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Graphics Software Hardware

First Looks At PCI-X, BTX, New Chipsets, And More 187

rsrsharma writes "AnandTech has some early bird Computex 2004 coverage up its sleeve. Included are the first pictures and partial specs of nVidia's NV45, the PCI-X (PCI-eXpress) successor to the 6800 Ultra, and ATI's PCI-X cards. Also shown are Intel's new 9xx line of chipsets and LGA-755 motherboards, BTX form factor (the successor to ATX) motherboards, and much more. I'm definitely looking forward to this stuff." Update: 06/01 01:08 GMT by T : Several readers have pointed out that PCI-X properly stands for "PCI Extended" rather than "PCI Express."
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First Looks At PCI-X, BTX, New Chipsets, And More

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  • But what about guys like me that need a dozen (or two) PCI slots and at least as many ISA?
    • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Informative)

      by tokachu(k) ( 780007 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:41PM (#9299455) Journal
      I'm assuming you're talking about NICs (I for one need quite a few PCI slots myself for the thing). The newer tower computers (early 2005) will probably have lots of PCI slots, one AGP slot, and one PCI-X slot. Small-form-factor computers will have one of each.

      It also kinda irks me when I see that PCI-X will not be in any way compatible with older PCI cards. They ought to change the name. This is a good technology, don't get me wrong; this speed is needed for both the newer video cards and gigabit and 10-gigabit network cards of the future, but when people try to stick in the old PCI cards that their cable/DSL provider gave them into those slots and find that they don't fit, they'll be making a call to the manufacturer wondering why a PCI card doesn't fit in a PCI-X slot.

      A bureaucratic nightmare, indeed. Change the name, Mr. Industry, or you'll regret ever inventing tech support.

      It should be noted that Mr. Anand mostly focuses on the gaming industry. I knew him back when he was in high school and he only looked at new technology if it would help him get his game on. So for mainstream society and the people who use game consoles instead of PCs, this isn't necessarily news.
      • Why only one PIC-X slot? Will these be like AGP - just one per board or is this just in the transistion phase? - Thanks!
        • Re:Nice... (Score:4, Informative)

          by rsrsharma ( 769904 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:47PM (#9299479) Homepage Journal
          Eventually, PCI-X will be used for everything. Right now, however, the only cards that actually needs the extra bandwidth it provides are graphics cards, so they'll function like AGP.
        • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Informative)

          by hattig ( 47930 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @09:18PM (#9300020) Journal
          PCI Express IS NOT PCI-X.

          This has been said 100 times on here at least in the past.

          PCI-X is classic old PCI running very fast and 64-bits, etc. As used on server motherboards.

          PCIe is the new specification with the tiny connectors for general I/O, and longer connectors for graphics.

          There is no limitation on PCIe connectors unlike AGP, apart from the chipset. Each slot is point-to-point, so you need a controller for each one.

          Here [] is a motherboard with two PCIe slots (x4 and x16), a standard PCI slot, and 3 PCI-X slots.
          • "There is no limitation on PCIe connectors unlike AGP"

            Actually, as of AGP 3.0 (AGP 8X), a function was introduced into the specification which allowed for an AGP switch. This would have allowed for more than one card to be used in a single system. Unfortunately, it was never implemented on a production board.

            PCIe is really just Intel setting the standard again. Realistically, AGP and PCI are fine standards for the needs of 95% of users. Users who need higher bandwidth are served well with PCI-X. Like SATA
            • Same has been said for PCI, AGP and SATA. In time, PCIe will be appreciated. Good thing Intel sets the standard again. Anyone remember PCI versus VL bus?
      • Re:Nice... (Score:3, Informative)

        by pantherace ( 165052 )
        Ummm, you are getting your standards confused. PCI-X is a fine name for what it is.

        PCI Express is not compatible with standard PCI, however PCI-X is (just higher clockspeeds (up to 533) & a 64-bit interface)

      • ARRGGGHH

        Will people *PLEASE* stop calling PCI-Express "PCI-X". PCI Express is completely and utterly different to PCI-X, if you have to abbreviate it call it "PCI-e" or similar.

