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PCI Express

PCI Express (abbreviated PCIe or PCI-E) a PC expansion card standard that is probably best known as a replacement for the AGP graphics card standard.

PCI Express allows for much faster data transfer than the original PCI spec. PCIe is full duplex, meaning that data can flow both ways at the same time. Think of it as a telephone conversation versus using walky-talkies.

Current implementations allow for a transfer rate of up to 8 GB/s versus 133 MB/s with a PCI card or 2 GB/s with an AGP 8x interface.

Currently most new motherboards come with at least one PCI Express x16 slot for a Video Card. Note that other sizes for PCI Express exist. Common ones include x1, x4 and x16. And x1 sized device will fit in and work in a x16 slot but the inverse will not work, e.g. a x16 video card will not work in a x1. This is because the slots are physically sized based on their transfer rate. This is a clever design as a card will only fit in compatible slots, thus cutting down on installation problems.

It appears that PCI Express is poised to become the new standard for all expansion cards in PC’s. It already has a strong foothold in the graphics cards category. It is also a popular contender to replace PCI as most computer architectures can handle PCI Express just as well with few changes.

PCI Express 2.0 is expected for early 2007. The new spec doubles the bandwidth of the 1.0 version.

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