PCI-E 2.0

Paul Lilly

Move over USB, because PCI Express is going 3.0, too. PCI-SIG, the special interest group responsible for PCI Express, published the PCI-E 3.0 specification on Thursday, which the consortium describes as a low-cost, higher-performance I/O technology that now includes a new 128b/130b encoding scheme and a data rate of 8 gigatransfers per second. In other words, double the bandwidth of PCI-E 2.0.

"Each new version of the PCI-E spec has doubled the bandwidth of the prior generation," said Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. "The latest group of PCI-E architects and designers drove the standard forward while maintaining complete backward compatibility for Gen 1 and Gen 2 devices. Rarely has a standard advanced so non-disruptively through three major evolutionary cycles. The ability to pull this off demonstrates not only the ingenuity of the Gen 3 developers, but also the insight of those who defined the earlier versions in such an extensible manner."

Want more numbers? The PCI-SIG says products designed for PCI-E 3.0 can "achieve bandwidth near 1GB/s in one direction on a single-lane (x1) configuration and scale to an aggregate approaching 32GB/s on a sixteen-lane (x16) configuration." What the new encoding scheme does is allow for near 100 percent efficiency, PCI-SIG says.

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