        PCI-e is a completely new bus, it's serial, it has lots of speed grades.

        PCI-X is basically faster clocked, 64bit, parallel PCI, at 66mhz and 133mhz (extending up to 266mhz and 533mhz with PCI-X 2.0).

        Read about it all here [].

        And please fail to make the mistake again, I'm fed up of shouting at my monitor, thankyou.

        • Yeah - but you gotta admit the choice of names was STOOPID!

          I've seen it called PCI-E (usually with a capital letter) and this seems to be the easiest nomenclature around.
    • The joys of sun hardware! Quad Fast Ethernet, great little cards, standard PCI or SBUS with four 10/100 full duplex ports. They can be multiplexed (Trunked is sun's terminology) together so you can get 2 "200FE" or 1 100FE + 1 "300FE" or 1 "400FE" interface(s). We use them in a 2x200 config for "cheap" switch redundancy.
      • Re:Nice... (Score:4, Funny)

        by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <john,oyler&comcast,net> on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:15PM (#9299642) Journal
        I already have a compaq quad port. Then I have FDDI, GPIB, direcpc, 8port serial, atm155,token ring, arcnet (just got the PCI arcnet, woohoo!), HIPPI, fibre channel, myrinet, and a few others that don't come to mind at the moment. As for ISA, there's localtalk, a GCR floppy controller, omninet, starlan 1baseT, etc. All of which can't be found in PCI versions.

        So getting a magam 7/13 pci expansion box isn't enough, I needs lots of both. And it wouldn't hurt to have AGP on top of those (though I could live without that, it's not a gaming box).
  • PCI-X != PCI express (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:34PM (#9299406)
    As usual there's some confusion between PCI-X (64bits PCI up to 133mhz) and PCI express which is a serial bus. Please call that PCI-E or whatever!
  • Error in summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:34PM (#9299407)
    PCI-X and PCI-Express are NOT the same thing!
  • Easier Reading (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilmuffins ( 631482 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:35PM (#9299409)
    If you don't feel like clicking through a hundred pages, use the "print" link instead. []
  • The article doesn't have much BTX coverage. Is there to be any advantage to the spec., other than a size difference? What is the intended audience for BTX-form motherboards?
  • PCI-X /PCI Express (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:35PM (#9299413)
    IIRC, PCI-X is just an extension of the PCI standard up to 133MHz (true PCI-X) with some other protocol tricks. PCI Express is to be a serial standard capable of Gbps speeds (2.5Gbps per channel). PCI - eXpress - I dunno what this is...
    • Oops. Looks like I got the terms mixed up. Sorry everyone!
    • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:39PM (#9299780) Journal
      The key PCI-X feature is "protocol tricks".
      Some wait states are eliminated from the
      protocol, providing a nice speed increase
      for cheap.

      Typically a PCI-X slot is also 64-bit and
      can go to 66, 100, or even 133 MHz. The key
      feature is the protocol change though.

      PCI Express is indeed serial, with 1 to 32
      serial links working together. (like RAID)
      • PCI-X, Besides being 64-bit, the specs for PCI-X say it can go up to 533Mhz, although current boards only go up to 133Mhz. So PCI-X and PCI-Express are really about the same speed. PCI-X is also backwards compatable with regular PCI cards(PCI-Express isn't). PCI-Express should be cheaper to implement(fewer pins), which seems to be it's big selling factor over PCI-X.
  • PCI-X / PCI-Express (Score:2, Informative)

    by OmniVector ( 569062 )
    I'm quite certain PCI-X and PCI-Express are two totally different things. PCI-X is a 64bit PCI port, that is backwards compatible with PCI. PCI-Express is a whole new device connection port with the goal of replacing PCI, PCI-X, and AGP. Thus, you don't call PCI-Express PCI-X.
  • BTX you say? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grey Ninja ( 739021 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:37PM (#9299425) Homepage Journal
    This is actually the first I heard of BTX, so I immediately flipped to the last page and had a look at the board. I have to say that the thing that bothers me the most about it, is the apparent lack of expansion slots. I only saw one slot, which was probably PCI-X?

