I am not going to buy a computer anytime soon but I still get excited about new things in the market. I found out that the Athlon 64 motherboards will start supporting PCI Express by the end of September. This is a big improvement because I have been using the same bus technology for quite some time now. While AGP has seen increases in speed simply by multiplying, I have not had a new technology since AGP and I are still using a version of PCI which was introduced somewhere in the early 90’s.
Here is a short description of PCI Express. PCI Express was first called 3GIO or 3rd generation I/O (input/output). PCI Express will be able to handle 2.5Gb/s. The current PCI slots can only handle 133MHz. AGP is faster than PCI, even the 64-bit version. However, AGP is only available for the graphics card. The PCI Express replacement for the video card slot called the 164-pin X16 slot will have a bandwidth of 4GB/s. The fastest AGP 8x only has a bandwidth of 2.1GB/s. Future chipsets might also have multiple X16 ports for multiple high-end graphics cards to run side by side in the same machine.
The main speed difference will be seen in other devices. These devices, such as 1GBps LAN cards and SATA controller cards, need more bandwidth to operate at full speed and PCI Express is the answer. In other words, PCI Express will finally remove a bottleneck I have had for much too long. Now I only need to improve hard drive speeds.
Also, PCI Express will be compatible with old PCI cards. AGP cards, however, will have to be replaced. Another thing to keep looking at is express cards. Express cards will hopefully replace PCMCIA cards for laptops.
Well, that’s enough of a tech update.