PCI Express 3.0: On Motherboards By This Time Next Year?

After an unfortunate series of untimely delays, the folks behind PCI Express 3.0 believe they've worked out the kinks that have kept next-generation connectivity from achieving backwards compatibility with PCIe 2.0. We take a look at the tech to come.

Moore's Law states that the amount of transistors which can be placed on a chip will double every two years. This has often been misinterpreted as a statement that processor speed will double every two years. It’s a misinterpretation that the computer-buying general public has turned into an expectation of exponentially-scaling PC performance.

However, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, shipping processors have been stuck between 3 GHz and 4 GHz for about six years now. So, the computer industry has had to find other ways to make data move faster. One of the most important of those ways has been maintaining balance between platform components using PCI Express, the open standard technology that enables high-speed graphics cards, expansion cards, and other onboard computer components. It’s at least arguable that PCI Express is as important to scalable performance as multi-core processors. Although dual-core, quad-core, and hexa-core CPUs can only be adequately used by applications optimized for threading, every program installed on your machine can and will touch components attached via PCI Express in some way.  

Many industry observers originally expected motherboards and chipsets based on next-generation PCI Express 3.0 to appear in the first quarter of 2010. Unfortunately, problems with backward compatibility delayed the launch of PCI Express 3.0, and as we enter the second half of this year, we’ve been left waiting for official word on the new standard's release.

Finally, following a conference call with PCI-SIG (the Special Interest Group that oversees the PCI and PCI Express standards), we at last have some answers. 

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  • tranzz
    Check out the link to screensavers on page 7 - very cool
  • Anonymous
    The author is missing the point by asking whether the extra bandwidth provided by PCIe 3 is needed right now, because of the lifespan of components and the need for backwards compatibility bandwidth needs to stay a generation ahead of the technology it enables.
    In perhaps 2 years time, there will still be a very large number of PCIe 2 motherboards being used, and new technology must still work with those motherboards. And PCIe 3 must provide enough bandwidth for every component that's released until PCIe 4 is on the majority of motherboards
  • chechak
    PCI Express 3.0 is it needed Right know?
    is it stable?
    the answer the second half of this year
  • daglesj
    Two words...Market Churn.

    I'm still looking for stuff worth installing in all the other PCI Express slots in my motherboard.

    All very well building in more and more bandwidth but 99.999% of us aint got nothing to use it with.

    Its just another logo to slap on motherboard boxes to shift one over another with PCI-E 2.0 written on it.
  • borandi
    CUDA programmers, especially those working with large amounts of data and data transfer, love bandwidth increases. Good times.
  • daglesj
    Yep the 0.001%.
  • wasabi-warrior
    Well, im all for it. Im guessing that even if the majority dont use it, within 6 months of the release, there will be some crazy motherboard from some company, and some game made just for it. Bandwith increase, bah. Some one will fill the gap soon enough.
  • Cogwulf
    Right now you have to buy a new motherboard to take advantage of a new generation of CPUs. But it's taken for granted that you can buy a top end graphics card and put it in a two year old motherboard and still get the same increase in performance, this is thanks to manufacturers keeping PCI-e a step ahead of other hardware.

    If they just increased the bandwidth of PCI-e as it was needed, it would force people to buy a new motherboard every time they buy a new graphics card
  • voloda
    Do we need a PCI-E 3.0 right now is NO! As simply as it sounds the reasons are several.... for example, it would be implemented in high-end MB-s which means it will be overpriced anyway and I doubt that people will switch. Another reason is that even 2 year old PC will be able to run latest APPs and Games on high settings with medium resolution (1650x1080) take my PC for example:
    C2D E6550
    MB: ASUS P5N-E
    RAM 4GB
    GFX: 9600GT 512MB (OC)
    HDD: Samsung F1 750GB

    ... have not done any upgrades since 2008 and still can run latest apps and games pretty smoothly!
    On the other hand remember what happened with UBS1 when it was implemented first, you would find hardly no-one unsing it, but in the long run USB port won anyway. Maybe that will happen with PCI-E 3.0!? Concluding this thought I think that they must not rush the release of PCI-E 3.0! What do you think?
  • chainlash
    yeah maybe christmas 2011 will be a good time to get this
  • voloda
    chainlashyeah maybe christmas 2011 will be a good time to get this

    ... more likely Christmas 2012 to me
  • chainlash
    voloda... more likely Christmas 2012 to me

    ah i think it would best getting this before doomsday :D