    I sincerely hope that this does not mean the end of expansion cards. Because if it DOES, I am just going to say goodbye to Windows, and get a Mac. It defeats the main advantage of a PC if I can't upgrade whenever I see fit.
    • Your right, because of course men in black suits will go around and break all non BTX systems so they no longer work. And all hardware makers have signed their souls away so there will never again be a non BTX board made. THE END TIME IS NEAR, REPENT ALL YOU SINNERS FOR BTX ROAMS THE LAND!!!
      • Quite right. Oh, and please direct me to all the scores of places still manufacturing and selling AT form factor boards.

        BTX will be the new standard, so eventually you'll probably only be able to buy BTX (as it's designed to handle problems with modern processors that ATX wasn't designed for). It won't happen right, away, but it will happen sooner than you think.

        If BTX didn't have any expansion slots, it'd suck once that's the only kind of board you can buy. Of course, that's obviously not the case. But t
    • Re:BTX you say? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by muppetsrule ( 734214 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:56PM (#9299539) Journal

      While I think your notion headed to a Mac is "ok", I don't think the idea of adding expansion cards is necessarily going to go away. At least the concept of putting them inside the machine.

      I think there are a couple of trends that are beginning to develop, both of which I think are exciting.

      The first is a move to get USB peripherals up to a speed where they can be really useful. Don't get me wrong, but there has been piles of USB 1.x widgets that were really handy. I just think as USB matures and becomes a higher speed interconnect, we'll see a much broader use.

      The second is that we're also moving to systems that sport a much smaller footprint than most machines in the past. I remember there there was a time in the 286-386 era this was popular, too (anyone remember the brick?), but it never seemed to take off. Personally, I think the small footprint PCs have the possibility of creating a HTPC revolution just by their small size, and the fact that they don't look like a pc.

    • Re:BTX you say? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aliens ( 90441 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:03PM (#9299568) Homepage Journal
      I believe the boards are all "pico"BTX meaning they're built for Small FormFactor (SFF) PC's. Such as the one's Shuttle Makes []

      Hence the lack of expansion slots.

      And if you read through it, BTX is an Intel design not adopted by AMD yet. So I wouldn't worry about moving to Mac right now.
      • Re:BTX you say? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Blackeagle_Falcon ( 784253 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:42PM (#9299805)

        I believe the boards are all "pico"BTX meaning they're built for Small FormFactor (SFF) PC's. Such as the one's Shuttle Makes

        These are picoBTX boards (one expansion slot each), but I don't think picoBTX is intended for SFF machines, according to an earlier Anandtech article [] picoBTX is still 8" x 10.5", awfully big for an SFF machine.

        Shuttle will probably continue using their own custom motherboards for their designs.

        Hence the lack of expansion slots.

        The microBTX and BTX sizes will have more expansion slots (up to 4 and 7 slots respectively).

        • Mod him up, he's right.

          It doesn't change the fact I'd really enjoy having one of those SFF PC's.

          Just gotta wait a little longer for the next socket design for AMD64 to come out.
        • Re:BTX you say? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by MojoStan ( 776183 )

          ...I don't think picoBTX is intended for SFF machines, according to an earlier Anandtech article [] picoBTX is still 8" x 10.5", awfully big for an SFF machine.

          That doesn't seem that much bigger than a typical [] Shuttle XPC board (the case is 7.9" x 11"). Also, a picoBTX SFF machine will be 3" high (Type II) while a typical Shuttle XPC is 7.1" high. That same Anandtech article [] shows a Type II picoBTX reference system that's 6.9 liters in volume. That's about 30% smaller than that typical Shuttle XPC (200mm

      • You shouldnt have skipped to the end, since those are the picoBTX boards...

        There are tons of BTX pictures starting around the 4th page here: =4

        Enjoy. (er, f'in slash spaces in that link)
    • Re:BTX you say? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by volsung ( 378 ) <> on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:05PM (#9299584)
      They were only showing a picoBTX board. Go read the Anandtech BTX article [] to see the different BTX sizes proposed. The picoBTX form factor looks about like the small form factor motherboards in Shuttle XPCs. The standard BTX board has the same number of slots as you are used to in normal systems.
    • Re:BTX you say? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:10PM (#9299612)
      Those two motherboards are both picoBTX boards, designed for small form factor systems. Not all BTX stuff will be that size just as not all ATX boards are microATX or FlexATX sized.

      For more info on BTX have a look at this AnandTech article [], or check out [] if you want to look at the actual specifications.

    • by LiberalApplication ( 570878 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:14PM (#9299633)
      Take a look at this photo [].

      Am I missing something? They've replaced the standard ATA-IDE connectors with Serial ATA connectors, gotten rid of all of the PCI slots, but for some reason kept the FDD drive connector and the parallel port? Most newer motherboards support booting from USB flash device. As for the parallel port, there aren't many devices being sold today that use them and there are parallel-USB adapters available for those who want to use their old printers.

      I know this is a pico-ATX board so it's understandable that the PCI slots were removed for space-saving purposes, but if a pico-ATX enclosure can't fit an extra PCI card, why leave room for a floppy drive?

      • As for the parallel port, there aren't many devices being sold today that use them

        well, sorry but I'd like to keep using my PRINTER when I next upgrade my computer: heck, my old laserjet 4L is still alive and kicking after 10 years of valuable service.

        Even high end Laserjets (say, LJ4300) still come with parallel ports only (if you don't want to spring for the network enabled models).
        • You can pick up a USB to parallel connector to allow you to keep using your printer.
          • Have you ever actually tried doing that? USB->parallel has always been tricky to set up, and, at best, marginally supported by print drivers (in both Linux and Windows). And if you want bi-directional, you're almost certainly out of luck. At least that was true with all four printers I tried it on.

            In other words, USB->Parallel is an ugly solution, and it's best not to get into the situation in the first place.

            I'm never going to buy another printer that doesn't have an ethernet jack built into it (or
        • Re:ummmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Graff ( 532189 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @09:00PM (#9299925)
          I'd like to keep using my PRINTER when I next upgrade my computer: heck, my old laserjet 4L is still alive and kicking after 10 years of valuable service.

          Just get a Ethernet <-> parallel print server []. Then you can still use the printer with any computer that has Ethernet. Plus you can use it with any computer on your LAN without needed an active computer to share the printer
        • Re:ummmm.... (Score:2, Insightful)

          I would hope that if you spend the amount of money that it costs for an Laserjet 4300. You would spring the extra money for the one with the network port. What would be the purpose of buying a Laserjet 4300 if you could only print as fast as a parallel port?
      • My guess is that the chipsets they are using already support these things, so it really isn't adding to their costs to put them on the board. Whether there is space for it or not is up to the person or solution using the board. On the other hand, extra PCI slots do require thinking about where they will fit externally.
      • FDD connector? Where? You mean that blue one? You can count +/- 40 pins in it, so I suspect that's an old-style IDE plug. And the parallel port? Consider the small size of the board (take eg. the audio/USB ports for reference), and compare with the size of the bigger connector on the left side.

        Maybe it's a digital video (DVI) connector (ok, probably not), or one of those midi/game ports? Anyway, if you're keeping one of those old ports, the parallel port doesn't seem like a bad choice to me. There's still

    • Re:BTX you say? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @12:33AM (#9300847) Homepage Journal
      I think standard full-size BTX might allow all the same number of expansion slots.

      What's sad is that I think most of the things in the BTX format could have done without making people throw out their ATX cases to upgrade. The BTX bolt pattern is actually a screw-for-screw mirroring of ATX, just with a few more options for smaller cases. The problem there is that there are already tiny ATX case standards avalable, as well as NLX.

      Better air management? What is to prevent BTX's intake and exhaust ducting and CPU relocation ideas from being used in ATX? Some people even use ducting in ATX, witness some of Dell's cases, and I have a Compaq workstation that also ducts air around the CPU heat sinks, so quieter fans can direct air to the parts that need it most. Actually, the Compaq I have is WTX or extended ATX, not sure which or whether both are the same, just better for dual CPU systems.
  • PCI-X != pci express (Score:3, Informative)

    by cheese_wallet ( 88279 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:39PM (#9299442) Journal
    PCI-X and PCI Express are not the same protocol. PCI-X is still a 32/64 bit parallel bus that handles FIFOs a little differently than PCI (i.e. the master can transmit unless the target has enough fifo for a complete transaction). It also changes the timing of the bus to allow for speeds up to 133MHz.

    PCI Express is a serial protocol.
  • by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@stonent ... t c l a r> on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:46PM (#9299473) Journal
    I too got yanked in to the PCI-X =/= PCI-Express dupe. I was looking forward to backwards compatability so that companies could just start spewing forth their wares and normal PCI board users could still use them. Plus current cards would still work. Someone in someone's marketing dept needs to be shot. BTW, 'splain those little slots? They remind me of the failed CNR idea. Better yet, for a transition (though more expensive) they could do what they did with PCI/ISA, double the slots PCI next to PCI-Exp.
    • I think the slots have to be tiny so you can fit one those ridiculous dual slot graphics cards AND a sound card.
    • Backwards compatiblity isn't that big of an issue. PCI-Express is slated to remove the need for other PCI and the awful AGP.

      CNR failed because it wasn't very useful. All you could do is put a limited device in it (i.e. modem) and if you already a PCI, Serial or ISA modem there was no reason at all to get move to CNR.

      PCI-Express has a lot of potential and can easily be the end all interface for you cards for years to come. It is very fast, very low latency and more importantly it can the ONLY interface
    • The slots are tiny because PCI-Express is a serial protocol, unlike PCI or ISA which are parallel. Only the graphic card slots need more data paths.

      As for doubling PCI-Express cards next to normal PCI slots, most of the boards you see pictured do that. They seemed to average 2 PCI slots, 2 PCI-Express x1 slots, and a PCI-Express x16 slot for a graphics card. And many of the motherboards also supply an AGP slot for people who want to use one of the AGP-dependant cards that are out now.

      For me, the most cu
      • like finding your uncle sitting alone on your bed in your room, naked?
  • by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:46PM (#9299475) Homepage Journal
    Nice to see both PCI Express x16 and AGP 8X slots on board at least one [] of them. I'm looking to squeeze a bit more life out of my AGP based ti4200 before updating to one of the newer video cards in a year or so...
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:51PM (#9299504)
    PCI-X is a 133mhz bus which is backward compatible with PCI and PCI66.

    PCI-Express is a system bus but is more of a networking protocol using high-speed differential signaling (like DVI and SATA) as the physical layer.

    PCI-X and PCI-Express are similar only in name (and some similarities in how "config space" is handled). They are really two radically different things.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @07:59PM (#9299547) Homepage Journal
    This pic [] shows the inside of the NV45. Look at the paths on the circuit. Instead of going straight from one chip to another they form different loops, turn around etc. Are they trying to make them longer, or equal distance or introduce picosecond delays or what?
    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:22PM (#9299683)
      Yep, they are usually to make different traces either equidistant or to introduce necessary delays. Another reason to use non-straight paths is to avoid RF interference and induced current between PCB layers. Also hard bends in a trace can often lead to leakage and singaling problems so you might need two smooth curves to avoid a single hard corner.
    • by csirac ( 574795 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:47PM (#9299839)
      I've never designed a high speed digital board before, but I guess it's to compensate for the transmission line effect.

      Let's pick a number. Say 500MHz. Depending on dielectric constant of the PCB substrate, thickness, etc. a ball park figure for the speed of a signal propagating along one of those traces is around 70% the speed of light, so 2.1E+9 m/s. That makes the 500MHz signal have a wavelength of about 4.2m. Now, consider a 20cm trace. That shouldn't be unrealistic on a video card, if you actually followed one around on the PCB, it could be longer.

      That trace has delayed the signal by 17 degrees, or 0.05 of a wavelength, which may or may not be significant. If we have the 64 data lines in a 64bit bus all different lenghts, you can see that different bits are going to "arrive" at different times.

      Transmission line theory is a black voodoo art, where you can do all kinds of neat stuff like "create" reactive components and make matching transformers (impedance matches) or filters (different goal, same method) on your high frequency PCB just by making a carefully calculated sudden change in track width, plus the necessary "stubs"...

      This all very over-simplified, but yeah, the squirly bits are to keep them all the same length (my guess). I'd be very worried if digital circuits needed impedance matching transformers made out of microstrips ;-)

  • My Apologies... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rsrsharma ( 769904 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @08:04PM (#9299574) Homepage Journal
    It looks like I got my terms mixed up. Sorry everyone! For those who are confused know, here's what I think the difference is:
    • PCI-X: 64bits PCI up to 133mhz
    • PCI Express: Serial bus, a replacement for AGP (mostly), and for graphics cards (at the moment). What I accidentally called PCI-X (PCI eXpress)in the article. From other articles I've read, it looks like it'll be used for all cards eventually. Although I still think this acronym makes more sense than PCI-E, I guess it'll confuse some people who have actually heard of PCI-X before. I have this wierd feeling that the industry is gonna call PCI Express PCI-X now (it sounds way cooler).
    Some other info on PCI Express:
    • There can be different sizes of slots. All the graphics cards use x16 size slots, while it looks like most other types of cards will use x1 size slots.
    • It will eventually become ubiquitous like PCI
    • More information in this article [].
    I'm sure I got something wrong, feel free to correct me.
    • You know, I have the feeling the industry *won't* called PCI Express PCI-X, what with both standards being set by the same people

      See here [].

      Also, hopefully, a fair few manufacturers will put some x4 slots on their motherboards as well as x16. And we've seen hints of dual x16 slots too.

  • Wow! this thread echoes!

    PCI-X is not PCI express
    PCI-X is not PCI express ... ... ..
  • Ok, ok, now does anyone know which of these fancy smanchy new protocols is more green? eh? No PCI-nuclear for me.

    Oh, btw, PCI-X is not PCI Express.

  • Stick with what you have got, believe me in the long run it's worth the non-hassle. You save money, you watch other people rant over how such-and-such has crappy drivers, you read in glee as something-or-other has crashed their Colonel, you read forums where the members literally shout for H-E-L-P C-O-S M-Y G-F-X C-A-R-D W-O-N-T W-O-R-K. Damnit I've had so much hassle over new hardware I'll only be upgrading when something breaks and then - apart from hard drives - it'll be second hand eBay stock. Stability
  • OK, what's the deal with LGA-755? Pins on the motherboard? How is it supposed to work? And why??? (the ever changing sockets is one of the things that pisses me off about intel).

    PCI-Express 1x. What's the speed? (not much from the looks of it) and what's the advantage over plain old PCI? I'm assuming we will see boards with more than one 16x slot at some point, which would be useful for RAID controllers, gigabit ethernet, and other high bandwidth stuff. But what's the point of 1x slots? Plain PCI works ju

    • Re:explain please (Score:4, Informative)

      by hattig ( 47930 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @09:34PM (#9300090) Journal
      LGA-775 is getting a lot of flak because of reliability rumours. However it will be more suitable for higher clocking processors from Intel and is needed.

      PCIe 1x is 250MB/s in each direction. That's enough for a dual Gigabit ethernet card, and each slot gets dedicated bandwidth.
      PCIe 4x is 1GB/s in each direction. Eight port GigE ethernet card anyone?
      PCIe 16x is 4GB/s in each direction.

      (those will be new adjusted megabytes of 10^6 bytes, not 2^20)

      Look at the extra space on the motherboard when the 1x slots are used as well - should allow more more on-board goodies or smaller boards.

      BTX is Intel's idea. Because of their stupidly hot processors. Looks like it will flop badly.

      Dunno what the brown slots are. Thought they might be AMR or CNR or something. They are only test boards though - see the edge connector?
      • and each slot gets dedicated bandwidth

        That's not exactly true... If the motherboard designer wanted to put a dedicated bus per slot he could, but you could do that with regular PCI slots. I'm betting cheaper motherboards will use a PCI-Express hub to feed slots(sharing bandwidth).

        Motherboard designers don't like running a bunch of wires to one chip, it means they will probably need more layers on the motherboard to keep the signals from interfering. A LOT of motherboards have unused features(ethernet

    • and what's the advantage over plain old PCI?

      Apart from the many advantages others have mentioned, in the long run the cost will be lower.

      But what's the point of 1x slots? Plain PCI works just fine.

      ISA and VLB worked just fine too.

      A 1x PCIe slot is 250 Mbyte/sec (dedicated bandwitdh in both directions), whereas plain old 32 bit 33 MHz PCI is 133 Mbyte/sec (shared half-duplex amoung all slots on the same bus).

      I'm assuming we will see boards with more than one 16x slot at some point

      Probably not in

  • Biggest flops since the PS/2 motherboard form factors and Microchannel. ;)

    Serial ATA? One channel? Please! People will want to run dual IDE controllers with IDE legacy drives.

    We need more than one expansion port, how else are we going to replace that built in Winmodem with something decent or stick a better network card in there than the crud that is bundled with the BTX board? Also where does the video capture card go?

    PCI-X biggest flop since Microchannel or EISA.

    Now I know what companies not to invest
  • And they used to be an 8 bit Microprocessor - not the 8 bit counterpart of MC68000 which powered early Mac's and Amigas, but
    the chip upon which the popular 6502 - which powered the Apple ][ computer series - was based.
  • by olePigeon (Wik) ( 661220 ) on Monday May 31, 2004 @11:01PM (#9300489)
    PCI Express is software compatible with PCI and PCI-X, but the physical connection is different. There are already specifications [] available for PCI Express-to-PCI/X bridge, so you need'nt worry about your "legacy" PCI devices becoming useless after PCI Express' adoption.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    PCI-X = Full-Speed 1.0
    PCI-Express = Hi-Speed 2.0
  • by anethema ( 99553 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @12:23AM (#9300816) Homepage
    While PCI-X stands for PCI-eXtended, which is just 64 bit (and 133mhz?) pci, this is NOT the technology they are talking about in the article. PCI-X is a very expensive implementation as it requires one controller chip per slot, so you will probably never see this in the desktop market.

    They ARE talking about PCI-Express (formerly 3GIO or 3rd Generation I/O), which is a whole new standard, but will remain backwards compatible with any newer PCI (2.2) card. PCI-Express is a serial, point-to-point bus, needing only 4 traces per connection, instead of PCI's 32. It has a theoretical transfer rate of 2.5Gb/s in each direction, tho who knows about real transfer rates. Also, you can stack 'lanes', for slots that need more bandwidth(like the video card slot, which uses 16 lanes afaik), giving you your full-duplex 2.5Gb/s per lane.

    It is a packet-based protocol like AMD's hypertransport,and ethernet, and the controller will have a type of 'switch' similar to an ethernet switch for interfacing with all your devices. The advantage of this is your peripherals will, if designed to do so, be able to communicate to eachother directly, wihtout burdening the cpu or memory bus.

    Also, PCI-Express is -supposed- to be hot-pluggable or designed with hot-pluggability in mind, but we'll see how well that works in practice...didn't seem to be too hot with serial-ata hard drives.

    Hope that helps..
    • backwards compatible with any newer PCI (2.2) card.

      If you read the PCI-Express crud it actually is only SOFTWARE compatable with regular PCI. PCI-X is the one that is HARDWARE compatable with PCI 2.2 cards.

      There are specs [] for a PCI PCI-Express bridge, so you could have a breakout box full of PCI cards for every PCI-X slot.

  • Nice yet to see again the pc industry playing catch up.

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